Our family has always enjoyed movie night, except when the choice is not obvious. With children of varying ages and gender, a typical family movie could be declared too scary, too girly, or too babyish by one member or another. Add the opinion of myself and my husband, and we might be risking war to continue. It was in this moment of despair that our family decided to use the night to make a home movie. The skills we learned not only made for an enjoyable evening but inspired the children to make movies with their friends; movies that they would actually enjoy.
Step 1: Decide together what movie you want to do: Will it be a commercial? A spoof? A comedy? A documentary? Start small with your first few movie projects.
Step 2: Outline the plot. Start with a glimpse of what normal life looks like for the character before a crisis occurs. Stories are boring if only good things happen to the characters. Let your characters struggle to solve the problem. Once the problem is solved, let the audience see if the character’s life changed or stayed the same.
Step 3: Storyboard the outline. Here’s the opportunity for budding artists to get involved. Draw the actions that will occur in the story for everyone to see. Drawing also works as a great brainstorming tool in the creative process. If someone is really witty let them start on the dialogue. Work together until you can all agree on the story and dialogue.
Step 4: Rehearse. Run through your movie a few times before filming. A quick run-through will save a lot of time during the editing process, as fewer mistakes will happen. This part should be fun and will allow actors to test out improvisation and see whether things are funny or not.
Step 5: Film it! A steady camera looks more professional and will allow more people to watch it – a jerky camera might cause motion sick viewers! Ideally, a tripod should be used but a table can also work. If you need to hold the camera, bend your legs slightly to give you stability. When the camera needs to change directions, turn slowly. The same goes for zooming and panning out – slow is the key.
Step 6: Edit the movie. There are many choices of movie editing software, some that are free to download and some that come automatically with your computer’s operating software. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let children try their hand at splicing together the movie. Remember that your footage is still on your video camera and you can always start over.
Step 7: Enjoy! Thanks to the internet and blank DVD-Rs, you’ll be able to save and share movies easily. You might want to buy stock in popcorn and movie candy, though!