Calling the Shots!

£50.00 £0.00

View sample from book

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“At last, a way of using the children’s interest in TV positively. Calling the Shots! offers a rich, fun, interesting and innovative educational experience. It’s great to offer pupils a modern and fresh look at developing their writing.” Sally Powell, KS2 Teacher

Calling the Shots! provides a new approach to creative writing – using TV and film techniques to engage and inspire children. Written by Nick Handel – a hugely experienced TV producer who now devotes his time to working with children – Calling the Shots! will enthuse even your most reluctant writers. The resource includes a comprehensive Teacher’s Guide, a DVD containing original high-quality films (sample film at the bottom of this page) and access to a bank of online resources.

  • Provides a completely new way for children to think about fiction writing – showing them how to use filmic devices to create original, attention-grabbing stories. You can see some examples of children’s work here.
  • Allows you to turn TV into a force for good. Convert children’s fascination with TV and film into a love of writing
  • Engage children who may not normally be enthusiastic writers
  • Contains all the teaching notes, worksheets and video stimulus material you will need
  • Is fully matched to the revised National Curriculum and includes grammar focus sections throughout, to ensure that both technical and creative writing skills are developed

Calling the Shots! is the distillation of many workshops run by Nick in UK primary schools, so you can be sure that the ideas here are completely classroom-tested. And if nothing else will convince you that this is worth £50 of your literacy budget, wouldn’t you like to be the teacher who can legitimately set watching TV as homework?


Unit 1: Shots as the Building Blocks of Film
Unit 2: Connecting Captions
Unit 3: Different Types of Shot
Unit 4: Lighting
Unit 5: Picturing Shots
Unit 6: Six-Shooters
Unit 7: On Location
Unit 8: Writing Characters
Unit 9: Directing Characters
Unit 10: Use of Sound
Unit 11: Stage Directions to Inspire Creative Writing
Unit 12: Consolidation of the Techniques Covered So Far
Unit 13: High and Low Angles
Unit 14: Movement and Action Sequences
Unit 15: Going Solo
Unit 16: Let’s Write a Movie
Unit 17: A Beginner’s Guide to Practical Movie-Making

Sample film

Here’s Film 2 from the DVD, which is used in Unit 1. To see a sample of the book click here.


  1. Sheri Sticepewich, St Catherine’s

    ‘What an absolute gem of a teaching resource!’

  2. Sally Powell, KS2 Teacher

    At last, a way of using the children’s interest in TV positively. Calling the Shots! offers a rich, fun, interesting and innovative educational experience. It’s great to offer pupils a modern and fresh look at developing their writing.

  3. Emma Unwin, Year 6 Teacher, St Catherine’s Preparatory School

    In 15 years of teaching I have never before come across a published resource such as Calling the Shots! It is quite simply unique and fantastic. The idea of using film to inspire children and enhance their creative writing is innovative and appealing to both boys and girls alike.

  4. Anna Fowles, Hampshire Inspectorate and Advisory Service for English and Year 6 Teacher, St John the Baptist RC Primary School

    The impact on children’s writing will undoubtedly be beneficial. Film works so well as a scaffold for ideas, sequence and plot and it appeals to all abilities. The way this resource leads children through the directorial role will help them develop their writer’s voice, their inner auteur, whilst teachers will appreciate its utility. The resource represents genuine value for money as it contains a wealth of written material, disc, photocopiable resources and links to online tools.

  5. Alice Cunningham, Deputy Head, Cuddington Croft Primary School, Cheam

    I believe that the concept behind the projects and the accompanying visual material contained within Calling the Shots! would complement teaching in a range of classrooms and supports a range of objectives across the curriculum. It also supports good practise in engaging a range of learners and provides opportunities for whole text study, talk, drama, grammar level and extended writing- aspects which all enable children to access and enjoy producing high quality creative writing, as well as solving the problem so commonly experienced by teachers of “I don’t know what to write” by providing an engaging ready-made starting point from which to develop writing stamina.

  6. Claire Hudson, Year 4/5 Class Teacher

    What a fantastic resource Calling the Shots! is and such an innovative idea. My year 4/5 class are really enjoying the activities we have completed so far and love the fact that it is based on film (especially my sometimes reluctant to write boys).

    Calling the Shots! is definitely making an impact on the standard of writing in our creative writing sessions and the clear structure of the resource has made it easy for me to pick up and run with as a teacher. I particularly appreciate the curriculum matched grammar activities that are included.

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