Your Creative Intention!

Remember it is essential that you test your success so far against your creative intentions. See this previous post if you have ‘forgotten’ what your creative intentions are.

So far we have done the following tasks within three production roles:

  • You developed an understanding of German Expressionism and it’s impact on the horror genre. Especially in relation to the monster.
  • We developed an idea from a given circumstance, ‘What if.’ As well as using other stimulus materials, like moodboards and music / sound.
  • We used the screenplay format to write the opening sequence of a horror film.
  • You’ve worked with a fellow screenwriter to collaborate on one script and have redrafted it (you can only make this claim if you actuality did redraft the script as a partnership and made significant amendments)


  • Worked with the cinematographer on story-boarding the sequence this should have taken into consideration framing and narrative importance.
  • You have worked with your actors to explain, explore and develop the characters.
  • You have worked with the cinematographer on blocking.
  • You (will) have overseen the cinematography and worked with your actors to film the sequence.
  • You have worked with the director to develop ideas on lighting, framing and composition in the storyboard.
  • You created a shot list of 30-50 shots, which prioritise the shoot and ensured you are filming to edit.
  • You have setup lighting and camera for each take in collaboration with actors & the director.
The Reflective Journal

All of this work is excellent evidence for your reflective journal.

Please unsure that you keep your journal up to date with all your pre-production documents and reflections.

Also ensure that you do REFLECT! Which means:

  • ‘What have I learnt?’
  • ‘How did I learn it?’
  • ‘What did I learn from my successes and failures?’

Also please remember to reflect on the shoot and if possible take photo evidence of you in action during the shoot (you could give this role to a (minor) role).


Please see updated blog league for specific posts and evidence to be uploaded.

Sharing & Visualising the Scene

The Concept or Moodboard

As we know the screenplay is a visual script and the really successful ones are those that allow an image to be painted for the reader – so that they can SEE what the screenwriter is intending.

This week we are going to spend time developing the idea and redrafting the script. By the end of the week you should have agreed a final draft to use on shoot.


Here is the script to the opening sequence of Alien (1978) Scott.

Notice how economical it is. Almost a bullet point list of what we can hear and what we can see.

In production teams read through the scripts your group has written and discuss the merits and ideas for development for each.

You must then choose one script which will become the groups idea.

The first task will be to allow some input from your partner(s) and complete a new version of screenplay in the form of a…


Considering what will happen step by step and what the audience will SEE and how the scene will unfold.

Complete an extended step outline for each of your scenes.


This is a shared visual document which is used to help the production team work up an agreed vision for their film. The moodboard should contain:

  • characters
  • framing and lighting ideas
  • settings (this will be available from the Mirus Battery at Le Hougette later this week
  • props
  • costumes

Here is an example from a previous student. You should be aiming for at least 20/25 images and you can present these as below or in a one page collage.


Redraft the script.

Based on your shared work this week redraft the script.

The Pitch

When you have completed this work you should:

  1. Pitch your ideas to your teacher
  2. Upload your work into the screenwriting section of your reflective journal

Developing a Horror Film Idea

Five Golden Rules of German Expressionism

Review the video essay of at least two peers and refresh your memory about the nature and ‘rules’ of German Expressionism.

Identify 5 Golden Rules of German Expressionism in terms of representation of the monster and visual style


Your task is to develop a visual / cinematic idea for your opening sequence and write the screenplay for it.

We will be working in groups next week and deciding which screenplays will go forward into production, for now this is a solo exercise.

Here is the first page of a good example from a student screenplay.

In your screenplay you should:

  • Use of the screenplay format 
  • Include descriptions of the locations in your screenplay (The Mirus Battery and/or surrounding rural area(s)).
    • Include element of the setting / important props within the scene.
  • Create an atmosphere which belongs in the horror genre.
  • Use descriptive language (simile’s and metaphors).
  • Give a sense of how the camera might move or the edit cut.
  • Give a sense of the diegetic sounds in your sequence.
  • Give a clear description of character (costume / props, body language)

The first step though is developing some ideas for a scene. Here is a slideshow on ideas:

Task Film Inspiration

  • Take a copy of this document and replace the following:
    • A location
    • A sound – Freesound.Org
    • An item of clothing
    • A character
  • In pairs share your documents.
  • Allow you partner time to think about your items
  • Discuss the film / sequence ideas that spring from those items

Independent Study.

Write the first draft of a screenplay based on one the ideas you have been attracted to in this lesson. You should aim for about 2 -3 pages of script. Any longer and it may well be longer that 2 -3  minutes of film time.

The Brief

This is the brief for your first full film sequence.

‘The opening sequence (approx 2-3 minutes) of a new horror movie.’

Your creative intentions should be clearly identified at the outset and your reflections throughout and once complete will be based on them. You must also reflect on your developing understanding of your production roles.

You must always keep a record of the production process and upload evidence of your work throughout (at least once a week) to your reflective journal

The creative intentions may be drawn from this list and you should identify 3-5. You may choose others or modify these as you wish.

  • Create a sense of…mystery, suspense, horror, intrigue…around a given place.
  • Introduce a monstrous character or presence.
  • Introduce a…tense, frightened, oblivious… victim.
  • Build the sequence to a shocking/scary crescendo.
  • Use specific cinematography techniques from German Expressionist film making.
  • Use montage editing to develop a sense of place and/or compress time.
  • Use continuity editing to make sense of a characters (inter)actions.
  • Design costume and props and dress the set to create a sense of….abandonment, corruption, decay, threat…

Your creative intentions may depend upon you production roles. You will be working in pairs and will be required to adopt at least one production role from each of the three main stages of production:

Pre-production (planning):
  • Screenwriter &/or storyboard artist
  • Production designer
  • Producer (both)
Production (filming):
  • Cinematographer.
  • Director.
  • Sound recording.
  • Producer (both)
Post production (editing):
  • Visual editing.
  • Foley sound designer
  • Sound editing
  • Music composer
  • Producer (both)

Define each of these role in terms of the tasks they will be required to undertake during that particular stage of production.

Update the definitions in your reflective journal under the main headings:

  • Editor
  • Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Sound Designer
  • Screenwriter

Here is our brainstorm of the tasks each production role entails.

Screenwriting 101

Lessons from the Screenplay

Lessons learnt…
  1. Action lines (in the script) give the scene a sense of atmosphere. They also give actors and directors guidance about their characters and the tone of the scene.
  2. The last line is the point of the scene.
    • Funnel the scene down to its final point of crisis or tension.
  3. Subplot characters echo and foreshadow the narrative journey of the central protagonist.

Write a short screenplay for a scene entitled ‘Stolen’.

  • Your screenplay should be formatted using this preformated document.
  • …should be no more than 1 page.
  • …should have a clear climax.
    • The final line should define the scene.
  • It should contain a major and supporting (subplot) character.
  • It should be achievable to film in 8-12 shots (some of which can (and should be) repeated)).
Development & Extension

The 5 act structure and the self contained structure of each act.

  • Linking narrative with screenplay writing

Montage Filming and Editing

 Uses of a montage in film & TV

  1. To create a sense of place and/or events without giving any narrative information away. This is often done in title sequences to capture the mood of the film without giving away spoilers.

Here is short film, which is an extended montage of a place.

2. To compress time to show a rapid development of a character or event, which is important in the narrative development

Here are examples from the Rocky franchise:


Create a montage which compresses time and communicates a sense of atmosphere. For example:

  • The tedious lesson
  • A frantic school day
  • Writing an difficult essay
  • Another long event (+1 hour) that can be filmed in school
The Rules
  • The montage should last 30-40 seconds.
  • It should contain at least 12 different (beautifully composed shots) some of which may be repeated in the edit.
  • The montage should communicate a clear meaning (what’s going on) and clear atmosphere (tone or feel).
  • There should be a clear sense of time passing and have a clear beginning and end, which fades out to black (to make it seem like more time has passed).
Creative Partnership

This week you are going to be working in pairs and will have specific roles in production and post production:

  • cutting-room-editing-film_medStoryboard Artist
  • Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Sound Designer / Mixer

To complete this tasks effectively you’re going to have to think carefully about how the edit is going to look in the end and ensure that you film all the shots you need. This means planning your sequence. Do do this we are going to use a screenwriting tool called…

The Storyboard

Here is a storyboard template that is similar layout to the professional one above.

Here is a document which explains how to design a storyboard.

You storyboard should be scanned / photographed and uploaded to your Reflective Journal under the screenwriting section.

You should also reflect on it’s usefulness as a pre-production planning / visualisation tool.

Production & Responsibilities

You will be acting for another pair of students and so will spend one lesson acting and the other filming and directing.

When you are the cinematographer you should ensure that each shot is well composed. Also you should ensure the following:

  • All shots are well lit
  • All shots are in focus
  • You get a variety of shot types.

If you are the director, you should be:

  • Working with the cinematographer to block the scenes.
  • Be clear with the emotion that you want you actors to be expressing.
  • Make sure that you work through the storyboard efficiently and in time.
  • Be an encouraging and positive presence on the shoot.

Post Production

If you are editor, you will be responsible for:

  • Compiling the basic montage.
  • Applying filters and transitions to the edit which contribute to the overall tone
  • Coordinating with the sound designer to apply their sound to the sequence

If you are the sound designer you are responsible for:

  • Completing a spotting session with the editor and making a list of sound effects that you want.
  • Sourcing effects that adds meaning / impact to the scene
  • Inserting your sounds into the edit

Reflective Journal

  • What have you learnt about filming and editing for montage
  • What went well
  • Even better if

Narrative in Film (Part 3) Non Linear Narratives

Non-linear Narratives

Films have a big advantage in how they can tell stories.

  • They are not bound by the rules of normal time!

Editing can reorder screen time, which is different from reel time (the duration of the film), and this reshaping of the narrative can add to the audience’s pleasure of the film. How?

Task 1 – Exploring some Non-Linear Films

Think of a film, which plays tricks with its narrative and or characters. Try to describe what it does with the structure of the story and how that might enhance our pleasure. Some notable examples:

  • Dunkirk
  • Inception
  • Memento
  • Shutter Island
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Pulp Fiction
  • The Last Five Years
Here is a short film, which plays with narrative and uses am interesting narrative structure.

Some Video Essays on Narrative:
1) Controlling Narrative Information

2) A Narrative Analysis of a Cult Film (Memento)

Narrative in Film (Part 2) Character Function

Narrative Function

First off, it is important to note that we are not talking about characterisation or representation!

We are talking the role the characters have in the narrative. In other words what is their job in the story? This analysis can give us helpful clues to understand the themes and ideas, especially when we consider the ways in which the characters (ideology) conflict.

Stories typically have most, if not all, of the following characters types:

  1. The protagonist (the hero at the heart of the story)
  2. The antagonist (the villain who opposes and tries to defeat the hero)
  3. The donor (a character who gives the hero advice and sometimes a helpful object)
  4. The dispatcher (a character who sends the hero on the journey)
  5. The helper (the sidekick for the hero who helps the hero through the trials)
  6. The false hero (a traitor, close to the hero who ends up betraying the hero)
  7. The girl (the ‘reward’ for the hero)
Characters’ narrative function in Harry Potter.


Consider these character roles for the stories you studied in the last lesson. Please remember that a character in a story may fulfill more than one role.

Using the film you studies yesterday develop your poster with details of the characters’ and their narrative function.

Extension – Character, Conflict and Themes (Dialects)

Narrative in Film (Part 1) The 3 Act Structure

Introduction to Narrative (The study of stories)

The structure/shape of the stories

  • The big events that push the story forward, causing the characters to act / react.
  • When and how important story information is revealed.
    • How the audience is positioned in the story & when we learn important narrative information

The characters & their narrative function.

The themes/messages that the director wants to communicate.

  • The development of the main character(s) & their epiphany

The role of the narrator in highlighting the themes (if applicable)

The significance of setting to the story

The 3 Act Narrative Structure

Here is a cool video about the narrative structure of films which are about the adventures of a heroic figure in a typical Hollywood adventure film.

Here is an info-graphic from this video from Ted Ed.

Task 1 – Describe a simple narrative

Use it to think about the basic narrative structure of a film/story you know well, a fairy story like: Cinderella, Snow White, Jack & the Bean Stalk… or if you don’t know those, a Pixar movie like: Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E…

Remember the story mountain? Apply this in reverse to the story that you have chosen and explain the basic structure of that narrative.

Create a timeline of your own with five stages (use screenshots from the film if possible) Identify the five key stages of the narrative:

Act 1

  1. Ordinary World

2. Disruption

Act 2

3. The journey or quest.

4. The final struggle or epiphany

Act 3

5. The restoration or return

Task 2 – The Journey and the Theme

Extension Task

Consider the last two slides in the show above. In your story, who changes, how & why? What do they realise and how does this epiphany reveal the theme of the story?

Add this to your poster in either stage 4 or 5.

Representing Ofelia

Most films follow one character (the central protagonist). Typically this central character has to undergo trials and overcome problems as the story progresses. Often these events and conflicts change the character and they learn something essential about themselves or a great truth about the world.

Today we are going to look at the character development of Ofelia. You should consider how her story reflects the themes of the film. To help you consider what those themes might be watch this video essay from Nerdwriter: 

You will be allocated one short scene from the film and you should complete an analysis of how she is represented. Please look particularly at the mise-en-scene and comment on how C.L.A.M.P.S communicates messages and ideas about the character and her experiences.

Here is a link to the whole film

Here is a document to help you complete the analysis.

You will be leading a discussion with the rest of the class on the section that you have been given in the next lesson.


  1. Complete a slide show of 6 slides, which cover the 6 areas of mise-en-scene (CLAMPS)
  2. Use the video to take screen-grabs of interesting elements of mise-en-scene and copy those into the slide.
  3. You can then record a voice over using Screencastify to analyse features of the text.