Part of Unit: Basic Picture & Sound Editing
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
Most students love to watch film and they also love to go to the movies. So they are already somewhat familiar with trailers whose purpose is to promote or market upcoming releases. Today, teachers and students can watch trailers via websites, so they are more accessible than ever. This lesson is for teachers who wish to consider using trailers to teach students how to be critical thinkers, identify mood & tone, and about persuasive techniques. Students will also have the opportunity to get hands on experience while making their own trailer for one of the videos they have previously made in your class.
In this lesson students will have the opportunity to learn what film trailers are and why they are used. This lesson will contain lecture, vocabulary, Hollywood trailer examples, and student made trailer examples.
- 3 Class Periods
- Lab time
- 7 - 10 Hours
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- AME.A.A22.214.171.124 Advanced - Create original works of art of increasing complexity and skill in a ...
- AME.A.A2.3 Use technology to create a variety of audio, visual, written, and electronic pro...
- AME.FS.5.4 Use the elements of the particular art form to observe, perceive, and respond.
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
Objectives and Goals
- Students will be able to identify why trailers are used today and a historical background of movie trailers.
- Students will understand movie trailers as a form of persuasion.
- Students will understand key vocabulary and terms of film language.
- Students will understand the artistic composition involved in making a trailer.
- Students will understand the importance of mood, tone, and audio in a trailer.
- Student will create their own trailer from a short video they have already produced in your class.
Activities in this Lesson
- Lesson Hook and Intro (25 min.) - Hooks / Set
Ask students: What comes to mind when you here the words "trailer park?"
Have students do a " quick write" on these simple words "trailer park. " Ask students to be as descriptive as possible in their quick write. Also have them include as many details as possible to create a visual image of their idea of a "trailer park" and what it might look like. Give students about 10-15 minutes to write this short descriptive idea.
Next, ask for a couple of volunteers to read their ideas out loud. There is no right or wrong statement here it is just their own thoughts and descriptive words of a "trailer park." Usually kids will paint a picture that might be on the bleak or sad side, but not always.
Ask students: What did the desciptive writings entaile and what kinds of details and characteristics are present in their descriptions? Are items like mood or tone present? Are there characters present in the descriptions? Do they provide descriptions that demonstrate a sense of happiness or are they more bleak? Did the short description persuade your own thoughts of what a trailer park might look like?
Wrap up the discussion and surprise your students with a great visual that you will show your class. This will be a different type of trailer: a film trailer.
I will be showing a current Hollywood blockbuster type film trailer to get the students excited and take this lesson in a different direction. I do this lesson second semester, so you can usually find great trailers for upcoming Spring or Summer release movies.
This year I will show the film trailer for the upcoming Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams film " Super 8." Tell students that after they view the short 2 1/2 minute trailer they will add to their "quick write."
Have students write a short plot summary or overview of what they think the movie " Super 8" is about.
Ask: What they think know about the films: setting, main characters, genre, and conflict? Then ask them to write down a prediction for what the resolution of the film might be.
Again, you may ask for a couple of student volunteers to read their plot summaries aloud to the class. Often this will lead to engaging discussion between you and your students.
- Film Trailer Lecture & Notes (15 min.) - Assessment
The next portion of the lesson will have a mix of lecture, note taking, and class discussion.
Ask students: to write down their own answers to the following questions:
What is the definition of a film trailer?
What is the purpose of a film trailer?
What are the key elements of most film trailers?
What specific editing techniques are used in many trailers?
What types of audio are popular in many film trailers?
What is the average length of a film trailer?
Does watching a good film trailer make you want more information about the film?
After students have time to respond to the following questions you can again ask for oral feedback from students. Dialogue between the teacher and students is best at the end of each segment of any lesson.
- Film Trailer Overview (20 min.) - Lecture
Read the following definition to your students:
Trailers are film advertisements for films that will be released in the near future. The term "trailer" comes from their having originally been shown at the end of a film. However, that idea did not last long, because patrons tended to leave the theater after the films ended, and would never see any of the trailers. Trailers are now shown before the film begins. For many movie goers viewing trailers for upcoming movies is a part of the movie experience that they really enjoy.
Next, pass out or give access to the document titled: "What is a trailer?"
Have students read through the document and discuss and answer any questions they might have.
How Hollywood film studios use a range of techniques and persuasive strategies when creating a movie trailer to try and entice the audience to theatres to see their latest blockbuster.
Most students already know something about persuasive writing and persuasive arguments. (e.g. what techniques do writers use to convince us of something?) Almost all english classes have assigned this type of persuasive paper to their students at some point in time. Students might also have previously studied persuasion via advertising. It would be a good idea to review elements of persuasion before moving on into this lesson.
Persuasion occurs when a person causes someone else to change. The change may either be to their inner mental systems or to their external behavior. Inner systems include values, attitude, beliefs, schema, goals. The change may creation of something new, or extinguishing or modifying something that already exists.
Elements of persuasion include:
- Intent: We usually persuade intentionally, but we can also accidentally persuade. In fact every interpersonal interaction causes a change to both parties.
- Coercion: Coercion gains compliance, where behavior is changed, but without any internal commitment or change of inner mental systems (in fact these may be strengthened in the opposite direction).
- Context: A changed behavior may be constrained to limited context.
- Plurality: You can persuade one person or many people. You can even persuade just yourself.
- Presence: You can be physically with the other person (allowing maximum communication) or communicating via such as the telephone or written words.
- Media: Communication may be done via a range of media.
Most students are aware that film is a medium that has a language all its own? Elements of film need to be understood by students, after which they will become "active" rather "passive viewers" of film. For example, certain camera angles will be used for certain purposes; specific music will convey an emotion; lighting can be manipulated for effect. Everything is created for a reason and has meaning.
Most students are comfortable with film and understand its power. By high school, they have watched hundreds of movies and television shows and unconsciously understand the basic tools and conventions of the medium. Although they may still treat it primarily as entertainment, they can often be sophisticated interpreters of the main components of a good film. They know -- often without knowing they know -- that the close-up on an actor's face signifies something different emotionally from a long shot of an actor across a distance. They know that certain kinds of music indicate that a dramatic event is about to happen, and they know that 'fuzzy' camerawork can signal a dream sequence or flashback in which we are inside a particular character's mind or point of view.
At this point I conclude my first day of " The Trailer Park."
- What is a trailer? [ Download ]
- Day 2-Vocabulary & Notes (35 min.) - Lecture
Start the next class period by giving students a copy of "Trailer Park Vocabulary." This list of 15 vocab words will tap into students prior knowledge, but they can also look up any definitions as needed. I usually give my students about 35 minutes to find the definitions on their own and save them to their document. After the allotted time ask for questions and and clarify any issues.
- Trailer Park Vocabulary [ Download ] 15 Vocab words for "Trailer Park" lesson
The following information is supplemental info on film trailers and will give your students a deeper understanding of where this lesson will take them.
Present and discuss the following:
More Trailer info: Trailers consist of a series of selected shots from the film being advertised. Since the purpose of the trailer is to attract an audience to the film, these clips are usually drawn from the most exciting, funny, or otherwise noteworthy parts of the film but in abbreviated form and without producing spoilers. For this purpose the scenes are not necessarily in the order in which they appear in the film. A trailer has to achieve that in less than two and a half minutes, the most common length allowed by theaters.
Composition: Trailers tell the story of a movie in a highly condensed fashion that must have maximum appeal. In the decades since movie marketing has become a large industry, trailers have become highly polished pieces of advertising, able to present even poor movies in an attractive light. Some of the elements common to many trailers are listed below. Trailers are typically made up of scenes from the film they are promoting, but sometimes contain deleted scenes from the film.
Voice Over: Narration is used to briefly set up the premise of the movie and provide explanation when necessary ("In a world..."). Since the trailer is a highly condensed format, voice-over is a useful tool to enhance the audience's understanding of the plot.
Audio: Helps set the tone and mood of the trailer. Usually the music used in the trailer is not from the film itself (the film score may not have been composed yet). The music used in the trailer may be:
- Music from the score of other movies. Popular or well known music, often chosen for its tone, appropriateness of a lyric or lack thereof.
- "Library" music previously composed specifically to be used in advertising by an independent composer.
- New or specially composed music
- Day 3-Trailer Examples Demonstrating: Mood & Tone (1 period) - Demo / Modeling
Tone is a manner, a feeling or atmosphere the author has meant to set in the story, or towards a subject. It can also be considered as the attitude or feeling of the writer towards a subject. The tone can be revealed by the author’s choice of words and details. The author may use a negative or positive tone for his work. Some possible adjectives to describe a tone, are seriousness, bitterness, joyful, humorous, amusing, angry, ironic, suspicious, and many more.
Mood is the feeling or atmosphere perceived by the reader. They are the emotions you feel while reading. The mood indicates a prevailing feeling, or frame of mind, especially at the start of the story. It creates a sense of expectation to reader of what is to follow. All the choices for setting, images, objects and details contribute in creating a mood.
Explain to the students that even movie makers strive to set a certain tone and mood for their work. Just like an author uses word choice and vivid imagery to set tone and mood, movie makers use dialogue, editing, music and lighting to establish a certain tone within their films.
They will watch two video trailers for the movies "Blades of Glory" and " Mary Poppins." First they will watch the original trailers that show the original tone of the films. Second they will watch re-cut versions of the trailers. Each trailer has a very different tone, and each will create a substantially unique mood in their audience.
Trailer 1: is the original film Trailer for the 2002 Will Ferrell comedy "Blades of Glory."
Trailer 2: is a re-cut trailer one of my students made using the original "Blades of Glory" film footage, but with totally different audio and editing techniques to flip this from a comedy trailer to a thriller/horror trailer. Mood & tone differences should be obvious!
Trailer 3: is the original 1964 Mary Poppins film trailer.
Trailer 4: is " The Original Scary Mary Poppins Re-cut trailer."
- Using their tone words list, they should first watch the clip and then select three tone words that best represent attitude of the trailer's creator.
- Pause after viewing the clip and discuss the tone words that the students selected, then have them choose mood words that describe their feelings after viewing the piece.
- Before showing the next trailer, remind students that the makers of this clip are attempting to take an classic movie, and re-cut it in a way that represented an entirely new genre of film.
- Using editing, music, dialogue and sound effects, the makers are attempting to create a completely different mood for both the Blades of Glory and Mary Poppins trailers.
- After viewing the "re-cut" trailer have students again choose 3 tone & mood words that would describe their feelings about the re-cut trailers.
- Discuss the drastic differences between the original & re-cut trailers. What do your students like about these examples? Do they better understand mood & tone? Are they ready to try to make their own trailer?
- Wrap up this class period and lesson on mood & tone.
- Blades of Glory Original Trailer [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Film trailer for Blades of Glory
- Blades of Glory Re-cut-Ryan [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Re-cut version of Blades of Glory Trailer
- Original Mary Poppins Trailer [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Original Theater version trailer of Mary Poppins
- Scary Mary Re-cut trailer [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Re-cut version of Mary Poppins trailer
- Tone & Mood Words Doc [ Download ] Document for Tone & Mood
- Trailer Editing-Choice 1 (7-10 class periods) - Lab / Shop
For the last portion of this lesson students will be creating and editing their own trailer. There are 2 different choices for this part of the unit, so you the instructor will have to choose which is most appropriate for your class and students.
Choice #1: Choose an appropriate full length Hollywood film to show in class. Tell students to look for parts of the movie which they might want to incorporate into their trailer. After watching the film tell students that they will make a trailer from the original footage of the film. The catch is that they have to change the mood & tone from the original movie genre to make it look and sound totally different. An example would be watching a serious drama and making the trailer look like a comedy, horror, romance, or musical. The final trailer should be no longer than 2 1/2 minutes in length and should include: appropriate audio, transitions, video fx, text, and not produce any spoilers. Students should select which new "genre" their trailer will be before they start the editing process. The instructor will have to be able to give all students the entire digital copy, so they can edit on individual workstations. This can be accomplished by using a dvd ripper or by using the digital copy that can accompany some new release Blu Ray movies. This is a challenging assignment because they are taking about 2 hours of footage and cutting it down to about 2 minutes. After completing the trailers students should show their trailer to the class and teacher for final assessment.
Show the Trailer : Son of Rambow created by one of my past students which makes the original action/adventure movie look more like a dramatic/comedy through the editing process.
- Trailer Editing-Choice #2 (7-10 class periods) - Lab / Shop
For trailer choice #2: students will make a trailer for one of their previously made video projects. The original video can be of any genre and length. In my class we do silent films, conflict and resolution, and a free-choice video that can be any genre. (comedy, film noir, sci-fi, thriller, drama, musical etc.) The focus of this trailer should be more of an advertising or promotion video much like a true film trailer. Students should try to incorporate elements such as persuasion, tone, mood, and use their own artistic expression to create and enticing and exciting trailer. For choice #1 the final trailer should be no longer than 1 minute in length and should include: appropriate audio, transitions, video fx, text, and not produce any spoilers.
Show the following 4 examples of student made trailers from some of the short films my previous students have made.
1. Super Ster
2. The Paycheck
3. The Unforgivable Sin
- Assessment Types:
- Rubrics, Projects, Observations,
For the final assessment of the Trailer Park, each student should show their trailer to the teacher and class. As students watch each other's trailers, choose 2 students to fill out a simple rubric, so they not only receive teacher feedback, but peer feedback as well.