Lesson 1: Making Films-Additional Lessons

Additional Lesson 1

Take Action - Making Films

The Story We Want to Tell and
the Story We Are Able to Tell


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand ways in which a documentary filmmaker can effectively tell a story
  • Develop a film concept

Students will plan for film development by considering what story they want to tell and determining what resources they need and are able to access.
Guiding Questions:
  • What story do I want to tell in my documentary?
  • How can I gain access to the information I need to tell this story?
Recommended Time:
120 minutes (Including viewing “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up”)

Common Core State Standards:
Technology Required:
DVD Player or computer to play film OR computer with Internet access to stream film.
Television, SmartBoard or projection equipment.
Lessons design:
  • After viewing the complete film, “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up,” share with students how executive producer, Kathy Treat, started with a vision of a story she wanted to tell. Various constraints and circumstances shifted that vision, so she and the filmmaking team adjusted their plans accordingly. Kathy explains, “I think that I was most surprised, (and initially disappointed), when several of the people I knew well in Constanta were unwilling to be filmed for the documentary.” Also, “Additional constraints were that, of the ones who would go on camera, most wanted to be in silhouette with their voices changed. This does not make for a compelling movie.” And, “We were also not able to follow people around with our cameras (follow them throughout their day).”

  • Review the model handout with students. Consider how Kathy Treat planned to share the story through the making of this documentary. Review the three storylines and how she may have considered telling them.

  • Allow time for students to work with their groups to think about what story they would like to tell through their documentary.

  • Have students work together to complete the handout, documenting what they would like to do and how they might get access to the information they need to tell the story.

  • Have students consider what they might do if they cannot get access to some of the information they need. How might this change the story they tell?

  • Consider collecting a list of resources generated by student groups. Often, one group will learn and get ideas from others. Encourage groups to share ideas and access to information with each other.

  • Groups should revisit their access to information frequently to revise and update the story they want to tell.
Rock Your World is a program of Creative Visions
Rock Your World is a Program of Creative Visions, a 501(c) (3) organization that supports creative activists - individuals who use the power of media and arts to create positive change in the world.
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