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Music in Movies: You Pick the Soundtrack
|Grades||7 – 12|
|Activity Time||Two hours, not counting the time needed to rehearse and film a movie scene (Can be done over several days)|
- Computer with Internet access
- Television or computer for movie viewing
- Scene Analysis Framework handout
- Script Guidelines handout
- Video camera or cell phone with video capability
|1.||Talk with the teen about favorite movies, especially those that include great music. Ask the teen to think about songs from movie soundtracks that he or she owns. If you can’t come up with any, do an Internet search of your teen’s favorite songs to see if any have been used in films. The Internet Movie Database has a searchable soundtrack database.
|2.||Identify a movie scene that includes music the teen likes.
|3.||Watch the scene together. Afterward, talk about how the music contributes to the scene. Does it make it more intense, like the foreboding music in Jaws? Music also can deliberately contradict what the viewer sees. For example, in Good Morning Vietnam, violent images of war flash by while Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” plays.
|4.||After watching your selected scene, watch it a second time mute or turn down the volume so you can view it without music. Talk about how the lack of music changes the scene. What’s the impact now?
|5.||Together, take a look at the Scene Analysis Framework handout. Use it to further your discussion of the scene without music.
|6.||Build upon your previous discussion to prepare your teen to write, direct, and film an original scene. The scene can be imagined from your teen’s own idea for a movie or from an existing film, as long as it’s an original take on a scene.
|7.||As the scene’s starting point, your teen will use the song from the movie scene that you watched together. But the teen should try to use the music in a different way.
|8.||The teen can use the Script Guidelines to get ideas on how to construct the scene outline. FilmSound.org’s Designing a Movie for Sound might also be helpful in understanding the roles music can play in a film. Here’s a to-do list your teen can use while drafting the outline:
|9.||Now for the really fun part: Encourage your teen to draft some actors (family and friends) to rehearse and film the scene. Cue the music. Lights! Camera! Action!|