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
Elicit or explain that a branded short film is a short film created for a company or product.
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.
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.
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.
Hold a feedback session on their opinions.
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.
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?
Ask the learners to imagine that they are advertising executives who want to make a short film for a company or product.
Divide the class into groups of three. Each group chooses the company or product they want to advertise.
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.
Tell them they are going to perform and film their presentation.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org