Digital Storytelling: Storyboard and Screenplay Challenge Using iMovie Trailers for iOS

Target audience: High School Teachers & Students of Digital Media classes, particularly those with emphasis on film/video

Objective: Groups of students will be able to record an initial iMovie Trailer, and then communicate to another group how to replicate it, using ONLY storyboards and screenplays. Using these materials, the receiving group will be able to re-create the scenes and text from the original video, without ever having seen it.

Duration: 1 week


iOS devices with iMovie installed

Screenplay template available from Apple Everyone Can Create materials

Ben's expanded version of ECC Screenplay Template (attached below)

Ben's Screenplay Keynote template (attached below)

In this fun challenge, students learn how to communicate details of a video they have recorded, using only screenplays and storyboards. I usually break students up into groups of four, and then let them pick an iMovie Trailer genre for which to shoot scenes. When their Trailer is complete, they do not let any of the other groups watch it.

Rather, the group that shot the video receives a set of storyboard templates (one per member), and must go back through their trailer and graphically draw out the scenes that they just shot. They can also use panels to indicate text as well. When they are done, there will be four storyboards of the same Trailer.

Then, the students receive the screenplay template (linked above and attached below), and must verbally type out the actions that take place in each different scene. (Since there is no dialogue in trailers, I let them use text from the trailer as dialogue). I encourage them to employ as many of the different screenplay formats as possible, when typing up the screenplay of their Trailer. I also permit them to indicate the correct genre template (adventure, horror, etc.) of their Trailer, so that the receiving group will start with the correct blank Trailer.

When the group is done, they will hand four independently-created storyboards and screenplays to another four-member team. Knowing the genre only (but not having seen the original Trailer video), the receiving team will need to read the screenplays and interpret the storyboards to re-create the shots and scenes of the original Trailer in iMovie.

When the re-created trailer is done, I take the original trailer and the re-created trailer, and play them side-by side, for comparison. This can be done in iMovie or Final Cut Pro on Mac. The students really enjoy seeing where they communicated well (and mis-communicated) the elements of their original Trailer, and it makes for good discussion on how to effectively use storyboards and screenplays to cast a vision for a video.

Embedded below is a side-by side comparison of an original and a re-created Trailer (with students' faces obscured, of course). Even so, I'm sure you'll see the similarities. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I do!



All Comments

Posted on October 23, 2022

What a great exercise in effective communication and collaboration! Thanks for sharing this lesson, Ben.

Posted on October 23, 2022

Very creative way to use iMovie Trailers Ben! Thanks!

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