Age 10+ Ease ***
This software literally couldn’t be simpler to use, yet by the end of the lesson learners will have had a taste of producing, directing, scripting and casting their very own movie. It’s also easy to differentiate tasks, allowing higher ability learners to experiment with plot and continuity by adding multiple scenes. We used Dvolver Moviemaker.
Before starting, it’s a good idea to ask pupils to brainstorm film genres e.g. romantic, comedy, sci-fi, adventure. They should choose one of their ideas beforehand. This will prepare them for the choices they will have to make during production. For example, should they choose to create a sci-fi film, they will, hopefully, be more focused on making choices appropriate to the genre during the production process.
Click the ‘Make a Movie’ tab on the Homepage.
On the first ‘page’, they will be asked to choose a themed ‘background’ and ‘sky’ for the setting of their first scene. They can scroll up and down on the arrows in order to view the options.
When they have done this and are satisfied, ask learners to click the ‘Next’ button.
On the second ‘page’, they need to choose a plot. These are very simple; it’s worth mentioning that having more than one character usually gives us more scope to ‘tell a story’. Click the ‘Next’ button.
On the third ‘page’ they need to choose their character(s). Remind them they can click on the ‘Back’ button at any time to edit their previous choices. Click the ‘Next’ button.
The fourth page is where the whole movies comes together; here they must write the dialogue. Tell them to take their time and to read the ‘script’. It is very easy to allocate dialogue to the relevant characters. Tell learners that the longer the dialogue, the longer their movie will last, this will encourage them to expand their creative writing! Make them aware that for each line there is a maximum of 100 characters. Click the ‘Next’ button.
The fifth page requires them to select background music, or ‘score’, for their movie. Again, discuss the importance of choosing music that is appropriate to the subject of the movie. Encourage them to experiment, trying different scores and evaluating the effect. Click the ‘Next’ button.
Finally, they’ll need to choose a title for their movie, type their name(s) where it asks for ‘Director’s Name’ and to select graphics for the opening titles. Click the ‘Create my Movie’ button.
They can now watch their movie and send it to their (or the school’s) email address. The email they receive will include a unique URL so that they can find their movie quickly and easily online.
What do I need?
Also, we would advise running through the process quickly with the whole class on the interactive whiteboard. This just prevents you having to run through the process multiple times with small groups on a PC.
The added value here is obvious; short of hiring Pinewood Studios for a month, there’d be no way for them to create their own movie other than using appropriate computer software such as this one.
Hints and tips
Create a movie yourself first! Show it to the class. Ask for feedback! Alternatively, use one we ‘made earlier’:
If you’re still not convinced, these points should sway you:
- no downloading software (which is usually a pain).
- it’s great for literacy and learners of various abilities in the recommended age range.
- it’s great for assessing creativity, understanding of plot/storyline, IT confidence and creative writing.
- Both teachers and learners will pick it up easily – no lengthy preparations or long lessons with little to show for it at the end!
- It is virtually impossible to ‘make a mistake’,
- it’s free!
This software is very safe. Learners do not interact with other users whilst using it. You may want to limit which movies they are allowed to watch on the site – but we didn’t find any that were nasty and unpleasant!
Other opportunities to use the same software:
- Experiment by giving learners a short script for 2 characters and ask them to create a film using that script alone.
- Use it to introduce maths problems i.e. have one character relay a problem to another “I have 36 sweets and 4 children, how many should I give each child?”. The second character answers “Divide 36 by 4”. Learners have to decide if the solution is correct and what the answer will be.
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I love this for teaching learners to write playscripts! Encourages them to think about quality of dialogue. Super stuff!