Hook: Play “Christmas Dragnet” for the students. Have them listen to how the show is constructed – what is the dialogue to narration ratio? How do they balance the two? (It’s about 3 parts narration to 5 parts dialogue.) How did you hear sound effects used?
Step 1: Group Discussion: Essential questions for writing
Take 15 minutes to discuss these questions as a group and write down the answers. Give out one handout per group (handout below).
What happens in the scene? What is the most important thing?
What people do you want speaking? Who do you want to cut from the scene?
How will sound figure into the scene?
Step 2: Group Work
Take the rest of class to work on your script. One page translates into about one minute. If you are having trouble, consult your paper, your group, and me. By the end of class you should have at least two pages. I recommend starting with the original script and figuring out where to make cuts and insert narration and/or sound effects. Remember Christmas Dragnet: how did they balance narration, dialogue, and sound?
As the groups are working, explain that for the actual performance, we will listen like we did to the radio show: we won’t see them making the sounds. After they are done performing, we will turn around and look at what they used to create the sound effects in their production.
Also let them know that while they can play music off of a device, no other recordings will be allowed. All other sounds MUST be practical, or made with physical objects.
Note: This would be a great day to go to a computer lab. Students should print out the script when they have finished it.