In this ingenious ‘re-cut trailer’ Robert Ryang has made Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining appear as a light-hearted drama about a father and son bonding rather than the sinister horror film that it actually is. In the activity below, students are asked to analyse the editing techniques that were used to create the effect.
- Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
- Learner type: Teens; Adults; CLIL
- Time: 50 minutes
- Main activity: Speaking; Reading
- Topic: Cinematography
- Language: Terms associated with film editing
- Materials: Video clip; Worksheets
Lesson plan outline
Note that for this activity to work, it is important that a good number of students in your class have seen the horror film The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980). For this reason, it is recommended that you find out about your students’ film tastes in advance.
- Brainstorm as many film genres as possible and write ideas on the board. Make suggestions of your own whenever necessary (E.g. action, comedy, drama, feel-good, horror, musical, romantic comedy, science fiction, thriller, western, etc).
- Give out copies of the Mystery Trailer (included in the PDF download). Ask students if they know what the film is. Ask them to decide what genre it belongs to.
- Invite students to read the trailer script aloud. Ask them to reflect their chosen genre in their voice tone. For example, if students decide that the film is a comedy, they should read it with a lively, happy voice.
- Tell students that you are going to give them a few of the events, objects and ideas that are associated with the film. Read out individual items from the word cloud which can be printed off here.
- Give out copies of the word cloud (optional)
- Remind students that the Mystery Trailer text relates to The Shining. Students may be confused at this stage as the text does not seem to belong to a horror film. At this stage, play the first clip – the re-cut trailer.
- If possible, go to Wikipedia and show your students the entry for re-cut trailer. Reinforce students’ understanding of what a re-cut trailer is with your own explanation – emphasise that The Shining re-cut trailer was made so that the film appears as a light-hearted family comedy drama about a father and son bonding.
- At this stage, show your students the original trailer of The Shining so that those who have not seen it will get a taste for it.
- Put students into pairs or small groups. Ask them to work together to identify and write down 10 differences between the two trailers. Ask them to consider factors such as: * Music and sound effects
- Let students share ideas and conduct feedback. Write any new language on the board. For example: * The original trailer is filmed as a single, continuous shot.
- Give out copies of the Worksheet (included in the PDF download). Go over the instructions and ask students to complete it. Again, give students access to the video clip as they complete the task.
- Let students share and compare their answers and then do feedback (answer provided in the PDF download).
“Meet Jack Torrence
He’s a writer looking for inspiration
He’s a kid looking for a dad
Jack just can’t finish his book
But now, sometimes, what we need the most is just around the corner”
Ask students if they can identify the film from the keywords that you choose to give them. Find out who has seen the film and who has not. Establish that it is a horror film. Ask those who have seen the film if they can identify the relevance of the terms that you choose. For example, Here’s Johnny! is what Jack Nicholson says as he axes his way through the bathroom door.
* The narrator’s voice
* The narrative (i.e. the story that is told)
* Editing techniques
* The trailer structure
Note that you will have to play the re-cut trailer continuously while students do this task. It is the more complex of the two and requires the most careful attention.
* The original trailer is in slow motion.
Some of the terminology in this lesson plan may seem overly technical. However, as more people get involved with video-editing software, terms such as dissolve, fade and wipe are becoming more commonplace. In fact these three terms, which describe specific transitional techniques, are used on everyday applications such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.