Textplorations

Textplorations

Places

The projects in this unit all require pupils to consider the spirit of a place and respond to that idea through a variety of writing and editing assignments. There is no set route through these materials. Teachers need to assess the nature of the material and of the assignments and decide which are most appropriate to use with their own pupils. However, either Project 1, Cape Town Trilogy or Project 2 Assynt Mountains are good starting points as the poets explain their approach to their subject matter and the process of writing about a place.

Key Questions

  1. How can I best combine words and images to convey a sense of place?
  2. How do I reach my target audience?
  3. How can I use my creative skills to convey a sense of place?

Project 1

Key Question:
How can I best combine words and images to convey a sense of place?

Pupils are learning to:

  • to develop critical reading and viewing skills by focusing close attention on detail in poetry;
  • to transform some elements of individual poems into a print based image design using ICT.

Cape Town

List all the key words pupils can remember relating to shot composition and camera movement in film making.

Show pupils the section from the video material called Ingrid de Kok’s Cape Town.
Distribute copies of the three poems. In small groups, pupils discuss the following questions, making notes of their ideas:

  • which images from the films did you find most powerful? Why was this so?
  • which of the three films did you like most and why?
  • were there any parts of the films which you think did not work effectively and why?

Share the ideas generated by each group.

Unit 4a

Cape Town Poems

You work as a creative designer for a local advertising agency. Your company has been commissioned by UTV to produce 3 posters for a campaign to promote a documentary film called The Real Cape Town.

  • Choose three short phrases, one taken from each of the poems, to be used on each of the three posters. Write a brief explanation to the TV company explaining why you have chosen each phrase. What do you think it will convey to the potential audience?
  • Choose one frame from each of the three films (provided as JPEG files in the Media Assets) which will be the main image used on each of the three posters. Add a section to your explanatory notes to UTV to explain why you have chosen those particular images.

Each group has a maximum of 2 minutes to present its ideas to persuade you to give them the contract. This works well when set up as a competitive activity, with the teacher in role as the UTV executive making a judgement as to which company has been awarded the contract.

Cape Town Morning

Winter has passed. The wind is back.
Window panes rattle old rust,
summer rising.

Street children, shaven mummies in sacks,
eyelids weighted by dreams of coins,
beneath them treasure of small knives.

Flower sellers add fresh blossoms
to yesterday’s blooms, sour buckets
filled and spilling.

And trucks digest the city’s sediment
men gloved and silent
in the municipal jaws.

Cape Town by Day

A marshland of fog and gas
muffles the commerce of sound,
turns Cape Town into Venice

as the light on the dock laps
tackle, cranes, yards, grain elevators,
suspending them in tidal anchorage.

Shimmering like a promise, the yellow mirage
prepares sailors for the city,
its irradiated bowl.

Cape Town by Night

From Signal Hill
on Valentine’s night
car alarms rouse
the last romantics.

City lights
flicker, on, off.

Underneath,
gaunt men in doorways
and ransacked women
key back rooms.

Taxis sidle to their ranks,
newspapers blow.

Ingrid de Kok

Project 2

Pupils are learning to:

  • to focus their attention on how poets use metaphorical language to convey their response to landscape, linking this to moving image representations.

Assynt Mountains

Pupils watch the video material: Assynt Mountains.

Unit 4c

Distribute copies of the poem.

Explore:

  • how effective the pupils think each of Mandy Haggith’s metaphors are;
  • to what extent they think the shots which have been set up are a sympathetic reflection of the view of the mountains portrayed in the poem

Notes: The main four mountains in the Assynt Range are called Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor and Cul Beag .You see them in that order, from left to right, from the spot where Mandy Haggith talks about her poem. They are composed of a rock called Lewisian granite. In geological time, the rock is among the oldest in the world.

Using the video material Sutherland Landscape, pupils complete the poetry writing task as outlined in the pupil activity. Pupils could also do this activity using images they have gathered themselves of a place that is special to them or of scenery around their school.

Pupil Activity

Watch the video sequence called Sutherland Landscape.

Write a short poem which captures the spirit of the places shown in the video. Like Mandy Haggith, you should use strong metaphors to link with the shots. If you think it would work, you could also try including some personification.

When you have written your poem, import the edited sequence of the Sutherland Landscape (or your own images) into your editing software and add your reading of the poem on the second audio track.

Assynt Mountains

The row of crones
rugs on knees
watch the coalfire dawn.
Canisp, nearest the blaze, grins,
recreating the landscape.
The sun rises
between blackened stumps
in ancient Lewisian gums.

Mandy Haggith

Project 3

Key Question:
How do I reach my target audience?

Pupils are learning to:

  • to think carefully about the audience and the purpose of a short film which they will produce.

Adlestrop

Pupils will work to a brief from the Cotswold Tourist Board who want to use Edward Thomas’s poem Adlestrop to target the 50-65 year old age group.

Pupils move on to pupil activity. Ensure that the pupils are clear about the task.

Unit 4f

Pupil Activity

You are part of a creative team working for an advertising agency called X-posure. You have been commissioned by the Cotswold Tourist Board to make a television advert as part of their campaign to boost the number of visitors to their area.

The target audience for your advert is the 50 - 65 age group. The Cotswold Tourist Board want you to use the poem by Edward Thomas called Adlestrop because it is about an actual village in their region.

They have provided you with filmed material which they already have in their archive.

Using the video material Adlestrop, import the shots you think will best accompany the reading of the poem into your editing software package and complete a finished version of a film which you think would be attractive to the target age group.

On your soundtrack you will need to select an appropriate piece of music and record a reading of the script.

Audio Script for the Advert
Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Why not visit Adlestrop this summer? As delightful now as it was then.

Project 4

Pupils are learning to:

  • to think carefully about the context and the purpose of a poem film which they will edit.

'Storm on the Island'

Pupils will use the poem and the images to create a display for a video installation at the entrance to the Ulster Museum.

Give pupils the details of the pupil activity. Ensure that the pupils are clear about the task.

Storm on the Island

We are prepared: we build our houses squat,
Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate.
This wizened earth has never troubled us
With hay, so, as you see, there are no stacks
Or stooks that can be lost. Nor are there trees
Which might prove company when it blows full
Blast: you know what I mean---leaves and branches
Can raise a tragic chorus in a gale
So that you listen to the thing you fear
Forgetting that it pummels your house too.
But there are no trees, no natural shelter.
You might think that the sea is company,
Exploding comfortably down on the cliffs,
But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits
The very windows, spits like a tame cat
Turned savage. We just sit tight while wind dives
And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo,
We are bombarded by the empty air.
Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.

Seamus Heaney

Pupil Activity

An important part of the Ulster Museum is the video installation near the visitor entrance. Your task is to produce a film to accompany the reading of the poem Storm on the Island by the poet Seamus Heaney. The museum shows a variety of exhibits, including those which celebrate distinctive aspects of Irish life, architecture and landscape.

A film crew has already shot material. A voice artist has recorded a reading of the poem.

In groups discuss this material.

You are now the editor who has to select which video material best fits the mood and tone of the poem.

You will need to import the shots you think are most appropriate into your editing software package to make your film.

Project 5

Key Question:
How can I use my creative skills to convey a sense of place?

Pupils are learning to:

  • to bring together all their pre-production, production and post-production skills to create their own poem and film of place.

Practical Filmmaking

Review ‘Storm on the Island’ activity.

Your local TV station has commissioned you to write a short poem and film to show just after the news and weather. They want it to capture the distinctiveness of your region of the country - but it must only last for 45 seconds. Although the audience for a local TV station will cover all ages and social groups, you should decide on the type of person you wish to target with your film.

Write a short poem which captures the distinctiveness of your area/region/community, using imagery and descriptive language. Discuss ideas for storyboard shots you would use to represent your community visually, bearing in mind your target audience. You need to think about the pace of your poem film. You could go for a slow, moody feel to the piece, using shots which stay on screen longer or have slow pans or zooms; or you could include more rapid cutting through a variety of shots, with quick, agitated camera movement. Make the images add a new dimension to your poem.

Choose an appropriate piece of music – without lyrics – which would fit in with the mood of your visual edit.

With guidance from your teacher as to how you should prepare for production and post production, film and edit the poem film you have planned.