Thursday, 4 June 2015


Every Saturday I teach just over 100 kids how to make movies at the Pauline Quirk Academy. They're split into three age groups, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 18, over two different academies, morning and afternoon.

We are now at the stage where the kids have to make a short film. Some weeks ago we started a process of all of them coming up with a short film idea. We then worked on each and they all voted for their favourite top three, and from there down to one script that we would actually make.

As a rule of thumb  one page of script is approximately one minute of film, and usually on a 10hour day shoot you can achieve about 3 minutes worth of finished movie. Well, these kids have only three hours to shoot their whole film!

So far we've made two films with the middle age group, and this Saturday it's the turn of the youngest. I'm confident that they'll manage it, with a little help perhaps. What I'm most worried about is the older, teenage group. Their ideas are great, but complicated, and as the weeks have gone by they've added more and more and we're heading towards an epic of Ben Hur proportions at the moment. It's possible we might not get their films completed, but there's a lesson in that.

Their imaginations are amazing, right from the youngest 6 year-olds all the way up to 18. Though as they get older they are less willing to take risks. Two of the films have a kissing scene, and it has been highly entertaining to watch those faced with this daunting task. Did someone say embarrassed!?

In a months time we'll break for a month for summer, but when we return they'll all be working toward more seriously involved films that we intend to enter into festivals. I know they can do it, they just have to believe it themselves. Maybe one of their films will make it to DVD!

Speaking of which, my own feature-length documentary Sleepless til Seattle went on sale recently on Amazon. In the hope of improving sales, yesterday it received a major push and I've spent most of today packaging up 25 DVDs for the USA, UK, Netherlands, Italy and Australia!  There's a couple more to go out but I've run out of packaging!

Be careful what you wish for!

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