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"Zombies. I'm thinking we definitely need some zombies at the end of the first scene to escalate the suspense..."

Special Issue: Writing

Technology has brought an array of dazzling filmmaking tools into the classroom that invite students of all ages to produce their own projects at an affordable price. All the bells and whistles in the world, however, may as well be for naught if the person behind the camera doesn’t have something exciting to put in front of the camera. Whether it’s an interview, a documentary, a streaming video or even an actual movie, it all begins with someone having an idea and believing that a visual medium is the best way to deliver it.

The monthly lesson plans you’ll find here at School Video News are the starting point for any aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker who wants to learn how to develop a fresh concept, build a plot, choose the right characters, and put words in their mouths. Each module opens with a series of “Table Topics” that can be used for class discussion or short essays. These provide a foundation prior to choosing which writing exercises to try first. The exercises themselves can be done in any order and often incorporate elements such as pop culture, art, history, literature, sports and current events. Many instructors, for instance, like to select assignments that are compatible with subjects that students are already studying in their other classes. These assignments easily lend themselves to modification depending on the age, maturity and writing abilities of the learners.

While the content primarily focuses on the skills necessary to become a visual storyteller, it is also designed to (1) promote reading comprehension, analytical and critical thinking abilities, (2) improve spelling and grammar, (3) encourage attention to cohesion and detail, (4) unlock imagination and (5) foster greater confidence with the written word.

Here’s a sampler to get the creative juices flowing:

Let’s Do Lunch
Daniel Boone, Werewolf Hunter
Good Sports
Social Butterflies: The Use and Misuse of Social Media
The Dreaded Doppelgangers
A Bard By Any Other Name

For a complete listing of all the excercises by Christina Hamlett, click here.


ChristinaHamlettFormer actress/director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, professional script consultant, and ghostwriter. Her credits to date include 30 books including Scriptwriting for Teens, 149 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.

As part of her ongoing commitment to supply great lesson plans for today’s classrooms, Christina always enjoys getting feedback on how the material is used and what kind of new content you would like to see in future columns. She is also happy to answer any questions related to specific problems students may be struggling with. You can email Ms. Hamlett at  or through her website at http://www.authorhamlett.com.