For a few years now Daughter has been interested in movie-making. She started out with stop-motion animation, which was more a necessity because we didn’t have a video camera. She had been experimenting with making flip-books, so putting still photos together to make a short film was a natural progression from that. Here is one of her first attempts:
Since she loves working with clay, it was an easy leap to making claymation films.
When we finally got her a video camera her movie-making really took off. She shoots literally hours of video some weeks. For the past two years she has attended a week-long Animation Workshop run by a local artist, where she works collaboratively with a group of kids to make a group film, as well as making her own movie. And most recently I showed her how to use iMovie to edit her videos and post them on YouTube. She picked it up very quickly and so is now editing her own movies with very little input from me. Most of her movies are fictional stories, but she also does a few crafting podcasts inspired by her love of the same. Here is one of her first crafting videos:
She eventually came up with idea of having her own production company, which is credited in this next crafting video which was shot a few weeks ago.
Her interest in making movies is necessarily accompanied by lots of video watching. One recent obsession is a series of movies on YouTube created using characters from the Littlest Pet Shop (LPS) toy series. At first I wasn’t too impressed with what she was watching; series’ like Popular and Secret Spy School seemed to portray the worst of schoolgirl behaviour. It was particularly uncomfortable for me because she has never been exposed to these sorts of social dynamics before, and I worried about their influence as she is still developing her social abilities (but that’s a topic for another post). She then discovered a series called Grave Matters and I’m more impressed with this one. The storylines are dark and even macabre, but in an entertaining way. And because the characters and props are all LPS toys much of the scariness of the experience is removed. Even Son, who is a sensitive kid when it comes to movies, enjoys the videos and says they aren’t scary for him. I’ve sat and watched them with Daughter and noticed how she’s not just paying attention to the story, but to such technical matters as lighting, sound, and music. She admires the movies not just because of the story and cute animal characters, but because she recognizes the skill behind the scenes. Of course this prompted a desperate plea for some LPS figures of her own with which to make movies, so we got some from a local used.com list. She has since been earnestly engaged in making her own LPS films, and it has been a real joy to watch her in this process. These two videos are her first attempt at editing her own work; I had no input in this project.
Meanwhile, Son has recently jumped on the movie bandwagon, brought here by his love of video games. For some time now he has been a fan of the Wii Viewer and regularly watches him and other game reviewers on YouTube. A while ago I noticed that he was starting to recite his own game reviews, while sitting on the toilet for example (!). Or when he’s playing by himself. So one day we sat down to record a review and it was such a hit with him that we’ve since done a couple more. His ability to edit is less sophisticated than his older sister’s, but he’s off to a great start so far. Because he doesn’t speak as clearly I add subtitles. Here is his first attempt at a gaming review (filmed using my laptop camera).
I’m really enjoying this creative process with him, and it’s lovely see his passion for gaming branch out into yet another interesting area of learning.