Making a Feature Film
And how to integrate this activity into
all curriculum areas and involve
children so that all experience rich
• The children will learn that, just as in the workforce, a large project is able to
be completed by many people playing integral roles, each contributing to the
The A380 Airbus in manufactured in parts in many European nations and
then transported to one place to be put together. Many thousands of
contractors and sub contractors work together to create one aeroplane.
This type of manufacture is common, contemporary, and a model we can
emulate when undertaking the making of a feature film.
• The children will learn that no learning journey is too daunting as long as
planning is in place and targets and goals are set and achieved.
It took 13 years and many hundreds of
thousands of computer hours and
millions of man hours to map every
single chromosome in the human
genome. The task was thought
impossible – but was broken down into
Project goals were to
identify all the approximately 20,000-25,000
genes in human DNA,
determine the sequences of the 3 billion
chemical base pairs that make up human
store this information in databases,
improve tools for data analysis,
transfer related technologies to the private
address the ethical, legal, and social issues
(ELSI) that may arise from the project.
• The children will learn that all contributions are important in any project and
that all are responsible for overall quality.
The initial concept ideas for a ‘space
Shuttle’ were tabled in 1954.
By the mid 1960’s the US Airforce
Began to conduct concept
By 1973 President Nixon set aside
Funding to begin development.
Space Shuttle is the most complex
Machine so far created. Hundreds of
Thousands of people are responsible
For its operation. When one mistake is made
The consequences can be catastrophic.
• THINKING – the children will be presented with multiple opportunities to use
thinking strategies and tools to solve ‘real’ problems in context.
• USING LANGUAGE, SYMBOLS AND TEXTS – the children will be exposed
to new language, the symbols of film making and production and textx to
support their learning.
• MANAGING SELF – the children will be engaged in many activities that will
require them to show self discipline, planning, preparation and careful
execution of scripts to transfer ideas to video.
• RELATING TO OTHERS – the children will be required to work as
individuals, pairs, small teams – all reporting to larger teams. Many children
will be involved with mentoring others and all will contribute to assessment
and quality control.
• PARTICIPATING AND CONTRIBUTING – All children will be involved in
some important capacity in creating a feature length movie.
• Screen writing would be the focus of the writing forms taught for the first
term. Screenwriting as a narrative form.
• We take the children through the process of having an idea, planning it,
creating an ‘outline’, editing and rewriting after feedback.
• Once an outline is ‘accepted’ the children produce a ‘screenplay’ using all of
the writing features associated with this form.
• Visual Language – that is the language of film – would be focused on.
Telling narratives through visual story telling. Secondary to, but very
important additional factors, are sound and how it influences narrative,
music and how it influences narrative.
• The fact that many scripts are collaborative ventures would be stressed.
• The themes of the movie can be used in the language chosen to high light
what ever part of numeracy is being taught.
• Drama – the children learn techniques of acting to fulfil roles in the movie –
feature or otherwise.
• Music – All music, Title, incidental, mood, thematic written and performed by
• Fine art - the children create back drops and settings to support the story.
Any animation required is conceived and models made by the children to
support the story.
• Dance – I have spoken to Ian about incorporating one of those huge dance
performances that we have seen on Youtube in places like Grand Central
Station. This could be the focus of dance for an entire term or so, providing
an authentic context learning a dance. This in conjunction with any other
dance of stylized movement required for the movie.
• The idea/Pitch play the role of the idea in the curriculum document.
• The outline functions in a similar role to the brief.
• In addition to the making of the movie – the finding resources, promotion
and possible fund raising potential of the venture are factored in and
distributed among the classes.
PE and Health
• The movie can, if necessary, be a vehicle to promote a particular healthy
theme – not necessarily by way of the central narrative but as a sub theme.
How this is achieved can be thrown open to either the classes or a specific
team like the student health team. Product placement, subtle theme
endorsement and any number of other methods could be investigated and
used to promote a chosen message/messages.
• If science is one of the chosen curriculum foci for the term we make a movie
it is not an ideal one to integrate on more than a superficial level, however,
the growing expertise of film making classes could be utilized to make
documentaries in conjunction with what we are already doing.
• If this curriculum area needs to be integrated into making a feature film it
can be done so by thematically relating the topic to the movie.
• Each class would come up with story ideas and go through the outline
• Stories would be selected from each class to go to the development stage,
where groups or the whole class would develop a script and have it ready
for the final script selection.
• The editing process would be carried out by each class, groups would work
independently on the raw footage, following the script – shooting script –
and produce ‘rough cut’ scenes which they would put together themselves.
In effect each class would produce a movie from the filmed footage.
• Each class [as with the school production] would have responsibility and
control of filming one, or more, scenes to contribute to the whole movie.
• Featured acting roles would be auditioned for. All children would in some
way or another feature ‘on screen’ in the movie.
• All music for the film would be written by and performed by musicians in the
• The many aspects that support film making – make up, costuming, prop and
model making can be distributed among the classes so that each has a role
in pre production and production.
• Although each class puts together their own ‘version’ of the movies a group
of gifted and talented children are responsible for the final cut containing the
integrated media sources and filmed footage.