advice for someone starting?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Ted Shoemaker, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. Hello,

    My 11-year-old son wants to make movies one day. I've told
    him to start now, on an extremely low budget (the kind of
    budget that an 11-year-old gets every week). With that
    kind of real-world restriction in mind, do you have any
    advice for a kid who wants to start?

    No spam please.


    Ted Shoemaker
    Ted Shoemaker, Aug 11, 2003
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  2. Ted Shoemaker

    Tom Leylan Guest

    Hi Ted: The difficult part of answering is your use of the term "make
    movies" as it is a very general term.

    We don't know if he has a video camera at his disposal or a computer or NLE
    software or any of that stuff. So I'll suggest that he begin by reading
    about two aspects of filmmaking. First, the process as a whole so he
    understands what it takes. Everybody isn't the director. Somebody has to
    write the dialog, somebody has to edit the results and somebody has to pay
    for it. :) And second a book on visual composition.

    If he wants to start inexpensively he should begin with a still camera and
    learn the basics of composing a shot. Lighting, focus, framing. He can
    create a small film from nothing more than a few dozen stills digitized or
    taken with a digital camera. If he can't create a compelling story that way
    there is nothing that suggests that an interesting story will magically
    appear with $3000 more spent on equipment.

    Hope this helps,
    Tom Leylan, Aug 11, 2003
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  3. To keep it simple for someone his age I'd advise him to learn these three
    video making building blocks:
    1-Wide shot: Shows people watching his videos where they are.
    2-Medium shot:Shows the people watching his videos where in his wide shot
    the action will take place.
    3-Close-up: The action and people who tell his story.
    He should learn these building blocks for running the camera:
    1: Hold the camera steady
    2: Learn how to make a level horizon
    3: Hold each shot for about 5 seconds by counting one-and-a-thousand, etc.
    Suggest that when he watches TV, look for and identify the above things.
    Turn him loose with the camera. Let him do his thing. Encourage but don't
    criticize what he does.
    Best regards,
    Craig Scheiner
    Executive Producer
    CPS Associates
    Video Production and Publication
    Craig Scheiner, Aug 11, 2003
  4. Ted Shoemaker

    Seattle Eric Guest

    Madness. My main business is animation, and it's WAY too tedious for
    most 11 year olds.
    Seattle Eric, Aug 12, 2003
  5. Ted Shoemaker

    Geoff Guest

    Stopmotion animation is only as difficult as you want to make it and it
    certainly does not have to be tedious for an 11 year old.

    In fact Lego has released a series of kits endorsed by Steven Spielberg
    called Moviemaker that come with a web cam and framegrabbing software
    marketed to ages 8 and up.

    As I metioned in my last note, there are other inexpensive programs
    available that are simple to use and are better than that available with
    the Lego kits.

    The great thing about stopmotion is that kids can use their own toys
    i.e. action figures dolls, clay whatever, and get quick results. Of
    course you can make your movies progressively complex as you gain skill.

    Many young film makers start with animation. I'm surprised that Seattle
    Eric, whose main business is animation, wouldn't recognize the learning
    potential available in animation.

    Incidentally, my main business is not animation, but I am currently
    creating a stopmotion animation film for NHK television here in Tokyo.


    Geoff, Aug 12, 2003
  6. Learn to tell a good story !!!!!
    Bob Boccaccio, SOC, Aug 12, 2003
  7. Ted Shoemaker

    MSu1049321 Guest

    the photomatic sugggeston (a series of stills from a regular camera) is an
    exceelent start: I have fond memories of re-enacting a Dracula story with my
    bro and sis and an instamatic camera, about 36 years ago... the cartridges only
    had 24 shots, so, including a shot for title and one for credits, we had up to
    20 stills to make our story. With bad takes and camera bobbles, we wound up
    with about 14 good frames, and it was intersting that back then we were doing
    non-linear editing on a desktop... so to speak... by sliding the stills around
    on the top of dad's desk, we could put parts of the story into order in the
    best way. With the cheap (under 40 bucks) digital stills cams you can buy
    today, that can hold up to 200 shots, you could do this up in quite some
    detail, and you can frame them as movie stills for a video storyboard, you
    could import them into something like boederbund kidpix (very cheap) or even
    powerpoint, and add music, voiceover, effects, etc. I would say let the kids
    do this for a summer project, then they will be more prepared for the concepts
    of video editing. This method is the cheapest way to teach good skills and
    habits in storytelling and composition, in a speedy way. Then they can graduate
    to real videos and will have less frustration and better success, because they
    have some fundamentals in story, framing, acting, editing, sound, dialog,
    composition, graphics, lighting, art direction... heck, they could make the
    images into their own comic book and show and tell it at school!

    If you just give them the video camera to start out with, it quickly becomes
    frustrating and they get bored and/or get into big fights while they try to
    figure out all the steps and their order and who should do what... start
    small, haikus before sagas.
    MSu1049321, Aug 13, 2003
  8. Good ideas. Thanks to all who responded.

    Ted Shoemaker
    Ted Shoemaker, Aug 13, 2003
  9. Ted Shoemaker

    Geoff Guest

    And you've nailed it. At a young age the one of the most important
    things is that you have fun while you're learning something.

    Geoff, Aug 14, 2003
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