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This summer, families are looking for fun things to do right at home: spattering paint for art projects, scouring recipe books for creative treats, and even trying out eccentric popcorn toppings to enliven family movie time.
Everyone loves to watch a good movie. But, parents this summer can help their kids make a movie of their own – one they’ll be proud to share.
Most families have access to smartphones, tablets and digital cameras that capture high-quality video, and today’s digital editing tools are both powerful and easy to use.
Making a short movie can be a great project for families to work on together. There’s a lot to consider when envisioning and creating a movie. These six steps will help you get rolling (spend as much time in each step as you choose):
1. Decide on your story: First think about a general theme, such as fantasy, dinosaurs, sports, comedy or mystery.
Then write down the answers to these questions: What will happen in your story? What problem must be solved? How will that happen? What will happen at the end of your movie?
2. Create your characters – This great fun, especially for those who like to work with their hands and get creative. Kids can:
• Create paper figures and attach arms and legs that move.
• Fashion clay models or papier-mâché figures or toys.
• Play the characters themselves, dressed in costumes or paper masks.
• Cast the movie with plastic toys: farm or jungle animals, dinosaurs or superhero figures (these might have ready-made “sets” if you have play mats with printed roads, buildings, farms or other scenes).
3. Write and rehearse a script – Ask yourself: Who is telling the story? How do the characters interact in each scene? How do they express themselves? Write some dialogue for the characters and practice each scene (capturing “bloopers” is the most fun of all).
4. Consider lighting, music and sound effects – Is it a dark and dreary day? You could prerecord a scream or a growl (or have fun doing this on cue).
If children play instruments, work their music into the story, such as tapping a drum slowly to mimic a heartbeat, or playing a violin ever more rapidly to add excitement.
5. Shooting and editing the movie – Use digital devices or cameras to capture the video.
Edit the shots, and add music and sound effects, using a free or low-cost video-editing program.
Here are a few highly rated editing apps to try out:
• Apple iMovie – for their mobile devices and desktop computers – free.
• Boinx iStopmotion – for stop-motion style movies; Apple only – modestly priced.
• Microsoft Windows Movie Maker – for Windows computers only – free.
• Openshot – For Windows, Apple and Linux platforms – free.
• WonderShare FilmoraGo – Free for mobile devices; but Windows and Apple desktop versions require purchase.
6. Screen or Share the movie – How will you show the movie? Perhaps start with a private screening for the junior movie makers? Then, make popcorn and have a family premiere?
Or share it with grandparents, friends, teachers and others via computer? After all, a movie must be shown to an audience to tell its story!
Is your family ready to create its first movie? As you can tell, you are only limited by your imagination!
Lights, Camera, Action!