Thoughts from Student Filmmakers…
"Filmmaking has helped me understand what art is. I know how to make films and storyboards. My friends and I have made a film about cooking. Three of them didn't know how to cook or film, but by the time we practiced they knew two more things about art. I love film-making. “-Shania, 4th grader
"I love filmmaking because it helps me learn about technology. I recommend people to join up to make films."-Arianna, 4th grader
"I think it sort of changed my life because when I get older I already am going to have a history with films as I become a game designer; filmmaking ROCKS!"-Larry, 4th grader
"I really like filmmaking because I want to make movies in the future, but before I got in film-making I didn't know how to make films, but now I'm a film expert."-Sean, 4th grader
"I like filmmaking. It's cool. I think that I might make films every year (if they have it)."-Jayson, 4th grader
Why make films with students?
There are many reasons why filmmaking is a positive and engaging experience for students. I have facilitated after school filmmaking workshops with my third and fourth grade students for the past two years. All students I have made films with are committed, captivated and absorbed throughout the process. Every day of filmmaking they are excited for our sessions to begin. They don't want to leave when it is time to go, they want to work on their films as much as possible, they want to show people what they are creating, and they will come to school on filmmaking days so they won't miss filmmaking!
My students have embraced filmmaking! They are not only learning how to use technology, but they are using it to tell their stories, and share their perspective with others. Through animation and digital film they are being creative, working collaboratively, becoming stronger writers, and building self-confidence. For some students it is keeping them motivated and focused more in school. They are engaged and actively pursuing learning as they create their own films. As I've worked with students I have seen them become independent in using the digital video camera, tripod, and film-editing software.
How to get started…
Making films with your students requires only a few resources and a little time to familiarize yourself with film-editing software. My favorites (and the ones I know about…) are Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story 3 for Windows. Both are free from Microsoft and can be downloaded from their website. Your computer needs to have Windows Media Player installed for the programs to work! Photo Story 3 allows students to import digital photographs into the program and add movement, words and audio to create a film. It is very easy for students to use, and they love adding their voice and music to their pictures. I also recommend using larger picture files, so that your final film project will look sharp when you watch it on a larger screen. Windows Movie Maker is a program that allows you to create digital films. After capturing film on a digital video camera, and transferring it to Movie Maker the clips can be edited and placed on a storyboard to create the film. Working on the storyboard special effects, transitions and music can be added. Students can also import images (like drawings done with Microsoft Paint) to create animated films.