Understanding Film Soundtracks

English teachers teaching film

There are at least three standard tracks in any film soundtrack. The dialogue is the backbone of the story. If the writing is not good or the dialogue is not delivered well it really doesn’t matter what else is good. There has been some very interesting data coming out recently in the field of digital marketing. It seems that customers do not get overly concerned with poor quality video but … Read More

The Value of Storyboards in the English classroom

English teachers teaching film

In the early 1930s, when Disney was at the height of its creativity in cartoon animation, it was common practice for the artists working at the studio to pin their rough sketches onto bulletin boards. They would do this in order to visually structure the storyline and provide a visual framework for the animators and production team. Because there were so many artists working on each project it was the … Read More

Why are Archetypes Important in Film?

English teachers teaching film

An archetype is an original model of something, what we may call a prototype. According to television producer Aaron Spelling there are only 5 stories and they have all been told. The job of the modern producer or filmmaker is to find new ways of telling them. These 5 stories are: Whichever system you follow it is universally accepted that most texts are re-workings of stories that have been told … Read More

How Much of What We See Is Real?

English teachers teaching film

This post is a little shorter than the last ones have been, but the subject matter is critical to teaching film in our classrooms. It is important to remember that our students have never lived in a world without television and film. For them the visual mediums are normal and therefore have a ‘realness’ for them. What I am getting at here is that many of our students will not … Read More

A Confession, an Apology and Bright Shiny Objects

Teaching focus

Bright Shiny Objects (BSO):  Any new, interesting, intriguing, colourful idea, strategy or possibility. Designed to excite, stimulate, side-track, deviate and beguile. Guaranteed to deflect focus. Long before it was diagnosed many of my students labelled me ADHD. I would argue that I was just passionate. As it turns out I am both and I have fallen into the trap of BSOs with this blog. Time to get back on track. … Read More

What my Naughty Dog taught me about Students.

Building relationships with students

I have a very naughty dog. He was adopted from the SPCA in Singapore when I was teaching there and was about 2 years old at the time. For the first few days he was quite tentative and unsure of me, but that did not last long. By the end of the first week he would race gleefully to the door to meet me when I got home in the … Read More