Summer Camp Sci-Fi, or Making a iPad Blockbuster   Leave a comment

Each summer at the museum where I work, I teach kids how to make a movie.  Part of the museum’s mission is early films, since D.W. Griffith shot 17 films in the area, so I take advantage of that and work in modern-day approaches to that medium.

With the use of an iPad or iPhone and the simple iMovie app, I’ve taught kids how to build a world of their own creation.  Starting with simple concepts, I lead future DWGs through the process of creating a plot, characters, script, storyboard and then the final product.

My first shot at this was a few summers ago.  I only had three kids sign up for it, but man, I couldn’t have asked for three better kids.  Two boys, one girl, all aged 11.  All shy at first, later on they became best buddies and at the end, total hams.

“So, what’s a good idea for a story?” I ask.

All three exchange looks but no plot lines.

“C’mon.  Someone’s got to have something floating around,” I say.  “Toss out anything that comes to mind.”

“Cops…and doughnuts, ” said one.

“Oh, yeah, and murder,” said another.

“Good, good…how can we bring that together?” I ask.

After a thoughtful pause, the third camper blurts, “I know!  There’s this cop, see, and he’s dead, holding a doughnut and these two other cops find him floating in a river.  When they use their cell phone to call for help, they turn into aliens.  They need doughnuts to stay alive!”

BINGO!  The plot falls into place easily.  Pretty soon, I can’t stop any of them from reckless creation.  The pages of the scrip fly out of the printer, the scenes are all crafted on the storyboards and before you can say “Oscar!” the shooting begins.

Now, we don’t have a back lot at the museum but we do have a lot of room.  The kids used all of it to hash out one of the most surrealistic films I’ve ever seen.  I prefer to consider it in the Deconstructionist genre…or Deconstructionist Sci-Fi, to be specific.

Some of the sound fades in and out (the kids were laughing too much holding the iPad and covered the mike or just didn’t pay attention to sound levels), I think there’s a finger over the lens at one point and there’s some real broad humor in it, but for a first effort, it was a blast.  The kids and I never had so much fun doing anything.  I couldn’t wait to get to work every day, and when camp was finished, I was totally sad.

Regrettably, I’ve not seen them since, but I can visit them anytime on YouTube.

Want to see what we did?

Here’s a trailer they made too, but it has little to do with the film

I gotta warn ya, this is pretty scary stuff…well, kind of…maybe…

I can’t wait for this August and the next summer camp I teach.  I wonder what those kids are going to dream up this time…





Posted May 15, 2014 by seleneymoon in Aliens, Sci-Fi Movies, science fiction

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