Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Spark of genius

Over the past six weeks I have been teaching film making to a small group of 13 year old boys at my local Boys’ Brigade company, and was pleasantly surprised at their eagerness.

About fifteen years I used to run the BB company, the 25th Edinburgh, and I had been involved for over seventeen years. During the latter ten years I would write a comedy show for their end of year presentation, the parents night. Not necessarily original material, mostly borrowing from the greats of Peter Cook and Monty Python.

The age range of the boys started from as young as 11 and all the way up to 18. It always amazed me that at age 11 every boy would do anything possible not to participate in the show in a lead role. However, let a few years pass and by the time they were 16 or older they were literally fighting each other over the parts! Overall the entire idea was to build their confidence in being able to speak in front of an audience. This was achieved in spades, as they say and many I’m sure have benefited in this boost to their confidence. Maybe some have even gone on to a stage or screen career.

So these past six weeks were a return to a similar idea, and though fifteen years have passed the boys are no different now than they were then, apart from maybe a little more bold. What had changed of course was their knowledge and available references to events past. For instance none of them knew very much at all about princess Diana, and 9/11 was a subject they were a little vague on.

Each week I introduced them to another piece of knowledge in the process of film making. We started by watching a few film clips, making sure they understood the structure of story telling, then went on to develop characters and only three weeks later they were asked to come up with a two-minute story.

Their imagination knew no bounds, to put it politely, but through the inevitable innuendo and gore-ridden ideas, one supernatural story came forward. I was impressed. It had a beginning, middle and end and four very identifiable characters.

Last Saturday, much to their surprise, having gathered them together, I provided them with a small film crew for four hours in order that they could act in, and film their story. The boy who had created the idea for the film directed it and the other boys took turns in either acting a part, filming or recording sound.

The end result, though no Miramax production, is quite fun, and with a few additional editing tricks they have a nice little production I’m sure they will want to show off.

As the production came to an end I did stop to wonder if at some distant time in the future, one or more of the boys would go on to become a successful film maker, the spark of genius being ignited in these past few weeks.

1 comment:

velocity-m said...

So that's what you've been up to!

What a treat for the kids to get to work with a professional on something like this. I think you might be right about having sparked something in them for future creativity.