How do they seem?

film_in_action_coverJPGTo celebrate the  publication of my new book Film in Action for DELTA , I’m going to share some activities from the book in a series of  posts over the coming weeks.

This is a wonderful short film I recommend you use with this activity.


Less Than One from artperezjr on Vimeo.
how do they seem



If you try this activity with your students, do please let me know how it goes (in the Comments box below)!



One-second Films Created by Portugese Students


One of the activities in my new book Film in Action (DELTA Publishing) is called One-second films in which students create their own one-second-long films about something which is beautiful or important to them and to then talk about why they chose this moment to film.

Here are two great videos from students at a Portuguese secondary school, Escola Secundária de Estarreja. Thanks to their Teacher Glória Silva for sending the video to me.




You can find a description of the activity below, if you’d like to try it out with your students.

If you can’t find a compilation of one-second-long videos, here’s a compilation which has worked well with my students.


Seconds Of Beauty – 1st round compilation from The Beauty Of A Second on Vimeo.


Use this compilation or choose your own, and then move onto the activity as outlined below:




You might like to hold an awards ceremony for your students’ films. You might also like to create – or even better, get your students to create –  a compilation video of all their films.

If you try this activity with your students, do please let me know how it goes (in the Comments box below)!


Watch a Video Trailer for Film in Action

Film in Action in the DELTA Teacher Development Series is available to buy at book stores worldwide or online at Amazon UK, Amazon Spain, Amazon Germany, Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan, or Amazon USA.

You can find out more about Film in Action by watching this video trailer.


Win A Copy of Film in Action

the gentlemans wager

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short filmed commissioned by Johnnie Walker Whisky starring Jude Law. In the lesson students watch the short film speculate about what it may be advertising and make their own short film as part of a competition to win a copy of my book Film in Action. The teacher who submits the best film wins a copy of the book.

Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, speaking and creating a short film

Topic: Branded short films

Language: Language connected with film-making

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: the gentleman’s wager lesson instructions


Step 1

Elicit or explain that a branded short film is a short film created for a company or product.


Step 2

Tell the learners they are going to watch a short film which is actually an advertisement for a company or product – a ‘branded short film’. Their task is to decide what type of company or product is being advertised.


Step 3

So the learners don’t see the company’s name or logo, you should start the film at 00:04 and pause before the closing credits at 05:49.

Show the film.



Step 4

Divide the class into groups of three or four:

  • The learners discuss what type of company or product they think has commissioned the film or is being advertised.
  • They give reasons to support their opinion.


Step 5

Hold a feedback session on their opinions.


Step 6

Show the film a second time:

  • Pause when the advertiser’s name or logo appears in the closing credits.
  • Ask the learners what they know about the company or product.


Step 7

Hold a plenary session based on these questions:

  • How does the film support the brand?
  • What is the film saying about the company or product?
  • Why is advertising increasingly using short films?


Step 8

Ask the learners to imagine that they are advertising executives who want to make a short film for a company or product.


Step 9

Divide the class into groups of three. Each group chooses the company or product they want to advertise.


Step 10

Tell the groups their task is:

  • To decide how they would make their short.
  • To break the film into important points.
  • To write very brief notes on action, dialogue, camera shots and angles, and any sound effects and music.


Step 11

Tell them they are going to perform and film their presentation.


Step 12

Two learners perform the presentation, while the third learner is the film director whose role is to:

  • To make sure the executives know their lines by heart.
  • To set up the scene (choose the location, arrange the furniture and any props, etc.).
  • To tell the executives where to stand or sit.
  • To plan the shots.


 Step 13

When the ‘director’ is happy that the others know their lines and has set up the scene:

  • The two ‘executives’ perform their dialogue.
  • The director records it on a mobile phone or other mobile device.


Step 14

The director sends you a video file. You watch the video files and give the learners feedback on performance and pronunciation. If you would like to enter your students’ short film in the Film in Action competition to win a copy of the book send a link to the film to

How To Make A Bracelet


Here I am showcasing one of the entries from the Film in Action film-making competition.

My name is Bozica Saric-Cvjetkovic and I’ve been teaching English for almost ten years at a state primary school in Serbia. I also teach private one on one lessons at home.

This video is made by Miona Pavlovic. She is thirteen years old and preparing for B1 level of English. She chose the topic herself and named it  “How to make a bracelet from small elastic bands”.


I hope you enjoy the video. Perhaps your students could create a similar video.

How (Not) To Make A Film



Here I am showcasing one of the entries from the Film in Action film-making competition.

“I am Vanja Fazinic a secondary school teacher based in Croatia. Here’s is my students’ film – a how to video . The video is not a typical how to video and maybe not quite what you expected, but that’s the way my students are!  I hope you will like it anyway. My students enjoyed immensely the process of creating it, despite a few bumps along the road!”



I hope you enjoy the video. Perhaps your students could create a similar video.



How To Draw A Rose


I am showcasing entries in the Film in Action film-making competition. Here’s an excellent entry from a Ukrainian teacher and her student.

“I am a teacher from Ukraine Olesya. I work in school in a small town Kirovograd.  My pupils and I like creativity very much.We usually use out telephones and make videos during the lesson for 5 minutes. Once a month we have a motto “ no paper during the lessons only devices “Pupils like it very much and create something new! I learn a lot of interesting things from my pupils. Lera who is 12 created this video for the Film in Action competition.”



I hope you like Lera’s video. Perhaps your students could create something similar.