How to teach filmmaking to children
October 1, 2012 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Looking for help figuring out ways to teach a tween how to make films.

I have an opportunity to teach filmmaking to a child for pay.

I have some experience -- made three short films (the last one playing at festivals), directed a dozen plays, performed longform comedy improv, have written screenplays, and studied film editing in a well-respected program.

But, given a chance to make this anything I want it to be, I feel stumped. The particular issues related to teaching a child worry me. It has to be fun, give her plenty to do (and fail at), be paced in a way that works for kids and, I would think, should leave her with something to show for the experience (in addition to what has been learned). This doesn't even begin to get into the logistical issues -- equipment, actors, locations/sets, etc.

The child is 13 years old and has no filmmaking experience, as far as I know. This would probably be done as a kind of after-school enrichment program, approximately once a week, for a period ranging from 3 months to, possibly, 9 months.

I thought I'd throw it out to the hive mind.

I hope to get some practical advice on how to approach this and/or be pointed towards some resources that might help me. It occurs to me that there might even be ready-made curricula out there that I could play with and adapt.
posted by diabolik to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Yellow Ball Workshop would be a good start (theres a book)

There's probably more S-8 curriculum that can be adapted to present day tech.

Moviestorm may be a good intro program to use
posted by anon4now at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2012

When my kid was...14yo I think, this book got worn out.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2012

I hate to plagiarize myself but a similar question was asked before, and I think the comment I made then is perfectly relevant to you now.

To expand on that, given that you're looking at 3-9 months instead of a one-off session, you can structure it around the basic pre-pro/production/post framework. Let's say it's 3 months - that's 1 month (ie, 4 sessions) per phase. You can easily see how that would break down - for example, first 4 sessions (pre-production) could be: 1) script development; 2) storyboarding; 3) location scouting/production design; 4) securing everything.

Even if it were expanded to 9 months, you could see how you could just get more detailed with the above structure (and eventually incorporate video, and basic editing).

Best part of all this is, you really don't have to invest a lot. A digital point-and-shoot still camera is all you'd need, really, and the child would always be active (instead of just listening to you).

The main thing is, teach them how to tell a story visually. As I said in my earlier comment, it's such a basic thing, and yet it's shocking how many filmmakers fail at this.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 5:59 PM on October 1, 2012

Is the student more interested in making a scripted film or an observational documentary? Does her/she want to use actors, stuffed animals, Barbie dolls or household objects as the actors? Has the student seen any short films made by non-pros? I'd round up a bunch of YouTube or Vimeo stuff to watch and see what the person responds to and them go from there.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:28 PM on October 1, 2012

« Older iPad to Macbook   |   Adobe Lightroom workflow on a laptop Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.