Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 1 - Introductions and basic shots

Today was the first day of my very first Junior Filmmakers Summer Camp.

The camp is being held at the Evergreen Montessori Academy in South Ogden, Utah.

Myself and Brian Van Vliet are the instructors.

We had six kids sign up, and five kids show up on our first day. We're thinking that Luc might still be out of town or something.

We started with introductions of each participating child, as well as introductions of myself and Brian. Also let the kids know what they're in for.

After introductions we took turns talking about our favorite movies. Each kid got to name a few movies were their favorites and also talk about what they like about these movies. This gave the kids an opportunity to exchange favorite moments in each movie, and it also gave us ( the instructors ) a beginning gauge of what kinds of movies the kids might be familiar with. As we might guess, the boys liked Star Wars, and the girls liked a variety of different things. Popular movies included Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Up! and Spy Kids.

After explaining a few of the basic principles that make movies work ( animation, persistence of vision, projectors, etc. ), Brian led the kids on a hands-on project of creating a flipbook. The flipbook was a 20 frame animation of a Tyrannosaurus Rex running. This gave us the opportunity to talk to the kids a little more about movies, while they were keeping busy with their hands. This approach seemed to work really well, as young children tend to get bored pretty quickly just listening to an adult talking.

After the flipbooks were finished, we took a play break out in the playground for about ten minutes.

When we returned from our play break, it was back to work. And by work, I mean having our snack and watching a movie. The kids watched Robert Rodriguez's short film "Bedhead" ( on the El Mariachi DVD ), but we had some kind of problem playing it all the way through, so I will be fixing that tonight, and we will watch the film in it's entirety tomorrow.

Next, I had my Panasonic AG-DVX100a hooked up to my broadcast monitor to demonstrate to the kids the 6 principle shots that we were going to be getting. After everyone had a grasp on the shot names, how to shoot them, and in what context they might be used, we set the kids out to get the shots themselves.

Each student took a turn running the camera. For this exercise we used a consumer level Canon ZR85 DV camcorder and a tripod. Each kid picked one other classmate to stand in so that they could frame each shot. Brian made a good point to make sure that each kid that was being director/dp for their turn called "quiet on the set" and "action" before each take. It was a lot of fun and all the kids did a great job.

That was it for the first day.

Looking forward to day 2 very much. I had a real blast doing this and it's something that I've always wanted to do. I love teaching, I love working with kids, and I love film-making. So this is a great fit for me. Tomorrow we will be doing two shots, over the shoulder shots, tracking shots, and a few other fun things.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you have the opportunity to do this. I know it is exactly what you want to be doing. Making movies and teaching. These kids are really lucky to have this camp.