Filmmaking for High School Drama Departments

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Completion status: Been started, but most of the work is still to be done.

Script Writing/Filmmaking for
High School Drama Departments

See the courses in Basic filmmaking and Film editing and Film scoring from the same instructor.

Welcome to the "Filmmaking for High School Drama Departments"

A film and a play
Wikiversity Film School is developing a new way for drama departments to create short motion pictures at the same time they produce a school play.
The idea is to create a 5-minute motion picture using the same set, lights, costumes and props as the current school play. After the school play begins its run, rehearsals on a short movie can begin with new actors. Once the play is over, the shooting of the movie can begin. Since the set and the lights and the costumes are all ready, filming can be done very quickly during the weeks that follows the closing of the play.
Once the short movie is filmed, the raw footage can be put on DVD-Video disks for people around the world to edit.
To do this, schools need 5-minute motion picture scripts which can be filmed on stage for the most popular school plays.

Script Writing

We need you to write a script which a high school drama department will turn into a 5-minute motion picture.
But not just any script. Your script must use the same movie set, lights, costumes, and props for popular schools plays such as:
  1. Grease
  2. Peter Pan
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. Little Red Ridinghood
  5. Rumpelstiltskin
  6. Cinderella
  7. Christmas Carol
  8. Fiddler on the Roof
  9. Romeo and Juliet
  10. Annie
  11. Music Man
  12. Death of a Salesman
  13. Our Town
  14. Godspell
  15. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

The Situation

It has been 15 years since digital video came to personal computers. Yet today, few high school drama departments create their own motion pictures. (I have only heard of one in Lawrence, Tennessee.)
There must be an easier way for drama departments to begin making movies.
Each year, high school drama departments put on outstanding plays by extremely talented students. These plays have beautiful and expensive stage sets, very extensive lighting, and wonderful costumes.
So why not use all of this to make a very short motion picture once the play is finished?
Right now, the missing ingredient is a movie script for each of the popular school plays.
Once we have scripts, we can begin to create the storyboards and all the rest of the pre-production elements for the movie.

Getting started

The story
The first step is to think of a story for one of the popular school plays. This can be similar to the play or completely different. The only requirement is the movie must be able to be filmed on the same stage, with the same lights and costumes as the play.
Format the script
Then type the story as a movie script. When formatted, it should be one to five pages long. Two or three pages is best.
Final Draft free demo version
You can use the free demo version of Final Draft to type your script. If you do not know how to do this, take the lesson on script formatting.
Original material
For plays newer than 1923, you must not use any of the names, the story, or any music from the original play or musical. That means you can use words and names from the classics such as "Romeo and Juliet" but not anything newer than about 90 years.
Fun for all
Remember that this is for the enjoyment of the parents as well as the students. Don't go too wild with your story. Make it entertaining for all.

Your first step

Your first lesson is to think of a story which can be produced by a high school or junior high school drama department which is putting on one of the popular school plays.

Contact Your Instructor


Juliet without Romeo

This is a six-minute motion picture script for high school drama departments to film using the same stage set, lights, costumes and props as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Juliet without Romeo (pdf) was written by Robert Purser. This script is public domain and can be used by high schools for creating a short motion picture to supplement their stage production of Romeo and Juliet. (10 August 2007) 15 points.

Instructor's notes:
This script is slightly moronic, lewd, and crude therefore kids will enjoy it.