Adapting a Story for the Screen

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SWBAT use narrative techniques to develop a script by adapting a fictional story for the screen.

Big Idea

Get ready, Hollywood, a new batch of screenwriters are ready!


10 minutes

To begin class today, I ask the students, "How many of you have seen a movie based on a book?"  If they look bewildered, I throw out examples like, Harry Potter, The Lightning Thief, The Hunger Games, etc.

I then ask them to keep their hand up if the read the book first.

Then out of those people, I ask them if they think the movie got it right.

This usually starts a good discussion of how movies - usually - pale in comparison to the books they're based on.

At this point in the discussion, I tell my story:  I decided, in middle school, that I wanted to watch the great film, "Gone With The Wind."  However, knowing that movies based on books were not always wonderful, I decided that I had to read the book first.  I loved the book.  I read it and reread it and reread it.  When I finally got around to seeing the movie, I was utterly disappointed; so much was left out!  One of the greatest films of all time, and I was not impressed.

I then tell students that it is nearly impossible for a film to capture all of the details that are in a book.  The screenwriters have no choice  but to leave some things out; however, we all have different opinions about what details are important and which are not (for the record, Scarlett O'Hara having three children is something I consider to be important!)

To wrap us this discussion, I tell students now that we have judged screenwriters' choices, we're going to give screenwriting a shot!


Getting Down to Business

35 minutes

As I display the second slide of the PowerPoint, I let my students know that we're going to be adapting the story we read yesterday.

I hand out copies of the story they can write on, and make sure that everyone has access to 2 different-colored highlighters.  They will also need a sheet of paper to keep track of the cast of characters, props, and scenes. 

They are also reminded to take out their Introduction to Drama notes, as they will be helpful for remembering what all of these terms mean.

I then display the third slide that has the activity's instructions.

I give the students the remainder of the period to complete this task.

Did They Get It?

5 minutes

As a wrap-up for our work time today, I will ask students to share out what they have so far in regard to characters, props, and scenes.  I will also ask for examples of dialogue and stage direction material they have highlighted.

I have them hang on to these, as we will continue working with them tomorrow.