Xcelerate 2016 – Week 1

I’m writing this post as the first week of Lights, Camera, Action of 2016 has come to a close. This particular class was a walk down a familiar path, but there were some distinct challenges and changes that were made that make it different from previous years.

For the past several years, the class has used the same script. It’s a pirate story. As much as I would prefer to do something different every year, I understand that this particular story is convenient. For one, it’s familiar because we’ve been doing it so long, and the props are already made. It’s also filmed outside, so lighting isn’t too much of a factor. If you’ve ever filmed something professionally, you know that proper lighting takes a good chunk of time. You want to avoid that when you have nine hours to make a 10 minute film with children.

That’s another one of the things that has been the same through every year that I’ve helped with the class. We have a group of kids who show up to class on Monday with no idea what to do. We spend the first day of class going over the script, assigning roles, and discussing costumes. We start filming on Tuesday, and this continues through Thursday because the classes are only three hours long. Then, on Friday, we’ve had to show the finished film to guests in the auditorium at the beginning of class.

This has always caused some problems. Nothing really gets done on Monday. I mean, stuff gets done. It’s just not stuff that kids really enjoy. It’s mainly sitting and making plans, so the kids go home and tell their parents that it was boring, and we didn’t do anything. From Tuesday through Thursday, we rush through making the film. This takes away a lot of the opportunities for the kids to experience the production process because the focus is on getting everything done. Then, Thursday night, someone has to stay up all night editing the film so it can be shown Friday morning, leaving the kids with really no experience of the editing process.

We were hoping to try something slightly different this year. During this particular week, there were a couple of changes made. For one, we requested to not show the film in the morning on Friday. This gave us more time to shoot the film with a wider variety of shots. Also, for the first year, the film will be available for viewing on YouTube! This works a lot better for the kids to share it with the people they want to.

There will be another class in a couple of weeks, and once again, we’re hoping to do things a little differently. We’ll see how that goes.

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