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Filmmaking for Kids, Part 1

By Mary Pride
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #74, 2007.

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Mary Pride

Film Academy header

Reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, move over! Today's kids are discovering three more "R"s: recording, revising, and replaying.

Two decades ago, homeschool pioneer Gregg Harris recommended that homeschoolers teach their kids how to do visual presentations. With the technology of the times in mind, he was talking about flipping large pages on an easel.

A decade later, visionary homeschool writers began talking about teaching kids to use brand-new tools such as spreadsheets and Microsoft Powerpoint.

Welcome to the new millennium! With digital camcorders now selling online for under $130, and no need to buy film or media (just connect to your computer's USB port and download), the tools of beginning filmmaking are now in range for most middle-class families.

When it's time to move up, the bigger and better models still fall into the "hobby purchase budget" range. And even the software has now become affordable, with beginning editing tools now included on newer computers as a matter of course.

Phillips girl with film camera
Phillips girl with film camera
With interest in amateur filmmaking at an all-time high, new ways to learn these skills have opened up. For example, this year on October 25-27 the fourth annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival will take place. It includes a competition (with cash prizes for some of the best films!), and is preceded by a Film Academy (see chart on page 19).

In addition, an increasing number of summer camps now offer courses in various aspects of filmmaking (both digital and traditional), acting, editing, scriptwriting, directing, and other skills necessary to actually pursue this as a career.

Plus, some incredible self-study resources now are available, as well as programs that pair a student with a professional mentor. (More about these in next issue!)

For the moment, we've assembled a chart of some of the most notable camps and academies that teach filmmaking to youngsters and teens on page 19. And if you turn the page, you'll see our daughter's experience with one such camp. Lights, camera, action!

View attached table of film camps

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