The creative writing assessment “Film Review” has now commenced and the students have the four class periods this week in which to complete it. While no new material can be brought into class for the duration of this assessment, the boys can still enhance their answers by:
- reflecting on what they’re writing and considering ideas and angles that they can write into their work in the next session
- check facts and ensure they have the correct spelling of technical or unique terms
- continue to explore other film reviews to glean ideas for clever ways to express a point of view
- re-visit the marking criteria (which is published on this site) to ensure they’re focussing their work on the skills and aptitudes that are being assessed this time around.
- eat well and get plenty of sleep
The final night’s preparation exercise is to write a practice opening to your review where you experiment with developing a reviewer’s voice. As we explored today in class, strong reviews give an impression of the character behind the review, and they use language to reinforce that – whether the voice is one of irony, excoriating sarcasm, folksy intimacy or hard authority, it needs to be established and sustained throughout the review to achieve excellence.
The homework, due on Thursday, is to develop some responses to your selected film in the specified categories. At this stage this can simply be in point form, as we will be working on the language and style of film reviews in class. The priority at this stage is the structure and ideas.
To follow is a sample structure we devised after looking at a range of published reviews:
There is a room. There is a carpet. There is a window. There are a bunch of roses. There is a letter at the bottom saying ‘Janet x’. There is a wardrobe. There is a bed. There is a note on the floor. It says ‘To Paul From Dad’. There is a tv. There is a desk. There are knickers on the bed. There is a suit hung in the wardrobe. I forgot about the picture of a girlat the side of the bed. There’s a pizza delivery leaflet. There’s a phone on the desk. It starts to ring. The caller’s name is Wayne. There’s a DVD player. There is a Xbox 360. There’s DVDs and games under the desk. Another call. This time its Janet. A nervous man walks in. He goes straight to the bed and lies down.
The first controlled assessment we are going to complete for creative writing will be in the form of a film review. As part of this we will be watching the film, “Donnie Darko” in class and completing a range of writing activities as well as exploring the film review form and critiquing those of other writers.
The assessment will occur in class during the week commencing 21 November. The results of these two pieces of creative writing form 15% of the final GCSE Grade for English Language
The Examining Body’s Guidance on Creative Writing Controlled Assessments:
Candidates must complete two tasks.
The objective assessed in this part of Unit 3 is AO4 Writing
- Write to communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, using and adapting forms and selecting vocabulary appropriate to task and purpose in ways that engage the reader.
- Organise information and ideas into structured and sequenced sentences, paragraphs and whole texts, using a variety of linguistic and structural features to support cohesion and overall coherence.
- Use a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.
- At least one-third of available credit for AO4 should be awarded for the use of a range of sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate punctuation and spelling.
The guidance word limit is 1200 words which should be produced under formal supervision in time totalling up to 4 hours.
This word limit is guidance only as the written texts should be fit for purpose and should be of a length suitable for the genre. They do not need to be of equal length. The tasks do not have to be completed at the same time.
Door, open, gasp. Cow, knife, wife, dead, blood. Carpet. Look, back, door, open, understand. Furious, anger, rage, hate, desire to kill. Cupboard, Gun, ammo, load, aim, bang, “moo”. Panic, frantic, worry, decision made now. Move cow, wife, lake. Sirens, police, shouting, running. Police, bat, crunch, brain. Damage.
Today the class explored devices they know authors use to capture the reader’s attention. The discussion explored how frequently the best texts, films and television develop a character who has flaws that makes them unpredictable, yet likable. Many students identified anti-hero type characters as those who engaged their attention the most. While the students acknowledged the plot devices that create tension and suspense as clear methods of gaining and maintaining a reader’s attention, they tended towards valuing a well-drawn character over clever plot devices as being truly engaging.
The task for tonight is to generate a plan for a piece of writing which will be started in class tomorrow that is designed to capture the reader’s attention. The following are some of the ways we believe a text grabs a reader: