Anyone who grew up before the Digital Age remembers that filmmaking for kids was nothing more than a dream. Reel to reel film was a magical technology that required expensive equipment, projectors, film development. Maybe one day we would grow up to be Alfred Hitchcock, but, in the meantime, all we could do is pretend to make movies.
Today, a ten year old can create multiple short films in one day using a smart device and editing apps. It is amazing! As parents, teachers, and homeschoolers we have an obligation to include filmmaking in our kids' learning process.
Valuable Skills Taught Through Filmmaking for Kids
Filmmaking affords the opportunity to improve many skills. Creating a movie can either be a collaborative effort utilizing the combined efforts of many talents, like directors, actors, and screenwriters or it can be a solo venture. Either way, it requires planning, strategy, and artistic considerations- skills that are necessary for kids to learn and cultivate critical thinking.
Thinking and writing skills. Powerful writers have the ability to paint a picture for readers and show them the story rather than simply tell them. Filmmakers take story ideas, convert them into a writing and thinking concept and then apply visual images to communicate the story. Translating ideas and thoughts into cohesive movies develops critical thinking and writing skills.
Discernment. Images have power. Filmmakers must learn to discern which images are powerful in different ways. Although we process images all day long, being challenged to select images to communicate messages exercises a different part of the brain.
Big picture thinking. Filmmaking for kids forces them to view situations and storylines from multiple perspectives. Making movies encourages children to see the bigger picture.
If you are a homeschool parent, your child will earn elective credits with a filmmaking curriculum. That's an added bonus!
Filmmaking for Kids Project Ideas
The idea of making movies is fun, but do you need some practical filmmaking for kids project ideas?
Book Reports. While it is important to understand whether kids comprehend what they read, book reports are boring. Video reports are awesome! Rather than assign a drab book report, challenge kids to create a video summary or critique of the book. Award extra credit for creativity.
Alternate Endings. Kids love watching movies. Get them involved in creating movies by challenging them to create an alternate ending to one of their favorite movies.
Tell a Story. Teach kids to turn mundane daily events into captivating short movies. Did you child see a butterfly flitting from flower to flower? Urge them to film it and create a storyline. Filmmaking helps children to pay attention to details and appreciate that small things can be big with a different perspective.
Interview Someone. Encourage your child or students to interview someone interesting to them. Teach them to plan out questions, schedule the interview, and set up the equipment.
Plan a Film Festival. Gather different classes, homeschool groups, or groups of friends and set a date for a film festival. Everyone has the opportunity to share their film with the crowd.
Steps for Filmmaking for Kids
Now that you understand the value in filmmaking for kids and you have some project ideas, here are the steps for putting it all together.
Order Some Equipment
Ordering a few pieces of equipment to shoot a professional quality movie doesn't have to break the bank. A few things to consider buying as you get started are:
- Smart device (phone or tablet)
- Filmmaking case
- Wide Angle Lens
- Video Mic
iOgrapher has an affordable Cinematic Filmmaker Bundle for kids who are serious about making movies.
Call Your Friends
One-person movies are a big challenge. It is so much more fun to call your friends, cast your parts, provide a script and start shooting. A short film only takes 3-4 people and an afternoon to product something truly special.
Plan the Screenplay
Whether you are dealing with a visual learner or a child who enjoys writing, planning the screenplay can be in the form of a visual storyboard or a written screenplay. It may be tempting to start filming right away, but planning is essential to an organized final product.
Break the film into small scenes and starting shooting. Film the same scene from various angles and play with lighting and backgrounds. It is better to have too much film than not enough. Watch the creativity run wild.
Time for Editing
Editing is the opportunity to focus the audience on the characters and scenes that are most important to the storyline. Free editing software is available for any device, making editing simple on a phone, tablet, or computer. Bring out the potential of the story with basic editing techniques and improve as time goes on.
Perfection is Not Attainable
Filmmaking for kids is fun and the ultimate learning experience. When you start to feel like nothing is going right, think of the outtakes you have watched of blockbuster productions. Even professional directors must shoot the same scene multiple times to get it right.
The opportunity for creative learning is so much more technologically advanced than it was in past generations. Filmmaking for kids is the perfect opportunity to get kids exciting about learning and creativity in hands on ways.