Satire Video Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

One of the best ways to really understand satire is to make satire. These projects will give your students opportunities to explore satire as a film genre.

Satire

Satire can be a powerful genre, and there's a great tradition of influential satirical works in the history of film. These projects are not designed to teach students how to operate recording or editing equipment, but they can help your students apply these skills to create their own works of satire or analyze existing films. The following projects are designed to be easily adaptable depending on the skill level of your class. In the simplest terms, most of these could be completed using basic video recorders and little editing. However, each of these projects could be designed with greater technical difficulty and better equipment for more advanced students.

Satire Video Project Ideas

Satire Trailer

For this project, students will start by selecting one of the great works of satire (The Great Dictator, Blazing Saddles, Dr. Strangelove, etc.). They will watch this film and write a report on its themes, plot, characters, and use of satire throughout. Students will then use basic editing tools to create a trailer for this film. You can give them the option to provide additional voiceover or narration if you wish. Students will strive to create a trailer that captures the themes, tone, and satirical nature of this film. Once they're done, have students present their trailers to the class.

  • Materials: Editing equipment, audio recording equipment if desired

Modern Satire

Discuss satire as a class and how it's been used in film to explore major topics that a society is struggling with. Ask students to consider how great satire takes a social issue and parodizes, rebukes, or reinforces it. At this point, each student is going to get a modern social issue to tackle. You can assign students their topic or let them choose their own, depending on what you think will work best for your class. Possible options include environmental issues/climate change, voting issues, partisanship, gun ownership, anti-vaccination, the flat Earth movement, healthcare, social media, wages/opportunity, the tiny house movement, consumerism, etc. Students will examine this topic, considering what it means to their society. They will then write out their own original satire and film it.

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