Math teachers are important, knowledgeable people. But in most middle schools, math classes along with new age spiritual movies and history, are not always the most popular among students. Imagine being the teacher for a class titled “Movie Making 101.” Your movie making class would most likely have a waiting list of kids wanting to sign up!
Today’s kids are well schooled in high tech toys and gadgets, especially computers, cell phones and video games. As a ‘movie making for kids’ teacher, you can provide them with the perfect platform where their technical skills can shine. And since movie making builds self esteem, is team oriented and highly creative, even the most technically immersed students will be able to express themselves with a movie script kids can make.
If you would like to teach movie making for kids through a class you hold through your recreation department, after school program, girl scout troop, or in your own elementary school classroom, here are several tips to help you become a Movie Director.
1. Class One: Get to know your “cast” – what their skills and talents are. Find out who is familiar with video cameras, video editing, acting, make-up, costumes. If anyone has special talents such as singing, playing an instrument, note that these can be incorporated into your movie. By observing and learning about your students, you can cast your movie more successfully.
Teach them movie making basics such as the importance of being quiet on the set (so no background noise is heard while filming). When acting in a scene, don’t look at the camera – look at the person to whom you are speaking. Don’t worry if you goof up a line – that’s why we have “bloopers” at the end of our movie!
2. Class Two: Announce the movie script that you will produce. Tell them the story of the movie as if you are a storyteller. Be animated by acting out the movie as you describe it. Announce who is playing which role. Pass out the scripts and do a “read-through” where the cast reads the entire script out loud. Do some rehearsals of complicated scenes. Assign students which props and costumes they will need to bring to the movie set. Lastly, scout your movie locations – where each scene will be shot.
3. Class Three: Shooting Day! Inventory all the props and costumes making sure you have everything you need. Assign one student to be the Script Supervisor. This person must glue them self next to you, so you can feed each line to each actor. If you are not the camera operator, make sure this person is well versed in camera operation. You want to make sure they know where the REC button is located!
Apply make-up, decorate the sets, put on costumes, open the script, turn on the camera, and you are ready to shoot your first scene.
4. The next two to three classes will all be shooting days similar to Class Three.
5. Movie Premier: Once the movie is edited with all the special effects, credits, and music, you are ready to roll the red carpet for the big premier event. Hold the premier at your local library, the school auditorium or even one of the cast members home. Make sure that wherever the premier takes place, that the audio system is acceptable. Once the audience is assembled with their popcorn and drinks, give a short speech introducing your cast and giving a short overview of the movie. After the premier, let the cast take questions from the audience.