STAGE 4: FILM STUDY - Curriculum Support

North Sydney Girls High School
Stage 4: Film study
Focus text: Shrek
This unit will enhance and enrich students’ visual literacy skills through studying the
film Shrek. Through examining a number of texts such as poetry, cartoons and short
stories students will broaden and deepen their understanding of connections
between and among texts.
8. A student makes connections between and among texts.
Students learn to:
8.1 identify, compare and describe the connection between spoken, written and
visual texts with similar subject matter, such as a book and its film adaptation or
various descriptions of an incident
8.3 identify and describe the similarities and differences in meaning and language
between texts composed for different purposes or audiences including different
media descriptions of an event
Students learn about:
8.5 the ways in which meaning is shaped by form, structure, style, personal
perspective and by the composer’s purpose and audience
8.7 the ways composers use stylistic features, content and marketing to develop and
promote popular appeal
9. A student demonstrates understanding that texts express views of views of
their broadening world and their relationship with it.
Students learn to:
9.1 recognise, reflect on and explain the connections between their own experiences
and the world of texts
9.4 explore the role of ‘story’ in shaping their experience of, response to and
composition of texts
Students learn about:
9.10 narrative techniques in film-making and in the media, including their use in
news and current affairs reporting
10. A student identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression
Students learn to:
10.3 identify and describe cultural expressions in texts
10.4 identify and describe the ways assumptions underlying cultural
expressions in texts can lead to different reading positions.
Students learn about:
10.8 signs, symbols, icons and stereotyping in texts and what they signify about
different cultures
NSW Department of Education and Training
Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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10.9 the ways culture and personal experience position composers and responders
and influence response to and composition of texts
10.10 key cultural stories including Dreaming, myths and allegories, what
they represent and the ways they have influenced other texts
10.11 the ways recurring stories such as legends and fairy stories have been
written and rewritten, in and for different contexts.
Into Poetry and Beyond, M. Manning and J. O’Neill, Oxford University Press, 1995
New Ways into Poetry, M. Manning and J. O’Neill, Oxford University Press, 1994
Shrek the film, Dreamworks, 2001
Revolting Rhymes, Roald Dahl, Cape, London, 1982
The Text Files Video Series: Film: Editing and Sound, Camera and Lighting, ABC
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Teaching and learning experiences
Teachers may choose one or all of the following Introductory
Introductory activities:
Narrative poetry (ballads, standard verse etc) can be used to pretests students’ knowledge of narrative features and structure.
Activities for exploring the narrative structure of these texts could
 reading poetry in groups or pairs, talking about the stages of
the poems’ stories
 cloze and re-ordering activities
 class reading incorporating sound effects and characters’ roles
followed by students identifying narrator, character/s,
structure, language and sound techniques.
Teacher led discussion on the hero’s journey as identified in the
narrative poems and features / structure of narratives.
Individual activity: reading comics Further explore the concept of
the hero’s journey through the reading of comics centred around a
hero such as Superman, The Phantom and Spiderman. Students
predict features and structure of storyline by giving students only the
first few frames of an episode or chapter. Reading of cartoons also
introduces and / or reviews students’ visual literacy skills. Students
should be directed towards examining visual features of
characterisation through analysis of body language, the depiction of
emotion and movement and the positioning of the reader. Students
read the cartoon given to them, analyse its meaning and how this
meaning meets cultural expectations about heroes and their
physicality and actions. Students could describe the hero and other
characters namely, the anti-hero, damsel in distress, identifiable
stereotypes and archetypes and consider how the artist has
constructed meaning.
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Quality teaching
For elements of the
hero’s journey
narrative structure
Appendix 4, or see
Appendix 1 of this
Deep knowledge
Cultural knowledge
High expectations
Appendix 4 at
Teaching and learning experiences
Quality teaching
Activity: Reading fairytales
Continue to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of the
hero’s quest through examining a number of fairytales such as: Little
Red Riding Hood, and The Paperbag Princess. These texts may also
be used to explore and identify the underlying cultural assumptions
and stereotypes that are presented. Activities could be sequenced as
 class discussion of the purpose of fairytales, common features and
the significance of fairytales in students’ own lives. Try to include
discussion of fairytales from cultures other than European.
Discussion of similarities and differences and what these tell us
about the nature and purpose (cultural and social) of fairytales.
 individual prediction activity - students read the beginning of The
Paperbag Princess and predict / write their own ending.
 read The Paperbag Princess and discuss each of the following
o social purpose - attitudes, values and knowledge being passed
on through stories
o expectations of characters compared to what the characters
did or achieved in the story.
Compare and contrast Little Red Riding Hood and Roald Dahl’s poem
titled Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf from Revolting Rhymes.
In groups students devise a list of similarities and differences between
the two texts.
Teacher to define the concept of appropriation (see English Years 710 Syllabus page 67) and subsequently revisit the concepts of context
and challenging the conventional.
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Inclusivity and
cultural knowledge
High Order Thinking
Social Support
Teaching and learning experiences
Class discussion: Students share their findings. Follow discussion
with exploring the hero’s (such as Red Riding Hood and the Paperbag
Princess) quest through the various narratives. The different stages
are: Act 1: The ordinary world and the call to adventure; Act 2: The
Appendix 1
Journey if the hero Act 3: The Resurrection, climax and hero’s
Assessment task: Individually students select a well-known
fairytale and write an appropriation of this story by choosing a
different setting (such as inner city Sydney 2003, far western NSW,
England during Shakespeare’s time) which create a new context for
the original story. Students may write in the form of a short story or a
narrative poem. This task is to be completed by students for
Activities for close film study - Shrek
1. Film techniques
Revise and/or introduce camera techniques by using introductory
material such as Text Files video series on filmmaking.
Pair activity: students to cut and paste pictures to create a storyboard
sequence representing a short section of a well-known tale.
Supply students with a glossary of film techniques.
2. Prediction activity
Students view the opening sequence of Shrek and identify the genre,
predict the plot and list everything that is revealed about the hero at
this point in the film.
Discuss how meaning is constructed through filmmaking techniques.
Following analysis of the orientation, students to watch the film once
through, without interruptions.
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Quality teaching
Social Support
Student direction
Text Files video
series – see
resource list at
beginning of unit
Film technique
glossary found at:
<http://www.qtp.nsw High Order Thinking
Explicit quality criteria
Teaching and learning experiences
Quality teaching
3. Character study
Students are to create a hero’s diamond by identifying and explaining:
external goal
inner need
inner fear
Deep knowledge
characters flaw
Appendix 2
Repeat this activity for several characters in the film.
Genre and theme study
Group activity - students complete the viewing questions Appendix 2
(a) The hero’s Journey – narrative structure
Teacher-led activity: Students, using the scaffold (Appendix 1),
identify plot points which coincide with the main stages of a hero’s
(b) Intertextuality
Students list similarities and differences between Shrek and classic
Students list references to other texts (intertextuality)
Through discussion of the Hero’s Journey and appropriation of text,
students explore the cultural assumptions embedded in the text.
6. Sound
Create a shot list of the rescue of Princess Fiona for students.
Watch the scene in silence and students list their own sound track to
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November 2004
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Deep understanding
Appendix 1
Cultural knowledge
Teaching and learning experiences
Quality teaching
accompany the shots. Compare their list with the original soundtrack.
Identify different types of sound and consider how sound creates
different emotions.
7. Final sequence – the wedding
Evaluate students’ understanding of how films construct meaning
through the tools of film production by close study of this scene.
(Production design, cinematography, editing, sound, music, casting)
Students view the scene and discuss the questions about production
techniques - Appendix 3
Teacher led discussion based on students’ findings.
8. Group assessment task:
In groups, students select a sequence (no shorter than five minutes
and no longer than ten minutes) from a film of their own choosing and
analyse the tools of production that are presented in this sequence
and how/why they create meaning and emotion. Each student orally
presents one tool of production. Both content and oral skills are to be
Appendix 3
Higher order thinking
Appendix 4 – tools
of film production
Take One CD-ROM
Additional content
The following activities are designed to broaden and deepen students’
skills, knowledge and understanding of texts that are significant in
historical, social and cultural contexts. The activities involve
responding to and composing texts of increasing sophistication and
1. Individual or group activities:
The Hero’s Quest Anthology
Students create a poetry anthology of collected and original poems.
The poems are to be centred on the theme of The Hero or Heroine
and The Quest. Students could annotate some of the poems to show
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Students’ self
regulation and
Student direction
Teaching and learning experiences
Quality teaching
the various stages of the quest or hero’s journey and the use of
archetypal characters.
2. Students select a scene from Shrek and create their own version
and storyboard that particular scene. Students need to consider other
ways of manipulating the tools of production to recreate the emotional
intensity and mood of that scene. Alternatively students can
storyboard their own additional scenes.
Deep understanding
3. Students create a diorama of their own fairytale world as setting for
an appropriated narrative.
Students should attach small extracts of dialogue or description to
parts of their diorama. These extracts would give some insight to plot,
character or theme.
Deep understanding
4. Students write a play version of Shrek by incorporating a narrator
to link various scenes and introduce a variation into the play. They
would need to consider how to stage their play within the confines of
a theatre and the changes that the variation could create in the
Alternatively, students could write the screenplay for the sequel of
5. Write a letter to a friend persuading them to either see the film or to
avoid seeing the film. Explain what they will see, what they will learn
and what they will enjoy.
6. Students produce their own one to two-minute short animation
using a computer animation program.
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Higher order thinking
Deep understanding
Appendix 1
The hero’s journey – narrative structure
Using point form, complete this table for the text you are working on
Describe the hero’s
ordinary world
The call to adventure
Is your hero reluctant
or enthusiastic?
Journey into the world
 crossing the threshold
 test, battles
 allies and enemies
 does the hero meet a
mentor, a damsel,
monsters, villians or
Character’s downfall
and time out
(Approach to the inner
most cave)
Supreme ordeal
Plot Climax
The reward and the
Is the hero transformed
by their journey?
How have they
What have they
The road home
(sometimes in a story)
Adapted from The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
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November 2004
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Appendix 2
Group questions: Shrek
What do you expect to happen in a fairytale?
What character,s do we expect? List them and briefly describe the key players.
Establishing the world of Shrek and ‘the call to adventure’
Act One
1. How does the audience know this is going to be a comedy?
2. Why do we care about Shrek achieving his goal? What is at stake?
3. What other stories, films or texts are you reminded of as you watch this film?
4. Describe the Ordinary World of Shrek
What TOOLS OF PRODUCTION support your description?
5. How do the tools of production establish Shrek’s character and highlight his
Shrek and Donkey set out on their journey
Act Two
6. Why do Shrek and Fiona fall in love?
7. What is Donkey’s function in the story?
8. How does this change Shrek and Fiona in terms of what they want out of life?
Approaching their destination
Act Three
10. What moment of the story is Shrek’s greatest failing (i.e the climax of his
11. How has Shrek changed through his quest?
12. What are the themes of the film?
13. What is the social purpose of storytelling?
14. How is the film Shrek similar and different to a fairy tale?
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Appendix 3
Close reading of Shrek – Act 3
Film sequence: Shrek and Donkey at the swamp and the wedding at Duloc (11
Read questions before viewing sequence.
Watch the last two scenes twice through and take notes, then answer the questions.
1. At the swamp
How does Donkey’s relationship to Shrek change in this scene?
What mistake has Shrek made and what changes his mind?
How has Shrek changed since the beginning of the story?
2. Wedding scene
Before Shrek and Donkey enter the church they argue outside the doors. What is the
effect of using extreme close-up shots during this argument?
What tools of film production are used to create the atmosphere, mood and setting
for this scene?
How is music used effectively in this scene?
In what way is this the worst moment for Shrek in terms of his inner fear?
Why do Shrek and Fiona love each other?
3. Both scenes
Choose a funny moment and explain how and why it is funny.
Identify one theme that is explored in these two scenes? What events or dialogue
best express this theme?
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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Appendix 4
Tools of film production
A. Setting
 inside or outside?
 features of the landscape
 dominant colours
 who are the people in the sequence? What are they wearing?
 Time – day/night? Period in history? (how do we know?)
B. Camera
 shot type - close ups, long shots, mid shots, wide shots, extreme long shots
and extreme close-ups
 camera movement - track, tilt, pan, dolly, still, hand-held effect
 angle – point of view shots, high, low, side
C. Editing
 length of shots
 transitions – cuts, fades, dissolve, wipe
 dialogue matching vision (e.g. when the sound for the next scene cuts in
before the current scene is finished)
D. Sound
 how does sound help our understanding and affect our emotions?
 music
 diegetic sound
 non-diegetic sound
 dialogue
 silence
E. Actors/characters
 age
 size
 race
 gender
 action – what are they doing?
F. Lighting
 colour
 brightness
 shadow
 natural or artificial?
Students could also refer to Take One CD-ROM given to all schools at the 2002 LIG
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Curriculum K-12 Directorate
November 2004
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