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Shakespeare Movies, con't

Activity #3 – The Shoot: Pure Cinema


From the launching point of the storyboards, the next activity is to make an abstract, “pure cinema” short film based on a soliloquy or short section of text; think of it as a music video for Shakespeare’s words. You might set it up by showing an example from pure cinema, like Man with a Movie Camera or Koyannisqatsi.    


Activity #4 – The Re-Edit


It is simple now to “rip” scenes from films onto a computer using programs like Handbrake (for Mac), and then edit them using iMovie. The students then show the class the director’s version of the scene and then their edit of it, explaining why they made the cuts they did.  The desired outcome is to make the students pare the scene down to its essence through close reading. 


Activity #5 – The Soundtrack


This is always one of the most popular of these activities. As though they were putting together a soundtrack for a filmed version of the play, the students must select 8-12 music tracks from any genre, and “attach” these pieces to particular moments in the play.  The students then burn a CD or create a playlist, and create liner notes that explain how the pieces they chose relate to their respective moments in the play. An advanced version of this is the mashup, where they extract a scene or scenes from a play and use a contemporary song as a soundtrack (See the brilliant Macbeth/Geto Boys mashup at

Columbia Pictures presents Paul Douglas, Ruth Roman in Joe Macbeth. Exhibitors' campaign book, ca. 1955

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