These are my notes from Erick Pessoa‘s presentation, “Using Film in Any Class” at the Learning 2.011 Conference in Shanghai, China, on September 9, 2011. Erick teaches IB Film and Digital Photography at Shanghai Community International School. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. I ARRIVED A BIT LATE TO THIS SESSION UNFORTUNATELY – ERICK IS A VERY DYNAMIC PRESENTER!

An audio recording of the last half of this presentation is available via Cinch.

All these resources will be linked from Erick’s website:

His website is
very good link list of resources

Erick on Twitter: @Filminclass

Erick on Flickr:

Media literacy is:
– interdisciplinary
– inquiry based
– includes hands-on, experiential learning
– works well in teams and group
– has been successful in appealing to at-risk students
– connects the curriculum of the classroom to the curriculum of the living room

You don’t assess the movie
– the movie is the least important thing in school
– what you need from students is their commitment to the project and their progression of work
– every time they work on a film they have to write in a journal, describing every single step of their work
– including: where did you get that idea

If students are ashamed of their movie and don’t want it to be shown to the class / to others, the designer must write a justification for what happened, how they were pro-active to solve their problems

I know my students watch shows like “Gossip Girl,” but I am not going to show any scene from those shows without filtering them

Internet is a blessing and a curse
– you can find anything, but there are also bad things…

Examples for ELA, Social Studies, Health Education, Math & Science

scene from the movie “The Hangover,” people go into a casino and see lots of numbers: ask students
– in Rain Man he counts things constantly

Response to question about movie software / programs: Students know more than we do
– I use Final Cut Pro because I’m teaching filmmaking, but iMovie can do everything
– if you have a PC you have Moviemaker

When you give an assignment for students, always be specific about the elements you want them address in the film
– pick several key elements, and then let the other elements go from there
– be VERY clear on the ideas that students must address / cover

film is not a substitute for a lesson
– it is just to give an introduction, or have something available online that students can watch later

Stages for film making
– Preproduction
– Production
– Postproduction

Virtually all the students grades come from preproduction: script writing, storyboard, etc
– students can’t start the movie until they show you their postproduction
– at that level you can veto anything, I have a checklist I’ll share with you

– setting the stage
– idea
– treatment
– script
– casting / location
– shooting script

Free software: Celtx
– has all pre-production aspects of filmaking


I highlight recommend the French movie, Amelie
– every shot is planned ahead of time
– it all needs to be on the storyboard

Recommendations for PS-based school videography:
Sony Vegas
Adobe Premiere Elements

After shot has to be explained in their journal

– everything must run as smoothly as possible
– call sheets organize the day
– organization on the set
– takes’ selection

– “baking the cake”
– I have all the elements of the film but have to put them together
– editing
– sound effects
– soundtrack
– visual effects
– titles and end credits
– exporting

Each of these postproduction tasks can be the responsibility of a different student

Production log has a checklist for students to use (available as PDF)
– students have to turn in log in a 3 ring binder
– I want to elevate the professionalism of this project
– the students are invited to a very serious project, very professional

I teach students to be very formal when they ask others to participate in their movie

Seeing other videos from YouTube, like little trailers
– talk with students about film elements: why am I sad here, why do I think
– spend some time explaining filmmaking

'Film Production: On Set of

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out!

Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard!

If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Curriculum."

On this day..

Share →
  • Carolina Ferro

    Great Post! a lot of literature has been written around this topic, but
    Pessoa’s presentation makes it so close to what can actually become real inside
    a classroom. Too often movies are used as filler for absent teachers or for
    giving students an “academic break”. It is necessary to identify how media can
    be used to develop or emphasize teaching strategies across content areas rather
    than replacing them.

  • Pingback: Middle School Matters » Blog Archive » MSM 177 Group hugs & Parents need to hear this …()

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City