THE LAST SESSION!
Our last session at the school was bitter sweet. It meant the end of the regular session creatively working with film but the silver lining was that we would finally finish our collective film. Present at our last session was an evergreen young man who was able to both develop and create an animation story idea plus contribute some important pieces to camera to help make our film[s] make sense. There was help on hand as another young animator dropped to to give a helping hand ...
The animated story centred around a magical place called FRUIT LAND where some hungry snails, happily minding their own business and munching on as much fruit as then can, suddenly find themselves being pursued by a terrifying fruit monster ...
COMING AND GOINGS
Our fantastic filmmakers today played around with a few ideas before settling on a farmyard scene where every animal is called Malcolm. There were loads of different animals that could appear on the farm, from horses to goats and camels ... even dinosaurs, In the end we settled on a donkey, a horse and a duck. The farmyard still needed to be created, so we all got busy creating the sky, clouds, the sun, hills and grassy paths before adding trees and then deciding on what the animals would do.
WHAT'S THAT COMING OVER THE HILL ...
All was quiet on the farmyard. A donkey leisurely trots across. A horse stops briefly to chat to a chicken. Then, from out of nowhere, there is a huge tiger and chaos breaks out, animals everywhere and even the camera being attacked ...
THE BEST DAY EVER
Your best day ever has yet to happen! If you imagine that day, what would you do? That was the task for our four intrepid filmmakers, and they didn't disappoint. Taking it in turns, we all listed our top three things we would do on our best day ever.
CAN WE MAKE THIS INTO A FILM?
The answer was a resounding YES! We quickly talked about framing and shot types, crew roles and set protocol before going prop hunting and making/drawing any props we couldn't find. There were some excellent finds including a hook-a-duck set, a cash register with bonus sounds and a Ker-Plunk set. With everything we needed in place we began filming ...
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
We had a trip to Goose Fair, swimming with dolphins, dancing, sleeping in, trampolining and shopping for chocolate ... now that would be a fine day indeed. We all took turns at being onscreen and being the key roles behind the camera. After we had shot all of the scenes, we finished with a short intro in which three of our stars set up the film's premise beautifully. Finally, we sat down and took it in turns to edit the film together before sitting back and watching it full screen ...
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER MASTERPIECE
Four bright young minds alighted onto the Film Club train this fair day with one a enthusiastic returnee ready to dig for gold at the creative rock face up yonder tracks. After briefly going onto a siding to discuss favourite colours, we rejoined the main line and ploughed full speed ahead into creative wonderland. Small pieces of paper and pens were distributed, words were written, paper was folded, random choices were made and up from the midst of the group sprang the idea ...
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
Far beneath the waves of Loch Ness there stirred a monster. Now we can't call him he, or her she, as this monster wasn't either. It was just 'it'. It lived at the bottom of the Loch and everyday between 9 and 5 it would rise towards the surface of the Loch to try and scare people. 'Professional Scarer' was its official title, but the more it was seen, the less scary it became so it only appeared to people rarely so that the scare factor was greatest. After a long day near the surface it would return to the bottom of the Loch where it lived with all of the retired monsters who were no longer Professional Scarers. Here they would take dinner, chillax and sleep. The monster enjoyed this, but felt that there was something missing, as other monsters generally don't make good friends, and so at night the monster would sneak back up to the surface where it would talk to a new friend ... the moon. They would chat about their feelings, and the monster dreamed of one day going to the moon to be closer to its friend. One night an angry village mob, tired of fearing the monster, descended on the Loch just as the monster was appearing for its nightly chat with the moon. They started attacking the monster and were getting the upper hand. The moon, looking down on this, used its special powers of gravity and brought a huge wave against the villagers who all got completely wet and washed up the shore. The monster looked up at the moon and smiled before sinking back down beneath the waves. The moon looked down upon the surface of the Loch and smiled.
LET'S MAKE IT!
The group then decided that we could try to make the story using stop motion animation. Jobs were identified and tasks assigned, and the drawing, cutting, sticking and modelling began. The background and ground were added first, and then all of the extra background items and the props for the foreground were added. Once everything was in place, we planned out what the action would be, set up the iPad and used iMotion to animate. It was all hands on deck as there were several things to move between each frame. Once all of the frames were completed, we watched it back and then added sound effects and voices to bring the scene to life before sitting back and enjoying our film full screen.
CREATIVITY, CREATIVITY, CREATIVITY
Today we had two fantastic young people and the marvellous adults that accompanied them. The music trolley somehow found its way into the room and as we were thinking about our favourite books, we got the idea to create our own musical story based on the book 'What the ladybird heard'. As an extra bonus we had some record and playback buttons so we could make noises of any animals or sounds we wanted and then play them back by pressing the buttons. We all chose our preferred instruments and the cacophony began.
LET'S CREATE ANOTHER STORY
With the creative juices flowing, we jumped right into storytelling and created some words around the themes of Animals, Objects, Actions and Emotions to use as building blocks for our story. Thus THE GREAT ZEBRA RESCUE was born ...
The goat went over to the stripey animal and introduced itself, keeping up the long tradition of goats being one of the more friendly and helpful of all the mountain dwelling animals ... "Let me guess - you're lost, aren't you". The stripey animal looked happy that someone else was here in the mountains too. 'I'm a Zebra' said the stripey animal cheerily, 'Can you help me get home ... I'm lost.' The goat smiled 'Of course I can, follow me' and the the goat led the Zebra down from the mountains and back onto the plains until they reached the Zebra's bungalow. 'Would you like a cup of lemonade?' offered the Zebra?
Record attendance this week!
Five fine young people at Film Club today. The only question was, what should we do? We got some ideas by going round the table and imagining what kind of power or superpower we would each have. And WOW! In no particular order we had the fastest person in the world, a magic Lego builder, the ability to control other people, being able to take someone else's memory and lastly the ability to make another Scooby Doo film. To bring all of these powers together, we decided to build an animation set and then each create our own character out of play-do. Let the creative work begin ...
Building the set
The team chose parts of the set to build. The sky, the ground, trees, buildings. In addition, the magic Lego builder had to work out which pieces of Lego would magically build themselves ... and into what. After the set came the characters, including Kid Flash and a scary floating head with blond dreadlocks ...
Using iMotion on an iPad, the team took it turns to animate their character on the beautifully created set. Kid Flash was first, zooming all around. Then came magic Lego man, whose powers saw a great skyscraper appear floor by floor before us, with a tree on top! Scary floating head character was trickier to animate and it took a little bit of thinking to come up with a way to animate it so that it appeared that the head was floating ... and so ... capture, move, capture, move, capture, move etc etc etc ...
Is there enough time to do the sound fx?
YES - JUST! Kid Flash added a voice to his character and then scary sounds were added to the floating head animation. A quick watch back and we are done for the day. As they walked back to wherever they came from, one team member said ...
That was the best day ever!
By the look on Kid Flash's face, I rather think he agrees ... good times all round :)
A funny thing happened to me the other day ...
As a twist on the random word generated story we decided to create a story that could come after the sentence 'A funny thing happened to me the other day ...' The Animation Station stood by ready, and all were agreed that whatever the story would be, we would try to animate it and bring it to life. Somehow we ended up with a story about badgers and a curry, and so we set about creating the background set and characters for our scene ...
A quick test and then on with the real thing ...
Once all of the set and characters were created, we did a quick animation test which involved a sheep walking from one side of the scene to the other. This helped us to learn how to operate the animation software on the iPad and also how much to move the characters between each frame [and also to try to not click to quick and capture people's hands when they are moving the characters around the scene!]
With the scene planned out, the animation began for real. Picture the scene - the badgers are having curry for dinner, only they might have put too much spice in the curry. Whilst one takes a nap and the other turns their back for a moment, the pot spills over and the curry goes everywhere. Nevermind! It can all be made better with a kiss ...
The final touches ...
After watching it back, the sound effects were added. Firstly we used some sound fx for the curry spilling over and then we recorded voices for the characters to help tell the story. Then, we sat back and watched our film ... a good day's work all round.
Reasons to be cheerful
Three brand new film club members today. We started off, after the usual introductions, with an exercise in imagination. To begin, we imagined our favourite writing implement, be it pen, pencil or whatever. Then we thought about something that we would write a secret list on. Lastly, we conjured up an image of our secret list, which was entitled 'Reasons to be cheerful' and then asked each other "What is No. 6 on your list?" or "What's No.2 on yours?". Then, to help learn some basics of filmmaking, we recorded each other telling the camera an item on our list and why it was on there ...
What shall we make a film about?
The group then decided to make a film about another subject for the rest of the session. We sat around on bean bags and talked about what everyone liked doing. Two of the group said they really liked playing computer games, and so we asked them what would it be like if they didn't have access to computer games at all. A short film idea was born.
Would they be OK, or would they go mad, binge on donuts, bang their head against the wall or start spouting jibberish?
The intrepid camera operator filmed all of the madness, even including an extreme close up and a fake death!
And now the edit ...
The footage all captured, the group gathered round to take it in turns to edit the film together. We all agreed that the montage element of the film would benefit from some suitable music, so we played through a few choices on the iPad until we found the perfect track. After some delicate trimming of clips and positioning the music to start at the right point, we sat back and to enjoy our afternoon's work ...
What are we looking forward to?
This was the question we asked ourselves at the start of the session. It could be eating a muffin, but be careful you don't eat it too fast! Going away in a caravan would be nice, but would it be sunny or snowing? Going to meet Burt the pony is always fun, not least because he has a splendid moustache, which is quite rare for a pony. Getting your nails done with a Christmas theme is fun, but just how long after Christmas do you leave them on? Could any of these things be an inspiration for a spot of filmmaking this afternoon?
For even more inspiration, the magical box of wigs came out, and soon we had a queen resplendent in crown and gown and with delightful pink hair. This queen was very busy with a ice castle to build and her loyal subjects to command, and she was happy to tell a behind the scenes documentary all about it. Building the ice castle did need some planning though, so pencil and paper were brandished and the castle, trees, sky and also many snowflakes were designed and built, as well a little model of the queen herself.
Animating the queen
The snowflakes were added to the background, the ice castle built and then the set was ready. The scene was set for the queen's entrance and everyone was wondering what she would do?
What does the queen do when she is in front of her castle? Well she walks, she bows of course, because that's what queens do, and then she walks off but, being exhausted with all of her queenly duties, she falls over backwards. Oh dear!
A spot of filmmaking
We had enough time to squeeze in a spot of filmmaking after the story creation, so we had a think about something in our lives that was funny or strange or a little bit crazy. After we had all shared our mini-stories, we practised being a film crew and taking different roles like camera operator, director and actor, and then we were ready to create our mini-film. For those that were happy to, we told our mini-stories to camera and then decided which if any we could recreate. One of the group was delighted when it turned out he was going to have to wear a pick wig, tiara and glasses to play the part ...
Four new young people this week, four more talented potential filmmakers in a room at the start of the session. We started with a quick round the table memory game where we discovered what everyone's name was but also what item they would take on a trip to Mars. I think with a cat, lipstick, chocolate, an apple, a book and a few other choice items our trip was going to be a success. We then found out what kind of film genres everyone knew and liked, and jumped straight into story making with the Object, Action, Emotion, Genre word generation game.
I THINK WE COULD MAKE THESE FILMS ...
Through the magic of stop-motion animation, we could bring these stories to life ... all we need is some play-doh, some coloured paper, scissors and an iPad. Wait! We've got those things - let's get to work ...
The end of the session came all too quickly for our budding animators. So much so that one of them returned the next day to continue the fine work. Fantastic!
Four more enthusiastic and willing young people at the film making session this week, including one of our stars from last week's filming. After getting to know each other through a fun memory game, we jumped right into thinking about the elements of making a film from start to finish by trying to identify the correct order of 15 different aspects of the film making process. If a feature film takes years to make, and we only have about an hour and a half, can we still make a film? Of course we can!
Another day, another bunch of fabulous young people. Today we thought 'Let's get straight into making a film - what could it be about?'
There was plenty of talk about Batman and Robin, Catwoman and The Joker before we started talking about the best class in the school, which according to one young person was SCIENCE.
Q: What do you do in Science?
A: Make potions.
Q: What kind of potion would you make?
A: A love potion
A film idea was born ...
WE'VE GOT AN IDEA - WHAT NEXT?
So the idea, without giving too much away, was that a young science student is busy in science class one day making a very special love potion because, well, who wouldn't make a love potion if they could. At least that's what potion they thought they were making. You know how easy it is for potions to go wrong, don't you ...
ARE YOU READY TO FILM?
Your storyboard can act as the shot list, or you can write them down as well in a list like this ...
SHOT 1: Wide Shot - Just a normal day in Science Class
SHOT 2: Close up - Making the potion
SHOT 3: Mid Shot - Says to teacher "None of your Beeswax"
SHOT 4: Close Up - Drinking the potion
SHOT 5: Mid Shot - Exclaims out loud "Has it worked?" - then disappears
Now the story, storyboard and shot list are ready, we need to work out who is doing what. Our group today nicely split into one actor and two crew people, who could then take it in turns to be Director and Camera Operator. After a quick HOW TO BE A CREW practice, we were ready to go ...
FINISHED FILMING - WHAT NEXT?
Why editing of course. We took it in turns to edit out all the bits of footage that weren't needed [people saying ACTION! CUT! etc] until just the very best bits of action were left and then pressed play so we could sit back and watch the masterpiece unfold ...
The first and most important thing to do is meet each other, chat and relax so that we all know that film making is a fun experience for all! Relaxation achieved, we dived right into writing Hollywood blockbusters after briefly sharing our favourite genres and films ...
Title: SOLE MATES
Words: CHATTING, HAPPY, SHOES, ROMANTIC COMEDY
Miss Whittingdon is a shoe model, and has the best feet in the industry. her favourite shoes are an immaculate pair of pink high heels. Pete is a bit scruffy, and has scruffy trainers. Quite surprisingly therefore, Pete works in a shoe shop. One day, Miss Whittingdon comes into Pete's shop to buy shoes. She buys shoes a lot, but this is the first time she has been to Pete's shoe shop. Miss Whittingdon orders Pete around getting her this pair of shoes and that pair of shoes. Pete doesn't mind. Miss Whittingdon barely notices Pete, buys her shoes and leaves. As fate would have it, their paths cross again at the local swimming pool that summer. The way the swimming pool worked was that you had to leave your shoes in a line together before you went poolside. By chance, Miss Whittingdon's pink high heels and Pete's scruffy trainers found themselves next to each other in the line. So whilst their owners were off swimming, the shoes, as shoes do when they find themselves next to each other in a line, started chatting, and you all know what happens when shoes start chatting ... they fall in love of course! Meanwhile, in the pool, Miss Whittingdon was tip toeing along the side [which is how she walked now as she was so used to wearing high heels]. Now tip toeing around a pool isn't the wisest thing to do, and on a particularly slippy tile, she slipped. "Ouch" exclaimed Miss Whittingdon, as it hurt. Pete, nearby, came to her rescue immediately. She wasn't hurt badly at all, and Pete told her nicely to stop exaggerating, but Miss Whittingdon's sense of drama prevailed and she pronounced Pete "A Hero" for saving her. The thing to do when some saves you is to buy them a coffee, or a tea, depending on their preference, and so that is what Miss Whittingdon did. As they sat opposite each other amidst enjoyable conversation, underneath the table their shoes moved towards each other and gently touched, and for anyone who knows anything about shoes, that's as good as a kiss.
Title: THE KILLER HAIRBRUSH
Words: HAIRBRUSH, RUNNING, CONTENT, SCIENCE FICTION
Nighttime in a misty park, the leaves rustle in the wind gently and then fall silent. From nowhere an usually large gust blows up and carries the leaves in all directions, and the sound of feet running fast suddenly breaks the calm. it is not a sedentary night time jogger, this is a sprint. Strangely for a runner, they have a hairbrush in one of their hands, like a strange baton in a relay race. The pace is so fast, the runner is quickly our of the park and out of site.
FLASH FORWARD 100 YEARS
The world is in crisis. According to reports, the world is coming to and end very soon and it's all down to a space probe that was sent into the sun. The probe, malfunctioned, and the sun is now exploding, which is generally thought to be very bad news for Earth and the people there. In a capsule we see the runner from the park momentarily light up and then vanish. Vanish from space, and from time.
FLASH BACK 100 YEARS
Even a scientist brushes their hair. Maybe not Albert Einstein, but this particular scientist definitely did brush their hair, every morning, without fail. It was going to be a problem this morning though, as the hairbrush was missing, and was, as far as the scientist could see, literally nowhere to be found. And so the scientist found themselves leaving their house without brushing their hair, and with their hair looking particularly messy, as it was the kind of hair that really needed brushing. The first steps out of the door were OK, but then, very quickly, people began to stare. At the hair. The scientist didn't like staring. It made them feels insecure, and with the feeling of insecurity rising, they went back into the house to continue the search for the hairbrush, and search that would last all day and ultimately prove fruitless. Now we've all heard of the butterfly effect, and we know about dominoes when we stand them on end in a line and then knock the first one over. Observe. The scientist lost their job for not turning up. Another scientist was given the job instead. Now jealous, the unemployed scientist vowed revenge, turning up outside the new scientist's house one morning. Now this happened to be a very important morning, as it was the launch of a space probe to the sun which the scientist had been leading on and had exclaimed, the very day before, ready to go. As it turned out, it wasn't ready to go, as the scientist had forgotten one very important thing, and, having realised this in the bath the night before, was on the way to work that day to fix it before the launch. The unemployed scientist, unaware of this series of events, went through with their dastardly murder plan.
The space probe to the sun went off that day because, even though everyone was very sad at the murder of their scientist friend, there was no reason not to launch the probe. And so it launched, and when it reached the sun, it's little problem which would have been fixed of the scientist hadn't been murdered, became a big problem. It caused the sun to explode.
Meanwhile, what of our time traveling runner. Arriving at the scientist's house the morning of the now infamous hairbrush incident, they knock quickly on the door just after the scientist has disappeared back inside to resume the search for the missing hairbrush. "Yes" the scientist barks sharply after opening the door. "I've got a hairbrush for you" says the runner, saying it in a manner as if they were implying that this little gift offer could save the world. "I don't use other people's brushes" yelled the scientist, a little bit more harshly than the situation required, and slammed the door. The runner stood there, hairbrush in hand, knowing that in 100 years the world would end.