Directions for Documentary on the Rise of Totalitarian Governments

Directions for Documentary on the Rise of Totalitarian Governments

Directions for Documentary on the Rise of Totalitarian Governments

Your group of four or five will fill the role of television producers by creating a documentary on the rise of totalitarian governments in the Soviet Union, Italy, or Germanybetween the two World Wars. Your documentary may take the form of a video presentation or an in-class skit. Feel free to be creative and present your material in one of the following formats or to combine a few: newscast, interview, talk show, game show, soap opera, commercials, etc. Your documentary should be entertaining and informative. The goal of the documentary is twofold: 1) to describe and explain the conditions leading to the rise of totalitarian governments and 2) to review for the upcoming test. The following countries will be covered:

Soviet Union




Your documentary should be 5-10 minutes. It should contain at least four scenes that involve people from different levels of society and address the following:

-Two scenes should contain a political critique of the careers of a specific leader(s) rising to power at this time.

-Two scenes should contain an economic analysis of what enabled the leadership to assume control of a specific country.


1st Scene-Stalin is interviewed about his career and decisions. (political)

2nd Scene-A peasant is interviewed about Stalin in secret because of the Purges. (political)

3rd Scene-A farmer on a collective farm talks about his daily struggles. (economic)

4th Scene-A factory manager talks about the difficulties of meeting quotas under the 5 Year Plans. (economic)

Group Mechanics:

Each group must have 4 or 5 members who will fill the following roles. Remember, in order for a group to run smoothly, individuals must share roles.

Producer: coordinates the group's work; serves as group leader to make sure all tasks are completed; helps video engineer edit final product

Researcher: finds background information; helps editor write segments of documentary

Editor: in charge of writing all segments of documentary

Set Designer: works with editor to choose sites for taping; in charge of costumes and any other necessary props; helps video engineer edit final product

Video Engineer: films scenes; in charge of editing final product

Actors: EVERYONE!!!

Planning in Stages:

Below are the recommended steps you should take to put your project together.

1. Conduct research.

2. Brainstorm ideas for film.

3. Write out a script and gather costumes and props.

4. Rehearse/Film.

6. Edit. (Be sure to leave yourselves plenty of time for this stage!)

Important Reminders:

1. Most of the work for this project will be done outside of class time. This will be the most time intensive and demanding project that you do in the first semester. So start setting up meetings

as soon as possible and don't wait until the last minute to complete this project!

2. The library has 5 video cameras available for checkout. Before you can check out a

camera, you must have a parent sign a “video camera contract.” A copy of the contract is available on the library web site under the link “Pathfinders and Handouts.” Here is the direct link

Remember you will need to provide your own video tape.

3. The library has two Macs with editing software. You can use them during regular library hours on a first come basis. They are for editing only. Also, the Social Studies Department has 5 Mac labtops with editing software that float among teachers. These are also available on a first come basis and cannot be taken home and must be used in Mr. Sheehy’s classroom. In both cases you will need a digital camera and a fire wire cord to make use of the editing software. If you are interested in using the Social Studies Department’s Macs make an appointment with Mr. Sheehy. In all cases, be sure to be early and polite.

4. Before you start filming, be sure that camera you are using is compatible with a computer that has editing software on it. You don’t want to film and then have nowhere to edit your footage!

5. Be sure to label your video tape/DVD/CD-ROM with the monarch you are covering, the names of the members of your group, the length of your documentary, and the period

you are in. You will lose points if your video tape/DVD/CD-ROM is not correctly labeled.

6. Make sure your documentary will be able to play in class. No excuses will be

accepted. If it cannot be viewed by the class, it cannot be graded.

Due Date:

The documentary is due on ______.

Just a Thought:

In order for students from other classes or future generations of Mr. Sheehy’s students to view your documentary you might want to post it on !