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Lesson Plans Library 6-8 > Fine Arts
Careers in Film
Careers in Film
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Fine Arts Duration: 3 class periods
 



lesson plan support
Student Objectives
  • Describe the differences between an independent film and a film produced by a major studio.
  • Research the life and work of an independent filmmaker.
  • Create a visual display highlighting the selected independent filmmaker and his or her contribution to the development of independent films.
Materials
  • Discovering the Arts: Careers in Filmvideo
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Newsprint and markers
  • Paper and pencils
  • Art supplies (as needed)
Procedures
  1. Introduce the topic by asking students to name their favorite movies. Begin a list on a sheet of newsprint, and add to the list throughout the lesson.
  2. Ask students if they know the difference between films made by major studios and independent films. Help students understand that major studios tend to focus on "blockbuster" films, such as action films and thrillers. Independent films, however, may be made in a specialized genre, such as a wildlife film, or they may focus on topics that are controversial. Independent films are often produced on a limited budget.
  3. Ask students to name some independent films. Explain to students that independent filmmakers have made significant contributions to the development of film. They have introduced topics not previously addressed in mainstream films. To familiarize students with the kinds of projects that independent filmmakers select, and the process they go through to make a film, have students watch the segment entitled "Behind the Scenes," fromDiscovering the Arts: Careers in Film.
  4. Tell students that they will learn more about independent filmmakers by selecting a filmmaker and researching his or her life and career. Based on their research, students will develop a visual display highlighting the filmmaker’s career. This display could take the form of a poster, a scrapbook, or a slideshow presentation.
  5. Help students make a list of independent filmmakers to research. Give students time in class to work on their projects. As a starting point for their research, suggest that students visit the following Web sites:
  6. During the next class, give students time to finish their projects. Then ask for volunteers to share their presentations with the class. Discuss similarities and differences among the filmmakers. What sets independent filmmakers apart from those working with major studios?
  7. Conclude the lesson by revisiting the list of movies that the class made at the beginning of the lesson. Were any of the movies independent films? If so, what issues did these films address? How are they different from mainstream films? Do students have other independent films that they would like to add to the list?

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Assessment
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points: Students showed a clear understanding of the differences between a major studio film and an independent film; completed an extensive amount of research on the life and work of an independent filmmaker; and prepared an accurate, highly creative visual display about their filmmaker.
  • 2 points: Students showed some understanding of the differences between a major studio film and an independent film; completed a satisfactory amount of research on the life and work of an independent filmmaker; and prepared an adequate visual display about their filmmaker.
  • 1 point: Students showed little understanding of the differences between a major studio film and an independent film; did not complete their research on the life and work of an independent filmmaker; and did not complete a visual display about their filmmaker.

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Vocabulary
director
Definition:The person responsible for interpreting the film script, instructing the actors, and choosing set and costume designs
Context:The director has a vision of what the film should look like and conveys that vision to the cast.

genre
Definition:An artistic endeavor characterized by a certain form, style, and content
Context:Movies in the action film genre usually feature a well-known actor, use special effects, and are designed to appeal to a wide audience.

independent film
Definition:A film produced and distributed without the financial support of a major film studio
Context:Independent films are made with limited budgets.

major movie studio
Definition:A studio that produces financially well-supported films for general audiences
Context:Traditionally, major movie studios have avoided controversial topics and have been reluctant to support unknown directors and new actors.

producer
Definition:The person who approves the project, selects the script, hires the director, and handles the financial and business decisions necessary to complete the project
Context:The producer of an independent film works hard to make sure that the film is completed within a set budget.

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Academic Standards
Consortium of National Arts Education Associations
The Consortium of National Arts Education Associations has developed national guidelines for what students should know and be able to do in the arts. To view the standards online, go toartsedge.kennedy-center.org/teach/standards.cfm.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Analyzing, critiquing, and constructing meanings from informal and formal theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions
  • Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the past and the present
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
NCSS has developed national guidelines for teaching social studies. To become a member of NCSS, or to view the standards online, go tohttp://www.socialstudies.org/standards/strands/.
This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standards:
  • Culture
  • Individual Development and Identity

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