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No matter what memories you have of school portraits. You should definitively watch and learn English with the charming short film, School Portrait, by Nick Scott. It’s a story about a grumpy photographer and a lovely little girl.


School Portraits (Photographs)

I had terrible-looking school portraits. When I was a kid, my parents used to cut my hair. They were not good at it—at all. So, I always had an ugly-looking fringe. Always.

Why do parents think they can become, all of a sudden, great hairdressers? I still don’t know.

Never mind. Maybe the pictures are not that bad, after all. I always smiled in school portraits.

Children always smile. They don’t care about anything. They have huge optimism and a “looking-on-the-bright-side” attitude. We can learn a lot from them. Don’t you think so?

Film Time

It’s no surprise that I loved the character of that little girl from the short film, School Portrait, by Nick Scott.

“Never stop smiling,” I would keep telling that lovely girl at the end of this charming but sarcastic story.

The film is about a cynical school photographer who lists all the problems the kids would face later in their life while he’s taking pictures of them.

Watch it now.

“No, stop smiling; we’re going to do something different today,” the photographer says as the first student comes in. “It’s called a reality check.”

He wants to make the children face all the bad things that might happen in their futures, so that they become serious-looking for the school portrait.

The reality checks are about typical adult concerns (things that worry you) you would hide from your kids with all your strength.

The problems he talks about are diverse:

  • Expensive tuitions fees (the money you pay for your child’s education)
  • Tax returns to fill out (the official document you fill in so that the government can calculate the amount of tax you have to pay)
  • Climate change problems
  • How hard the children will have to work without any pocket money (money that parents give their children)

Read the full transcript here below.

Transcript School Portrait

The grumpy (unhappy and dissatisfied) photographer obtains that desired frown from the kids, until he meets a relentlessly happy girl. She keeps smiling even when he talks about divorce rates and what people can lose by separating from each other.

We feel here that our character is having a bad time in his life. But the little girl is determined to have her best shot ever.

“You’re not gonna stop smiling, aren’t you?” he says. He gives up in the end and takes a smiling picture of that girl.

Behind The Scene

The director, Nick Scott, points out that the main character (photographer) didn’t say the dialogue directly to the kids.

He didn’t want to expose them to today’s problems. The children are nonprofessional actors and go to a London school. You see their genuine reactions to things and conversations that you cannot hear in the film. Then, Scott spliced their facial expressions into actor Jonathan Rhodes’ dialogue.

The film went viral, had more than a million views, and was Webby-nominated.

I’m not surprised by the movie’s success. You see today world’s problems, like banking crisis, climate change, or divorces through the eyes of the kids.

This young generation might face a gloomy (sad) future, but their hope for a better life is shined through.

With these kids, we see their belief that things will get better.

Nick Scott

I think we adults should transmit this hope and enthusiasm to them, too.

So, never stop smiling!!!

Study Time

Have you noticed that after the verb “stop,” you need to use the -ing form? You must know that certain verbs can have the to-infinitive and the -ing form, too. But pay attention! The meaning can change.

Look at the infographic below.

Verbs with to-infinitive and -ing forms

That’s all for today.

Let me know what school portrait memories you have. I hope they’re better than mine.

Pin = save the blog post so that you can get back to it and study later on Pinterest.

Many thanks, guys!

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