Friday, July 27, 2007

Making Movies with Kids

posted by Eva Sollberger
FlynnArts Faculty, Lights... Camera... Action! Summer Camp

Judith Kurtz and I have been co-teaching a summer camp at the Flynn all week called Lights, Camera, Action! We've been making movies with 16 boisterous 8-10-year-old boys and girls and a wonderful assistant/executive producer, Nora Cadwallader-Staub. I am pleased and amazed to say that we have managed to make a different film each day—you can watch the results below! The kids play ALL the roles except director, editor, and cinematographer. This means that they are the lead actors, supporting cast, assistant director, producer, assistant camera operator, set designer, sound designer, costume designer, and script supervisor.

The students take their roles VERY seriously and I have been amazed by the contributions of such a hard working cast and crew. A script supervisor will tug at my arm to ask me breathlessly, "Did we get the shot of the pirate battle scene yet?" A lighting designer will ask, "Do you think blue or yellow gels for the princesses' dream sequence?" A sound designer decides upon silverware to mimic the sound effects of sword fighting. A production designer uses gold tapestry and fabrics to turn a white room into a palace dining room and a costume designer turns colorful rope into prison handcuffs.

Each student’s contribution to the finished project is noticeable and shows impressive initiative. Every day they switch roles so everyone can try different sized acting parts and alternate crew positions. The students also wrote the scripts that we shot rough cuts of on our first day of camp. The difference between the rough cuts and the finished product is HUGE. But it is interesting to see that the "essence" still remains.

They chose the genres after I showed them clips from a ton of different movies. The winners were drama, adventure and suspense but there are elements of action, musicals and horror as well. They like to have battle scenes in every movie and a lot of death scenes, too. Here are the results of all our hard work—three of our four completed films (the behind-the-scenes documentary is still in post-production):

Today is our final screening, when we show the parents what we have been doing all week. There will be popcorn. We are also shooting a documentary and going on a field trip to Roxy Cinema's projection booth. I can't wait to see what these talented kids cook up next….

Parts of this blog post originally appeared on Sollberger's own wonderful blog, The Deadbeat Club. Thanks for letting us "reprint" it, Eva!

1 comment:

Eva the Deadbeat said...

My pleasure! I had a blast and learned a lot! These kids are something else! ;)