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Quick Tips

Shakespeare on Film

Screenplays abound!

Screenplays for many of the films which you might use in the classroom are commercially available-for example, Kenneth's Branagh's "Hamlet" or Trevor Nunn's "Romeo and Juliet." Some of them also include interesting essays or notes by the director about how they arrived at their choices.

Compare different versions.

Many plays - "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet," and "Othello," to name just a few - have been filmed by many different directors. Analyzing the same scene in different versions instantly illuminates how a director's interpretation of a play can mold the audience's understanding.

Compare famous actors.

Many an actor has longed to play Hamlet. Have a screening of as many different Hamlets reading "To be or Not to Be" as you can find and vote for the best. (Don't forget Arnold Schwarzenegger's version in the 1993 film "Last Action Hero.") Even if your students aren't studying "Hamlet," they will learn a great deal about the choices an actor makes in interpreting a role.

The pause button is your friend.

It can be helpful to stop and analyze the way a particular shot is framed by looking at the frozen image on the screen.

Draw the story.

Students without access to video cameras to film their own projects can still think about performance on film by creating storyboards, a series of pictures that show, shot by shot, how the finished film might look.

Embrace black and white.

They will complain about the black and white version at first. They may even laugh at it. Do not be deterred!

Investigate world cinema.

Shakespeare has been inspiring film makers all over the world since the very beginning of film technology. See how famous filmmakers across the world present Shakespeare.

Show Them Twice!

When clips are brief, show them twice. Students will pick up much more the second time.

Attention to detail.

Give students something specific to look for and they will notice more detail than if they try to look at everything at once. A graphic organizer will also help with note taking.

DVD's make life much easier.

DVDs make it much easier to find your place class after class. Find
discount DVDs online.
Shakespeare on Film

Professional Development

Quick Tips

Shakespeare's Wars Meet Star Wars
A case study by Anne Turner

Director for a Day: A Middle Schooler's View from the Balcony
A case study by Rebecca Field

Adapting Shakespeare
A case study by Ron Clark

Putting Out the Light
A case study by Sarah Kirkpatrick

Shakespeare on Film
An in-depth article by Michael LoMonico

Lesson Plans

Comparing Film Adaptations
A lesson plan by Tom Fitzgerald
Shakespearean Comedy on Film
A lesson plan by Tom Fitzgerald

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Shakespeare for elementary students
Shakespeare on film
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