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Present, The — Jacob Frey, 2014

The film tells the story of Jake, who spends his time indoors playing video games. Jake’s mum wants him to find other interests and so one day she brings home a little surprise for her son. At first, Jake is less than impressed with his gift and goes back to playing his video games. But, after a little time he realises how special his gift really is – and we realise why Jake just wants to stay indoors.

You will find a complete National 3 Literacy unit on 'The Present' here.

Classroom Activities

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  • How would you describe Jake? Does your opinion of him change throughout the story?
  • What does Jake think about his new present at first? How can we tell this?
  • How does the sound help tell the story? You might want to think about diegetic and non-diegetic sounds.
  • Pause the video at 00:09, 00:44, 01:05, 02:40 and 03:10 minutes. Describe how each character is feeling. What can you see in the animation to tell you this?
  • Why do you think the reveal of Jake’s disability was left until the end?
  • How do different angles and shot types show the relationship between Jake and his new puppy?
  • Watch the film through again and lookout for the moment Jake starts to change his mind about the puppy. How do we know the change has happened?


  • What does it mean to be disabled? What types of disabilities are there and how do they affect different people?
  • Investigate the achievements of disabled people around the world.
  • Have you ever watched the Paralympics? Research this event and how it began.
  • What would you like to ask the creators of this animation?
  • The film is based on this comic strip by Fabio Coala. Find this comic strip online. Discuss why do you think it was made into a short film.
  • Do you know what assistive technology is? Investigate how this is helping people live more independently.



  • Rewrite the story in the form of a narrative- what is Jake thinking?
  • Retell the story from the puppy’s point-of-view.
  • Imagine you are Jakes Mum. Write a poem telling him how you feel and what you hope for him in his future.
  • Pick six key moments from the animation. Explain why these are important.


  • Make a trailer for this short film.


  • This short film is based on a comic strip. Could you create your own comic strip that retells this story?


  • Continue the story – make a comic strip or stop motion animation telling the audience what did Jake and his new puppy get up to next?


  • Create a prologue. Role-play the dialogue between Mum and the pet shop owner. What might they have spoken about? Did she tell him why she wants that specific dog?


  • Could you choose a different song to accompany the credits? Which song would be most appropriate? Why?


  • Research the Paralympics. Create a poster promoting the Paralympics and the events it includes.