Content guidance

Physical activity required.

Adult supervision recommended.


Lesson video

In progress...


Hello everybody, and welcome to drama.

I'm Mr. Bateson, your teacher for this topic, an introduction to drama conventions.

And when we say conventions, we mean skills or techniques.

And today in this lesson, we're going to be looking at two new conventions: thought tracking and writing in role.

So if you're ready to get started, let's see what you'll need for this lesson.

So you're going to need a pen or a pencil, and you're going to need some paper to write on.

You'll need some space to work in and a chair to do our acting on.

Because this is a practical lesson and you'll be moving around, we need to keep safe.

So this lesson should take place inside.

And make sure there is enough space for you to work, including above, so look out for any light fittings.

You might want to take your shoes and socks off and act in bare feet.

Either way, make sure the floor is not slippy.

Wear some comfortable clothing so you can move around.

You can pause the video now if you need to get anything for this lesson.

In this lesson, the first thing we'll do is recap some learning from a previous lesson about another convention, still images.

Don't worry if you didn't do that lesson because we'll go through it in a moment.

Next we'll introduce the key terminology.

Thought tracking and writing in role.

After that, you'll get chance to practise using thought tracking yourself, have a go at writing in role, and then we'll put it all together into a performance at the end.

There's also an exit quiz where you can check your learning about these new conventions.

So those key words, then.

Still image, and a still image is like a photograph or a statue.

So as an actor, we will be frozen in a position that shows the audience who we are, how we're feeling, or what we're doing.

Our new convention today is thought tracking.

And that's where we can speak a character's thoughts out loud, imagining what they might think or what they might say.

And that's why this lesson is called, what are they thinking? Our second new convention is writing in role.

And that's writing words as though we are a character in role.

We'll be having a go at both of those things in this lesson.

Let's just check our understanding of that drama convention, still image.

And you might have done a lesson already on that convention with me.

Either way, we'll be demonstrating it in a second.

For now, point at the answer which you think is correct.

True or false, a still image is like photograph or a statue with an actor frozen in a position? It's true.

And we're going to be practising those right now.

A good still image includes being still, your facial expressions so you can share how you feel, your actions and your gestures, your body language and how you're positioned.

And I'm going to be looking for some imaginative ideas as well.

These are the things that I'm going to be looking for in this next activity where you're going to create your own still images.

Let's practise some still images then.

I'm going to ask you to copy these photographs and hold them still for five seconds.

I'm going to demonstrate first.

So I'm going to use a really clear action, and I'm going to change my facial expression.

My body language is kind of open here in this picture.

So I'm going to make sure I do that.

And of course, I'm going to keep still for five seconds.

Here I go.

Do you think I kept still? Could you see my facial expression? And I was doing my actions really clearly.

I'd like you to have a go at copying the same picture.

After three, create your still image, and we'll hold it still.

One, two, three.

Great work.

That is a brilliant picture for practising our still images.

Have a go at this one.

You might want to stand up for it and use a little bit more space.

Here I go.

So the lady here I think she's kind of standing on this side.

So I'm thinking about my body language, but she's looking this way.

Facial expression's very different to the man before, and she looks really pleased with herself.

And so she should, it looks like she's got a qualification or something, doesn't she? So I want to be able to feel that in your still image.

I'm going to have a go first, and you're going to copy next, okay? So she's holding a hat here, making a clear action.

She's kind of putting her hand out, and she's looking to the side.


Okay now it's your turn.

After three.

And if you need to pause the video, and move your chair, make a bit space, you can do that now.

Otherwise I'll count you in.

One, two, three, still image.

Great work.

I'm going to let you try this one by yourself, and I want you to think about your facial expression.

Do you think that person will be scared, or actually, do you think they've got the confidence? Do you think there's a bit of both? How are you going to show that in your face? And of course, you've got some very clear actions and gestures there, and you're going to be using your whole body language to show that you're walking on a tightrope.

I'm going to count you in, and you're going to practise your still image for five seconds.

Ready? One, two, three, still image.

Great work.

Okay, well done.

So we've been practising our still images.

But today's lesson is about thought tracking.

And this is where we speak a character's thoughts out loud.

So we're going to get thinking about thoughts.

These three people that we've looked at.

I wonder what they might be thinking.

This person here with his hands to his head, does he look angry? Does he look frustrated? Does he look excited? What might be going through his head.

Or the lady in the middle, we said she might be feeling pleased with herself.

So what thoughts might be going through her head to show that? She might be thinking, "I feel proud." And what about this person on the tightrope? Who knows what's going through their head? Maybe they're thinking, "Don't look down." That's probably what I'd be thinking.

Or maybe they're thinking, "I can do this." What about you? What do you think will be going through the minds of these people at this moment? Here's some ideas that I came up with for this particular one, and notice how I'm using the word I.

Because we're going to be acting as these people.

So we don't say, "The man thinks he is angry," or we don't think, "He is angry." This character would think, "I am angry." Here's my examples.

"I can't believe she forgot." I thought that he might be with somebody who has forgotten his birthday or their anniversary.

He might be thinking, "Just try and remember, think," like he's forgotten something.

He could be thinking, "I can't take it anymore." He might be thinking, "It should've been me." Those were some of the ideas that I came up with for this person.

I wonder what you can come up with for each of these three characters.

You'll need some paper and something to write with then.

You can pause the video now.

And I'd like you to come up with three phrases for each of these characters to show what they are thinking.

Remember to use the word I.

When you're finished, resume the video.

So what have you come up with? I'm sure quite a lot of you will come up with this.

This person thinking they've missed one of Mr. Bateson's amazing drama lessons.

No? Okay.

I wonder what you came up with for this person.

I was thinking before that she felt proud.

Another idea that I came up with was that she was thinking, "I showed them." Maybe somebody didn't believe in her and she proved them wrong.

I wonder what you came up with for this one.

I stood with my original idea, and I put the full stops in there.

'Cause I was thinking about how I might actually say this out loud too.

If I put the full stops in, it creates the pauses.

Don't look down, and that's what we're going to be doing next.

If you need to pause the video again and add to your ideas, you could do that now.

You're going to be using those words in this next section.

Because remember, thought tracking is when we speak a character's thoughts out loud, not just write them down.

So we're going to be thinking about how we say those words too.

Good thought tracking includes looking directly or talking directly to the audience, and that's to really make it clear that you are speaking your thoughts, not just speaking normally.

We usually thought track in the first person.

So we've been using the word I to show that it's our thoughts.

Good thought tracking also reveals new information.

So we don't want to tell the audience what they already know.

For example, the person on the tightrope wouldn't be thinking, "I am on a tightrope." We already know that.

So in their thoughts, we want to reveal some new information.

Maybe we don't know that they are really nervous.

So when they say, "Oh gosh, I am really nervous," That's new for us as the audience.

So try and think of something interesting for your thought tracking.

We can still use our facial expressions.

So if the person is angry, and they are thinking, "I am so angry," we can show that in our face too.

And you may have noticed that I've been experimenting with my vocal expression when I say these thoughts out loud.

So remember to use that too.

I'm going to be looking for these things in the next activity.

If you want to practise your vocal expression, you can take some of the phrases that you've just written down and practise saying them in different ways.

For example, the first one here, "Ah, I missed Mr. Bateson's amazing drama lesson." We could say it in lots of ways.

We could say it as though we're really, really, really disappointed.

"Oh, I missed Mr. Bateson's amazing drama lesson." Or we could kind of say in a sarcastic way.

"Oh, I missed Mr. Bateson's amazing drama lesson." The middle one, the lady there, we could say that in lots of ways.

You could say it quietly.

"I showed them." Or we could say very excitedly.

"Whoo, I should them!" And of course, with the person on the tightrope, we could say that in lots of different ways too.

We could be genuinely really scared, and our voice could be shaking.

"Don't look down." Or we could be really determined.

"Don't look down." There's hundreds of ways to use our voice.

So if you want to pause the video now and practise saying these phrases here, or the phrases that you've written on your paper, in lots of different ways, you can do that now.

If you're ready to move on, I'll show you how we combine thought tracking and still image together.

So how do we show thought tracking? Well, there's a couple of different ways we can do it.

The first way is to start with our still image and then drop the image and speak directly to the audience, like this.

I can't believe she forgot! And you noticed that I returned back to the still image at the end as well.

Another way to do it is to start with our thought tracking and then go into the image.

For example, "I can't believe she forgot." Pause the video now and have a go at copying what I just did.

If you're feeling confident, we can go straight on to practising with your own ideas.

Either way, remember, we need to talk and look directly at the audience.

We need to speak in the first person, say I.

Reveal new information, use your facial expressions, and we've been practising using our vocal expression.

Before we have a go at our own thought tracking, let's just check on what we've been learning.

So what does good thought tracking include? There are four options here, and you need to choose two.

We've been talking about vocal expression.

Should we either speak clearly and show emotions in our voice, or should we be always whispering like it's a secret? Point at the answer that you think is correct now.

We should be speaking clearly and showing our emotions in our voice.

Now that might mean like we whisper, like it's a secret, but not always, only if that fits the thought itself.

And what about the information then? Should we just say what the audience already knows so we don't confuse the audience? Or are we trying to reveal some new information to interest the audience? Point at the answer which you think is correct now.

We're going to try and reveal new information to interest the audience.

The audience can already see what we're doing through our still image.

So our thoughts need to reveal something new and interesting.

Okay, the two ways to do thought tracking.

You do your image and pause, drop that image and do the thought tracking.

Then return to the image.

Remember like this, "I can't believe she forgot!" Or we can jump straight in with our thought tracking first.

Then do the image, like this.

"I can't believe she forgot." I'm going to be asking you to have a go at your own thought tracking performances right now based on these characters from before.

So you already have some words that you wrote down on your piece of paper.

I'd like you to make your own mini thought tracking performances for each of these three characters using the techniques that we've just been practising.

So pause the video now and have a go.

When you're finished, resume the video.

So how did you get on? I hope you enjoyed creating those mini thought tracking performances.

Thought tracking's great.

It really lets us get inside the heads of the characters and makes for much more interesting stories.

Now, last lesson, we were creating some still images based on this character who was waiting at a window.

Now, if you didn't take part in that lesson, don't worry.

You can catch up now.

Now we're going to take those still images of this person waiting at the window.

And we're going to add some thought tracking to them so we can further practise our new skill.

So using that picture of the person at the window as our stimulus, we created five still images, imagining what that person might be doing in that room apart from looking through the window.

So if you did that with me last lesson, you can use the ones that you've already created.

If not, you can quickly create five images now.

Here were my five still images.

The first one, I imagined the person was looking in their diary.

This was my first image.

My second image was kind of leaning forward like this.

My third image.

Number four.

And my favourite was number five.

I would put them all together into a sequence.

So let me show you that sequence now.

Okay, so you should have five still images.

If you haven't, or you need a little bit more time to practise or remember them, pause the video now.

And make sure you've got five still images to work with.

So they were my five still images that I created based on this picture stimulus.

What I'm going to try and do now is introduce some thought tracking.

So I wonder what this person at the window might be thinking, what might be going through their head.

Are they waiting for something? And so are they thinking, when will they turn up? Maybe they're feeling lonely.

And so they might be thinking, "I wish someone would call." Maybe they're really enjoying some time to themselves.

And they're thinking, "It's been a long time since I was just alone with my thoughts." Pause the video now and write down lots and lots of different thoughts that you think might be going through the head of this person at the window.

And we'll use those thoughts together with our still images.

If you're ready, then we can start to add our lines of thought tracking to our still images.

So I'm thinking about that person at the window, and I'm wondering what is going through their head.

I'm also thinking about my images.

What's going through their head at that moment? When the person's looking in their diary, what might they be thinking? Or when they're sat like this, what might they be thinking? And what I'm going to do is, I'm going to add a line of thought tracking to each picture, and I'm going speak them out loud.

Now I've already prepared this, but what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to pause the video, and I'd like to write down five lines of thought tracking, one for each picture.

If you've already done that, then we'll start to put them together.

Take a look at my example now.

I can't believe how many days I've been writing in my diary.

Feels like the walls are closing in.

I keep asking myself, "Why me?" I feel happy and sad and scared and excited all at the same time.

Argh, I feel like I'm going to burst.

So you can see I've taken my five still images and my five lines of thought tracking and put them together into a mini performance.

Let's see what you can come up with.

Pause the video now and practise that.

So there were my five still images and five lines of thought tracking all performed together.

I'm going to be asking you to do the same activity.

Remember, we need to be talking and looking directly at the audience when we're speaking our thought tracking.

Keep it in the first person, reveal new information.

Don't forget your facial expressions, and try and use some vocal expression too.

Pause the video and practise your performance.

And remember, you need five still images and a line of thought tracking for each.

You should speak the thought tracking over the top as you move between the images.

You'll need a little bit time to practise this, to get it smooth and to remember your lines too.

Take your time.

Pause the video, resume when you've done it.

Those performances should be looking really great now.

And we're beginning to tell a story.

We started with a picture of a person at a window.

Then we made some images thinking about what they might be doing in that room.

Then we've put some thought tracking on top.

So now we're starting to learn a little bit about what they feel.

Next, we're going to introduce writing in role, where we can further explore the characters.

I wonder if you can remember what we mean by writing in role.

You need to select true or false.

Writing in role is writing words as though we are a character.

Point at the answer which you think is correct now.

It's true.

And we're going to be writing words as though we are a character as though we are the person at the window.

There's me in my position, in my still image, where I was imagining the person was reading their book or looking in their diary.

And I want to think now, let's say that that person opens their book, their diary, and they take their pen or their pencil.

And they start writing in it how they feel.

I'm going to be asking you to write at least 10 lines as though you are that person.

Here's something to get you started.

So on your piece of paper, I would write down these five headings, and leave a little bits of space in between each one where you can finish the sentences.

Pause the video now, and write down those five sentence starters.

Okay, now it's time to finish them off.

Here's some examples from me to help you get along: I feel like the walls are closing in on me.

I can see the lights outside, but it seems so far away.

I can hear my own breath and my own heartbeat.

And I can sense that something is about to change.

I wish it would hurry up.

So if you were that character, how would you feel? What might they see in that room? What might they be hearing? What could they sense or feel? Maybe what could they wish for? Pause the video now and write down your own sentences as though you are the person at the window.

I wonder how you found writing in role.

Sometimes when we write words as though we're a character, we get really different ideas than we would if we were to just write them as ourselves.

So I hope you've got some really interesting words, and we're now going to try and put everything together.

Let me demonstrate how we're going to put this all together.

I'm going to perform the five images with my five lines of thought tracking, and then I'm going to speak my writing in role at the end.

How many days have I been writing in this diary? I feel like the walls are closing in on me.

I keep asking myself, "Why me?" I feel happy and sad and scared and excited all at the same time.

Grr, I feel like I'm going to burst.

I look out the window.

I can hear my heart beating in my ears.

I can see the bright light shining through.

Today is the day.

Put my hands on the window, and it feels cold.

I take a deep breath.

It's time.

So now you can have a go at putting everything together.

You've got your images.

You can move between them using transitions.

You've got your lines of thought tracking, and you should be speaking your writing from writing in role at the end.

Pause the video now and practise that as a full performance.

Take your time, learn your lines, experiment with your vocal expression and saying your writing in different ways and enjoy being an actor, having made your own piece of drama.

Thank you so much for taking part in this drama lesson today.

You've been working really hard.

And you're building up your skills very quickly.

We first learned about the convention still image, but now we've also added thought tracking and writing in role.

And it's really beginning to look like a full performance that you've created.

Great work.

You should be really proud of the work that you've been creating in this lesson today.

And if you want to, you can share it with us on Twitter.

So with a parent or guardian, you can get your video together and upload your performance from today.

I'd really love to see your thought tracking and writing in a role performances.

If not, I'll see you next time in another drama lesson, hopefully.