"Your Life as a Movie"

The "Your Life as a Movie" (or "Video Game" or "Novel") pre-instructional poster assignment is a project I've used and adapted each year since the fall of 2002. It allows me to quickly get all new art students working on a project, while getting a feel for their skills and knowledge in my mixed level and mixed ability classes.

We begin this project by looking at a wide variety of movie posters and discussing what makes them effective.

Students discuss the use of color, title placement, and what can be learned about each movie, based on the images. They also discuss the "mood" of each poster, as well as the overall composition and design.

Their assignment is to pretend that a movie has been filmed about their life and they are to design a poster that will advertise it. They must include an original title for their movie, their name, and images that show their interests or that tell something about them. Their posters must include tempera paint and at least one other medium.

Students usually have about a week and a half to complete their posters. This project allows them to demonstrate their general creative ability; their sense of design and composition; their ability to do lettering, use color and demonstrate their color mixing, painting and drawing skills. It also shows their ability to make good use of class time and meet deadlines.

When the posters are finished, students are randomly assigned a poster to DESCRIBE (no judgement allowed) in a written paragraph or two and they must also do a written critique of their own poster. Having them slow down, look, think and write at the beginning of the year--with their very first project--helps them gain appreciation for their own skills, as well as for those of their peers. And given the nature of the project, they also gain insights into the lives and interests of their new classmates!



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