Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The British Film Institute (BFI) & Into Film's online course, Teaching Literacy Through Film. Join the course to learn more.

Creating characters

The film above, Snowball Fight (c.1895-1897) was created by Louis Lumière who, along with his brother Auguste, pioneered early filmmaking in the realist tradition; capturing ‘real’ life on screen.

The film is created without the use of editing; all of the action is captured from a fixed point in wide shot, which makes full use of the foreground (front), midground (middle) and background (back) of the frame, and is enhanced by the perspective of the long snow-covered street, which narrows as it stretches back through the image.

We will return in Week 4 to the creation of our own simple, unedited films for use in classroom teaching, but for now, we are going to watch the film below and pick out a character from the film that interests us.

Snowball Fight is a great stimulus for creative writing. Short films, particularly early shorts with very simple narrative structures provide an excellent ‘blank canvas’ for creative character construction.

Pick out a character from the film. We’re going to get to know them better by creating their backstory.

Asking questions about your character can really help you to construct believable and fully rounded characters.

  • Is your character male or female?
  • What is she or he called?
  • What are their likes or dislikes?
  • Where was she or he going this morning before getting caught up in the snowball fight?
  • Where had she or he come from?
  • Who else do they live with?
  • How did they get caught up in the fight?
  • Do they know the other snowballers?
  • What happens to them during the snowball fight?
  • What happens next?

Once you have developed your character, write a short story about your character’s involvement in the snowball fight. You can begin either leading up to the snowball fight, during the fight or after it.

Throughout this course we’ll be inviting you to share your work on our ‘Padlet wall’. Padlet is a very simple way to share documents; you simply go to the URL provided and double click on the page or drop a document onto the page. You can find out more information about the Padlet and how to use it by going to the Future Learn Padlet page.

If you would like to share your character’s story please upload it to our Padlet wall.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: