Using Hitchcock’s storyboards to address Common Core standards

September 24th, 2012 by Brian Leave a reply »

Reading Standard for Literature 7.7 in the Common Core reads:

Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).

When I think of effective (and just plain downright cool) use of lighting and camera angles, I think of Alfred Hitchcock. That’s why I was excited to see’s collection of storyboards from 13 of Hitchcock’s greatest films.
Using something like the storyboard from The Birds will help illustrate the effect of angles. Have students come up with other ways that they could have shot the scene from different angles and discuss how those changes affect the feel. (When the bird attacks Lydia, why do we want to be zoomed in on her face? Why not be side-on from a distance?) Where’s the emphasis of the action? What’s the pacing of the action? How do those factors impact characterization? This will help add a common vocabulary for you and your students which will hopefully in turn create an informed discussion when you discuss other adaptations from print to screen.


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