Thursday, 27 October 2016

Breaking the 4th Wall

With Halloween just around the corner it's time to decorate the house for the inevitable kids party and for them to decide which horrific creation they want to be. As it turns out things are quite tame this year, my 5yr old son wants to be Harry Potter and my 3yr old is happy to follow suit as Hermione.

They both adore dressing up and acting out pretty much every character under the sun, from Marvel & DC superheroes to Star Wars/Trek, Indiana Jones etc - you name it they'll be it! Having said that my son frightens easily and if he sees someone else dressed up (especially if they're wearing a mask) or the slightest sign of peril in a film or cartoon you'll probably find him hiding behind the sofa in the very best Kids vs. Doctor Who tradition.

To help him along I try to break down the mechanisms of film making so that he can see that what he sees on screen is actually all make believe and that monsters/aliens/giant marauding insects aren't real and are in fact actors in suits or computer-generated effects, or in the case of a DevCon event, geeks (not meant as derogatory as I class myself as one!) dressed up in Cosplay heaven (we almost had to leave the recent Plymouth one before we even got in due to an over-friendly Predator)!

We have toyed with stop-motion animation before but after introducing them to Star Trek for the first time we decided to make our own short film. The kids were both involved in deciding on the basic plot and script and we went through the process of rehearsals and different takes. I showed them how scenes weren't always shot in order and how to set up compositions to allow for (extremely basic in this case!) special effects. I didn't involve them in the edit for this one but cut it together quickly so they could watch it as soon as possible, and it was amazing to see their reaction to the finished piece compared to the individual shots they reviewed whilst filming.

And here's the result:

I really do think it was an incredibly worthwhile exercise and has really opened their eyes to becoming participant rather than passive viewers and the more of these we make (of course there will be more...) and the more they get involved with the process I hope the more they will understand about how to read media, which is so important in this day and age.