You’ve just got to love the wackiness of supermarket tabloids, not to mention that they give customers something to do while waiting in line to have their groceries rung up.

I sometimes wonder if the staffers of these publications sit around tossing out the most insane scenarios ever just to see who can deliver the craziest idea. 

Bubbles the Chimp Marries Former Child Star!
DNA Proves Vlad the Impaler Was a Woman!
Lost Civilization Found Living at Center of Earth!
Termites Devour Man’s Wooden Leg While He Sleeps!
Conjoined Twins Each Give Birth To Triplets!
Giant Asteroid To Hit Our Planet This Christmas!
Juggling Pig Runs in Boston Marathon … and Wins!
Lemmings Overrun Village Rather Than Jumping Off Cliff!
King Tut’s Mummy Plays Poker with Aliens in Parking Lot!
NASA Astrophysicists Confirm Our Moon Is Hollow!
Bigfoot Sighting After-Hours at Philadelphia Mall!
Chihuahua Drives Owner to Hospital Emergency Room!
Cloned Tyrannosaurus Rex Bites British Prime Minister!
Wood from Noah’s Ark Found at Fargo Yard Sale!
Cosmetics Heiress Leaves Her Estate to Pet Hamster!
Half of World Leaders Are Extraterrestrials!
Housewife Finds Elvis Living in Her Basement!

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Your assignment this month is to choose one of the headlines above and develop it into a film short of 10-20 minutes. For instance, this could be a documentary-style project in which a reporter interviews witnesses, a sitcom in which a neighbor tries to explain something weird s/he has observed, or a SciFi plot to be played out at the deepest level of “serious.”

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Keep in mind that film shorts are generally minimalist in the use of settings and props, the emphasis being on the characters and the dialogue. While many of these headlines speak to a contemporary mindset, you’re free to explore any genre and physical locale.


As part of my ongoing commitment to supply great lesson plans for today’s classrooms, I always enjoy getting feedback on how the material is used and what kind of new content you’d like to see in future columns. I’m also happy to answer any questions related to specific problems your students may be struggling with. Just drop me a note at [email protected] or through my website at

Former actress/director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, professional script consultant, and ghostwriter. Her credits to date include 36 books (among them, Screenwriting for Teens and Could It Be a Movie), 163 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.