Part of Lesson Plan: The Trailer Park
Activity Overview / Details
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."
Materials / Resource
- What is a trailer? [ Download ]