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Developing writing through camera shots

We can extend creative writing effectively by linking each shot to a particular activity when writing. Linking camera shots and positions to a series of stills can provide a great writing stimulus for each image which, when joined together, will create a carefully considered narrative.

The instructions below detail how each camera shot can be used as a catalyst for creative writing, helping learners to understand which exemplar sentence starters can be used with each type of shot in order to frame their writing.

In the example below we’ll be using stills from Week 2’s The Girl and the Fox as stimulus:

Shot 1 – Extreme long shot

Still frame 1 - Girl and the Fox

When faced with an extreme long shot students may wish to create:

A short paragraph with two sentences:
- Sentence one should set the scene with descriptions of the setting and an introduction to character.
- Sentence two should include three distinct elements of action/description (the rule of three).

For example: The sun began to rise above the snow-covered trees, leaving the girl in shadow. She stood (1), frozen (2), looking down at the carcasses of her beloved ducks (3).

Shot 2 – Long shot

Still frame 2 – Girl and the Fox

When faced with a long shot, students may wish to create:

A sentence which opens with a simile.

For example: Like a blanket, the fox wrapped its tail around the freezing girl.

Shot 3 - Medium shot

Still frame 3 - Girl in the Fox

When faced with a medium shot, students may wish to create:

A sentence which starts with a word ending in ‘ed’.

For example: Startled, the fox turned round to face the girl.

Shot 4 - Low angle, medium shot

Still frame 4 – Girl and the Fox

When faced with a low angle shot, students may wish to create:

A sentence which starts with a word ending in ‘ing’.

For example: Lying on the frozen ground, the girl started to lose consciousness.

Shot 5 – Close up

Still frame 5 – Girl and the Fox

When faced with a close up, students may wish to create:

A possessive pronoun sentence starter.

For example: His face was passive but hers was filled with anger.

Shot 6 - Extreme close up

Still frame 6 - Girl and the Fox

When faced with an extreme close up, students may wish to create:

A descriptive adverb sentence starter.

For example: Angrily, she held the knife in her hand.

You have already sequenced the stills from Nightshift and filled in the Shot List template so now using the above suggestions, create a sentence for each of the stills in column three. Once you have completed a sentence for each still simply put them all together and you will have written a short story!

Have we managed to create a variety of suggestions with a range of different sentence types?

Copy your story into the comments below.

This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

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    This step is an introduction to Foley art, and has a video clip with Foley artist, John Fewell.

  • Record and Playback
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    An introduction to the technique of Record and Playback, a simple but very effective tool for curricular learning.

  • Two images each showing samples of a shoe box set design.
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    Making a shoe box set takes your pupils on a filmmaking journey that produces literacy outcomes, and is a great tool for assessment. PDF provided.