I am passionate about filmmaking and have run numerous after school film clubs and workshops on filmmaking in the primary school. My most recent film, ROBOT, was made over four months during weekly after school sessions with a group of Grade 5 children (age 10/11) in their last term of primary school. The story follows Sanya, a dreamy creative student, as she contends with school bullies, odd teachers and an unwanted guest from outer-space! The film was screened to the whole school and made available on DVDs
ROBOT, Blog extract
By take 8 of the very first shot, it had dawned on me just how much work making this film would involve. Scanning through the footage of that first shoot later that evening revealed that after about an hour of production my cast, crew and I had managed to film one entrance through a door and one line of dialogue!
The aim was to make a complete short film by using the proper conventions of filmmaking. I recruited five students as crew, including boom/sound recorder, clapperboard, lighting and a production assistant. Every Tuesday afternoon before after school activities were due to start, I’d rush to get the set of that particular day’s shoot prepared, get all the equipment ready and then collect the students involved from their classrooms.
As we had a little over an hour each week, filming was frenetic to say the least. Initially it was very slow going as the crew got used to their jobs and the cast got used to their roles in the drama. I was well aware I was asking a lot of the children; from the actors who did take after take, to those of the crew on hand to move props. Filmmaking is a repetitive business and patience was tested!
Over the course of the production, the actors and crew became exceptionally efficient and on average we managed to turn an hour of production time into a minute of movie. The support I received from the school was incredible. Over fifty students and members of staff were involved. From my fellow teacher friends who acted, recorded radio announcements or stayed late after school, to the maintenance and admin staff that made rooms available, provided resources and changed bus pick up times. The parents of the children involved were really flexible and dealt with my chopping and changing, as did the class teachers of the students involved. But the biggest thanks of course goes to the children who worked ridiculously hard for the hours it took to finish the filming.
TRAPPED February 2013
Trapped was the result of a story written by three Grade 7 students and the one of the first films from the Secondary school Media Studio. It was filmed and edited over the course of six weekly sessions before being screened to the whole school. The Principal Mike Hirsch plays himself