Posted 1/2/11
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
Re-cut trailer pdf [downloaded 2722 times]

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.
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. “Meet Jack Torrence
    He’s a writer looking for inspiration
    Meet Danny
    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”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  7. Give out copies of the word cloud (optional)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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:
  12. * Music and sound effects
    * The narrator’s voice
    * The narrative (i.e. the story that is told)
    * Emotion
    * Pace
    * 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.

  13. Let students share ideas and conduct feedback. Write any new language on the board. For example:
  14. * The original trailer is filmed as a single, continuous shot.
    * The original trailer is in slow motion.
  15. 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.
  16. Let students share and compare their answers and then do feedback (answer provided in the PDF download).


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.

Posted 1/2/11

8 Responses to Re-cut trailer

  1. Malgosia says:

    Great stuff! However, my B1 students would probably find discussing things in English too challenging. Am going to use it with my CAE students after winter break and will let you know how it went.

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Małgosia
    Perhaps it will be too difficult for B1. I would love to know how you get on. I haven’t actually used this lesson plan myself yet but I’m looking forward to trying it out later in the year. I plan to use it as an intro to video editing. I’m going to get students involved in projects in which they will make their own short films and then present them in class. That’s got to be more interesting than yet more power point!

  3. kariminen says:

    ‘I’m going to get students involved in projects in which they will make their own short films and then present them in class. That’s got to be more interesting than yet more power point!’

    What an inspiring and interesting idea!

    Thanks a lot.


  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you very much Kariminen
    If you give it a go and get your students involved in video making projects, it would be great to see the results. Send them my way.
    Jamie :-)

  5. maria gomes says:

    Interesting idea that will get students motivated and actively engaged in the classroom scenes :).
    There is a problem, though. How can I recut a trailer?

  6. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Maria
    To re-cut trailer, you would have to start getting creative with video editing software. Windows Movie Maker, for example if you are a PC person. iMovie is you are a Mac girl.
    Good luck!

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  8. Catarina says:

    Fantastic idea!!