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Practical Homeschooling® :

Another Kind of Summer Camp

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

Send your children to ID Tech Camp to have fun and learn about filmmaking.
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Ever anxious to tell our readers about new opportunities, we inveigled the folks at ID Tech Camp into letting our 14-year-old daughter, Madeleine, attend their summer film camp at Washington University in St. Louis and write the review below.

We picked ID Tech Camp because (1) they had a camp in our town (St Louis) and (2) they are the largest computer camp provider.

Madeleine signing in With a huge number of locations and dates, not to mention courses in lots of computer-related topics that interest kids, perhaps an ID Tech Camp is in your child's future!

From Madeleine's Diary

Day One: I am here at the first day of film school. The instructors are waiting at the table to sign us in and give us our t-shirts.

The day was full of fun! I feel completely fatigued as I write this entry.

First we got to have a tour of the place. The guides showed us what areas we were going to use, and I introduced myself to the most interesting fellows I ever met. We had dinner, and after that we played games and did a couple of necessary drills (tornado drills, fire drills, that sort of thing).

I have a whole room to myself, with its own bathroom, including a shower.

This evening was low key. We just got to know each other better, played pool, and watched TV.

Day Two: The first thing our film crew did was to pick a story line. As it turns out, I am going to be trailing a piece of gum all around campus, and then end up with it again. The plot is all about gum, and I'm not saying any more! The instructors told me it was unusual for a group to pick a topic as quickly as we did.

After that we got some props-necessary items for the movie-and picked out a staff. One of us is the Director, another is the Co-Director. A number of people will be filming individual scenes, while other people act in those scenes. Then finally a couple of us will edit the final production.

Next we were off to pick locations where we will film the scenes. (All the locations will be on this campus.)

This evening we played board and card games, such as Apples to Apples and chess. I beat everyone in chess!

Day Three: This has been one peachy day! Everybody took turns filming scenes, including me. We filmed the whole movie in a day! I made a few more friends and acquaintances. Now I know everybody here.

Kids with camera For the evening activities, I played "Charades" and (later on), pool. Having never played pool before, it was great that one of the other students was willing to teach me. Now I'm eating a box of trail mix and getting ready to sleep.

Day Four: Today I learned how to use a FireWire to transfer the digital film to a computer and I edited the one scene for which I had been chosen as the editor. In the afternoon we had a videogame tournament. I didn't win, but I didn't get last place, either, which was nice, since I was the only female player. In the evening we had a karaoke fest and played Dance, Dance Revolution.

Girl with computer Day Five: Today we put our movie together on the computer. One of the students, Nick, did the titles. One of the girls did the soundtrack music. They had finished their scenes yesterday, so they had extra time to do these last details.

In the afternoon, our families arrived to see our work. This is called the "Family Showcase." They were shown to a room full of computers and fancy editing gizmos where we had been working. One at a time, they looked over our shoulders and saw the finished movie. Everyone laughed a lot, but in a good way, since the movie was a comedy! There was a raffle, where we cashed in our "good conduct" tickets to win prizes. I got a mouse pad and a cap, among other things. Then the instructors called us up to get our graduation certificates. We also each got a copy of our movie on DVD to take home with us.

Final Thoughts

I feel like a learned a lot about changing scenes, camera angles, lighting, and other topics I had never considered before. This will help me, the next time I make a movie. (Assuming my parents get me a digital videocamera.)

I have made so many friends here! We exchanged email addresses, and I'm sure we'll be writing each other in the future. The instructors were all very friendly and helpful. They were a lot of fun to be around, but knew when to put their foot down to keep us out of trouble.

I would definitely recommend ID Tech Camp to anyone whose parents can afford it.

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