Before the session today there was a meeting with the other UK participants on this project to feedback on progress. A number had brought examples of their pupils’ first stab at filming. It was an impressive collection of shots, camera angles and narrative sequencing, especially considering they are all primary. One of the group suggested creating a blog so that this work can be shared. The teachers were keen to link the film skills being learnt to creative writing skills and vice versa. Mark pointed out the value of the correlation between the processes of writing compared with those of filming/editing in the sense that shots/sequences could be perceived as words/sentences and scenes as paragraphs etc.
Emma pointed out the advantages of not including dialogue for these exercises, nor for the final film … it makes the actors concentrate on acting, thinking and feeling rather than delivering and remembering their lines. It also means more time is spent on film-making rather than scripting skills.
They also had the opportunity to ask a ‘panel’ of London Nautical boys some questions about their experiences as ‘veteran’ attendees over the past 2 years, some of whom had been to Paris for the 2010 screenings. The boys recounted how their film-making skills have developed as well as their story telling skills in general, which was interesting for the teachers who wanted to know if the course had improved other areas of their school work. Rafa, for example, mentioned how, in the past, he had found it difficult to write a story in the first person, because it seemed to him like he was lying, whereas the film course has helped him realise that imagining oneself in another person’s shoes is fairly standard and a useful skill.
Milo and Medhi both commented on the importance of keeping stories simple from the point of view of what’s practically possible to achieve and also from the point of view of appreciating the impact of audiovisual suggestion through film and embellishing the moment. They seem to have fully taken on board the significance of economic hiding and showing, as indicated in the last post.
All the boys then go off to Clapham Common to begin filming. It’s quite cold and wet but we get an impressive amount of the required shots. The story: Peter – the lead – is a bit of a sad loner who wishes he could ‘belong with’ a group of boys he sees playing football in the park. As the boys kick the ball around we see Josh emerging as something of an Alpha male to Peter’s ‘small man’.
Emma allocates the boys different jobs for each of the several shots that were set up and keeps up a brisk pace eg. ‘cable basher’, boom/sound operator, umbrella holder, camera bag holder, tripod operator, director, actors, props manager. Milo, as director on one of the shots is given the task of collecting ‘dirty’ footage, that is, being in amongst the footballers moving at low level whilst they’re messing around with the ball. Peter, the lonely lead, is seen in the distance sitting on a bench in quiet contemplation. It seems facile to say it but I’m struck by the hive of activity and levels of engagement behind the camera to deliver these shots.