Tag Archives: Film

Short Film: Putting it all together

2 May

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

We have looked in detail at 3 of the elements of short film: plot, setting and character. Now it’s time to try it yourself.

Use this link to help you find short, award winning, animated films.

Watch the film and then use the “Elements of Short Film” planner to record your details.

If you are feeling lazy, here are some ones I have found:


Lady and the Reaper

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Short Film: A closer look at character

14 Apr

In short film, there really isn’t much time to develop a deep, complex character. Have a look at the protagonist (it turns out his name is George) from Paperman (2012).

Each of these three shots gives us a little more detail about George, but we really don’t learn much more about him:

  • his dress suggests he has a 9-5 office job
  • he commutes everyday by train (dreary, repetitive), to complete ‘paperwork’
  • he isn’t excited about his work (dreary) supported by the black and white of the film
  • he isn’t afraid to be a little bit silly; to see the lighter side of life, especially when it breaks his daily routine
  • he’s afraid of authority; he knows his place in the system
  • But, as we know, the tension of the film is created in that he breaks his routine, and takes a risk.

You can see how the writer has developed quite a bit of detail about George, with just a few quick shots. BUT, he hasn’t included anything unnecessary. We don’t know George’s dreams, aspirations, shoe size, what he had for breakfast or what he likes to do on the weekend. TASK: Flesh out the character of the plot diagram you created from the last lesson on plot. 

  1. Write more, then cut away the unnecessary stuff. Try answering some of these questions.  
  2. How does your character propel your plot? Often this involves some sort of change. From what to what? 

George is clearly not satisfied with his life (job, routine), though he doesn’t really know how to change it. When he meets Meg, he sees something different in life (represented by the coloured lipstick). By coincidence, he sees her again and takes a chance (risks his job) to talk to her.

3. How are you going to show your audience this? 

Has a boring “9-5”, “paperwork” job. → grey suit, papers, b&w, slightly unkempt. He is light-hearted → reaction to the lipstick Knows his place in the system → reaction to authority/his boss.

Narrative Conflict

La Luna, by Enrico Casarosa

The narrative conflict of a story outlines the problem the protagonist must overcome. They can be categorised into 4 types: person vs. person; person vs. nature; person vs. society; person vs. herself.

TASK: Imagine an example for each of the different narrative conflicts. If you’re having trouble, take an example from  a film or novel you have read.  

La Luna is a short, Pixar film from Italian director Enrico Casarosa that tells the story of a young boy learning to follow in the footsteps of his father, and grandfather.

TASK: As you are watching make a table that shows how the father and grandfather wear their cap, pass the time, and the type of broom they use. 

Look at your table: what is the narrative conflict of this story?

Film: A deeper look at plot

8 Apr

Image: ‘Portrait of Buzz’

One of the key elements of a narrative (story), a convincing plot can make or break a good story, whether a film or otherwise.

The Oxford dictionary defines plot as:

the main events of a play, novel, film, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

Task: Copy this. 

New Concept

A plot is usually judged by how convincing (believable) it is, and can be judged by two criteria:

  • cause and effect – when the characters and “world” responds in a reasonably logical manner.
    • A break in cause and effect results in a Plot Hole
  • emotional motivation – when the characters emotional response is reasonable given the situation.

Task: Take notes on these main elements of plot. 


Plot diagrams are useful for planning and showing a plot. Review the 5 elements of a plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion.

Task: Draw a plot diagram in your notebook and add the elements of plot. 

 Now lets do something with it

Plots tend to follow quite familiar patterns. The folks at tvtropes.org have begun categorising all the different types of plots evident across a range of different text types, and there are A LOT.

Browse through the list and have a look at some that seem familiar. These are some good plot patterns to start with:

Task: Find one that is familiar. Think of a novel, film, game or something else, that you have read that fits into this plot category. Write the entry for that text for tvtropes.org. 

Paperman (2012) follows the classic boy meets girl plot. This plot typically follows the pattern, “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl” (TVtrops.org). In this Disney film, the protagonist meets a girl on the train station when one of his work papers is blown onto her. She abruptly leaves on the next train, only to be rediscovered in the office across the street from the protagonist. Despite heroic attempts, he can’t get her attention again, until a little magic steps in to bring the lovers together again. 

Topic sentence  —  outline plot type  —  describe how the example fits the plot.

Task: Now use the plot diagram to create a story around that plot pattern. Remember, keep it creative. Although you are following a patter, your story still needs to be unique. 

Wrapping up Poetry

4 Apr

You are almost done! Just a couple of things left.

Image: ‘All-Army runners take top trophy from Brazilians+at+26th+Army+Ten-Miler’

  1. Hand in your poems and responses (2-column planner) to Mr. Tangey
  2. Put atleast one of them up on the wall outside.
  3. Complete the poetry quiz online.
  4. Write your reflection on your poetry checklist. Answer:
    1. Did I effectively complete all the parts of the unit? Am I happy with my work?
    2. Is my work organised and easy to follow? Did I follow the instructions carefully?
    3. Did I use my time well or did I rush to complete some parts at the end.
    4. I love/like/dislike/hate reading poetry.
    5. I love/like/dislike/hate writing poetry.

Our next unit is on film; we will watch a variety of short films to look at the way they are constructed.

TASK: Create a new unit page in your notebook. Decorate it with your images from your favourite films. 

  •  Favourite film/films
  • Title: A little magic
  • Inquiry into: Why are so many film unreal?
  • Learn about: Which narrative elements are most important in short films?
  • Decorative.

TASK: Write a couple of paragraphs about your favourite film. What makes it so good. Try to include details about plot, character, setting, music and sound, special effects, the topic or content of the film, or something else. At the end also decide which of these elements is most important to creating a good film. Explain your answer. 

Image: ‘All-Army runners take top trophy from Brazilians+at+26th+Army+Ten-Miler