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.

Winner of Film in Action Competition


To celebrate the publication of Film In Action which is now available in book shops and on Amazon, we announced a film-making competition in which your school could win the following fantastic prizes:

  •  A license for Camtasia Studio 8 which helps you create professional videos easily  (value 250 US dollars).
  • A licence for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 which allows you to edit, organise and share digital images  (value 150 US dollars).
  • A  copy of Film in Action.

Our competition used an activity from Film In Action in which students had to make their own ‘how-to’ videos using a mobile phone or other mobile device. We had a wonderful response from teachers and their students throughout the world, and deciding on the winner was very difficult because of the high quality of the videos. However, we have finally decided that the prize should go to Nick Caine and his students Takahito Tomonaga and Atsuhito Nishimura at the University of Nagasaki in Japan.

Here Nick tells us about himself and his student’s video:

“Hi! My name is Nick Caine and I have been teaching in Japan since 1997. I currently work at the University of Nagasaki. The production of “How to…” videos have been a component of our classes here for the past two years, and this year it was nice for students to have the opportunity to enter their work into the Film in Action competition. We aimed to explain very simple tasks around a Japanese theme that would hopefully appeal to a worldwide audience. Here is a video made by 2nd grade students that we would like to enter into the competition:

How To Make Miso Soup by Takahito Tomonaga and Atsuhito Nishimura.”

And here is the winning video.



Congratulations to Nick, Takahito and Atsuhito. We would like to thank all of the teachers and their students for the wonderful videos they have created. We will post all of the videos on the site in the coming weeks.

Film in Action Now in Stock!



Film in Action is now in stock and can be bought at book stores and on Amazon. Remember that to celebrate the publication of the book there is a wonderful film-making competition in which your school can win state-of -the-art video-editing software and a signed copy of Film in Action. i would encourage all teachers who use Film English regularly to consider buying the book as the royalties which I receive from my books help me to keep Film English completely free. As you probably already know, maintaining the site costs me a lot of money and takes up a many hours of my time. If you can’t afford to buy the book yourself, why not ask your school to buy a copy.


I hope you enjoy the book and look forward to hearing your opinions on it. If anybody would like to write a review of Film in Action, please post it on the Amazon page or send me a copy and I’ll post it on this site.


Thanks for your support.

Film in Action



I’m delighted that my new book Film in Action has been published . It’s a great honour to join all the wonderful authors in the DELTA Teacher Development Series and I hope that Film in Action will fit seamlessly into the series and enjoy the prestige that the other books enjoy worldwide.

Film in Action offers guidance on taking on the challenge of the digital revolution; insights into how learners engage with film inside and outside the classroom; advice on effectively bringing film into the language classroom; and guidance on how both teachers and students can create their own moving images.

It has over 100 highly practical activities which require little or no preparation that can be easily added to the repertoire of any busy teacher. All the activities have the common aim of helping learners practise and improve their English, covering all four language skills.

It highlights the educational benefits of not just watching moving images inside and outside the classroom, but also of creating moving images. It also looks at innovative ways of integrating moving images into the school system.

This is the website which supports this book. It provides examples of the classroom activities and learner-generated films Film in Action, a glossary of film language terms, and advice on where to look for online for resources and lesson plans.


Here you can watch a short video trailer for Film in Action.



I hope you enjoy the book and the website.