As kids, most of us wanted to make our own movies – to be directors. We would take a carton, draw it to look like a clapperboard, and yell “cut” whenever we saw something exciting happening. We didn’t have the fancy technology that we had today, which made things difficult.
Now, in the digital era, technology is everywhere – and provided they have the slightest bit of passion and interest for filmmaking, any kid can become a director.
All they need is a little bit of help and guidance from their parents, and they are good to go. Here are some guidelines that will help you put your kid on a plane to Hollywood.
Benefits of Movie Making for Kids
Filmmaking comes with several benefits and opportunities through which they can learn a lot of valuable life lessons. Here is why you should consider raising your kid’s interest in the art of filmmaking.
1. It Improves Their Thinking and Writing Skills
As a film director, your kid will have to do a lot of thinking for the plot and writing for the script.
They need to be able to paint a picture through that script, and then find a way to show it through the video. In this case, telling the story just won’t be enough.
As a filmmaker, your kid will take an idea, convert it into a piece of writing, and then think up a way to communicate that story through the right visuals. This will improve their writing skills, as well as their critical thinking.
2. It Teaches Them Discernment
Images have a lot of power. As a filmmaker, your kid will be able to determine which image or video section has the most power to deliver a certain message.
Sure, we see images and scenes developing in front of us every day but being able to pinpoint the one that sends a message the best will exercise different parts of your kid’s brain.
3. It Lets Them See the Big Picture
When kids create a movie, their mind goes into different scenarios, thinking storylines and situations from a variety of perspectives. Filmmaking encourages your kid to see the bigger picture – to observe multiple possibilities to a certain action.
4. It Improves Their Confidence
Filmmaking often involves a lot of creative work. Children that are very shy can gain a lot of confidence through film work – showing them that there is indeed something they can be very good at.
The youngest filmmakers all probably started like this – with just passion and a lot of nervousness.
Plus, if the child becomes their own actor, the simple fact that they are stepping out of their comfort zone can help give their confidence a boost.
5. It Opens Paths
Children were not able to earn anything or start a career before they reached their teenage years at least. However, thanks to YouTube, TikTok, and other similar platforms, kids can create their own paths in early life.
We have living proof in Ryan Kaji, a 9-year-old who made almost $30 million in 2020 through YouTube videos alone. Home videos can make quite a profitable industry, provided they are used right.
Introducing Various Types of Films to Kids
One thing that you need to remember is that filmmaking is supposed to be fun – which is why it should be a project that children are interested in. With that in mind, if you want their movie to be successful, it needs to be a practical video as well – one that would educate and inspire.
What you need to remember is that this is not your project; it’s theirs. While you can come up with the suggestions, you need to let them make the final decision on their own. This way, they will be able to grow their love for making movies. Here are just a few ideas that you can start with:
Related: If your child loves filmmaking, chances are they will love coding as well! Try these Coding Websites for Kids that offer free and paid coding lessons.
● Video Report
Writing a book report can be very boring, and more often than not, it doesn’t even matter whether they like the book they just read or not. That being said, while book reports are very boring, a video report is often very intriguing – particularly when your kid has fun doing it.
Don’t just assign them a drab report. Instead, you can challenge them to make a video critique or summary of a certain book. Give them extra points for creativity as well.
● Alternate Ending
Children love watching movies and cartoons. They like to watch the plot unfurl until they reach the ending – wondering what it would be like.
Sometimes they love the ending, sometimes they don’t. In the latter case, they may just believe that there’s another ending out there that may be better.
Give them an idea to take one of their favorite movies and create an alternate ending to it.
Does your kid love stories? In that case, you may want to try storytelling as an idea. Teach your little one that every event from their mundane, everyday life can be turned into something interesting – into some captivating short films.
Perhaps your kid watched a butterfly flying from flower to flower. Encourage them to film the butterfly, as well as create a storyline from it.
Filmmaking for kids allows them to pay attention to even the smallest details. It helps them appreciate that even the most insignificant aspects of their lives can be relevant and powerful, as they can be seen through a different perspective.
Interviewing someone can prove to be a great way to hatch up a video, so encourage your child to interview someone they perceive as interesting.
Teach them how to plan out their questions, schedule their interviews and set up the interviewing equipment.
● Product Review
These are very common on the Internet nowadays, especially among influencers. Perhaps you have a daughter who collects Furbies or a boy who just loves toy collections.
Whenever they get something new in their collection, encourage them to create a video review of what they liked and didn’t like.
As beginners, you might not want to push the children into making longer videos right off the bat.
Whether they are using a simple online video cropper or a more professional program such as Vegas, it might take them a bit longer until they get the hang of it.
It’s best that they start their videography journey with some short videos and then get into a longer format.
Equipment for Film Making
After raising your kid’s interest in filmmaking, the next step is to gather the equipment needed for making the videos themselves.
Since your child is just a beginner, you don’t need to break the bank – but you do have to buy some equipment that can shoot in professional quality. Here are some items that you may start with:
Even if you do have the funds for it, try not to get overexcited from the very start and buy the most professional equipment out there. Your kid might just end up losing interest simply because they have no idea how to use those fancy tools.
Get them some simple gadgets that allow them to “break into” the art of filmmaking. There are many filmmaker kits that you may use to get them started. Instead of the smartphone, you may even get them an affordable digital camera with a filming feature.
Kiddo Director Alert: How to Make a Film
When making a film, there are certain steps that a young movie director needs to follow. So, here is how they should start on their first movie.
1. Write a Scenario
For a movie to be catchy and qualitative, it requires a script. This will introduce the viewer to the plotline. It will also trigger the kid’s imagination as they think up different scenarios and alternate endings.
2. Draw a Storyboard
Every movie needs to have a storyboard. While the scenario is illustrated with words, the storyboard will use pictures broken down into panels to represent how the movie will go down.
Your child does not have to be a master drawer to make this part happen. It can just be some stick figures of how the characters are supposed to be like, or how the landscape should look.
At this point, filming should be fun and games, so don’t try to be tough on them if the drawing is not the most professional one.
3. Gather the Actors
Every movie will need actors. Sure, they can go the classic way when they are their own characters – but depending on the type of video and the plot, they may need some extra characters.
Call out to their friends, and perhaps even bring in pets for acting. This way, they should be able to film a more intricate video.
Video Editing Tips
The editing of a video is likely one of the most important parts of shooting a movie. It brings the focus even more on the character – correcting all the possible glitches that might be out there.
There are various software tools that are very easy to use such as iMovie (for Apple devices), Movie Maker (for Windows devices) or Vimeo (online).
Efficient use of movie video editing for kids can bring out the potential of every home movie, even if you filmed everything with something as simple as a smartphone.
To make the movie even better, here are some pre-editing and editing tips that you may want to keep in mind.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Camcorder
Every camcorder is different, so you may want to familiarize yourself with it before shooting anything fancy.
In order for your video editing to go flawless, you need to make sure everything is well-filmed in the first place.
Read the instructions manual of the camera and watch plenty of tutorials, because there will be nothing better at teaching you how to use the video recorder.
2. Add Appropriate Video Effects
A good video editor will also have a variety of effects, so make sure to use them. You may split, trim, rotate videos, jump-cut, or face-off. However, you might want to refrain from using too many transition effects. The viewers may just end up being close to frustrated with them, so don’t overdo it.
3. Don’t Make Them Too Long
Sure, when you are a hotshot movie director, there’s no problem with making movies that are similar to Lord of the Rings in length. However, when you are just beginning, you might want to stick to short films.
Discard the trivial things and add the best scenes in there. Since many videos end up long and boring, you should make sure yours stays short and attractive.
Throw a Viewing Party
When the movie is over, organize a viewing party. It’s more fun to premiere the movie with a lot of people, particularly since you likely put on a lot of work into it.
The parents are invited, the actors are invited, and even the people who just want to see the movie are invited. Premiere it just like you would premiere an actual movie.
If you have a home cinema, then everything will be much easier. However, you may as well just make the premiere from your living room TV.
You don’t need anything fancy. If meeting up is not possible, there are countless streaming programs online that will allow you to create a room and share your video.
The Bottom Line
Video production is certainly an interest that should be honed as early as possible. Who knows, with the right support and a bit of STEM learning, your kid can become the next Christopher Nolan.
Sure, it might take a lot of work at first, at least until they learn their way around the camera and editing software. But with time, they should be able to get a grasp on it and create some beautiful short films.
Author: Anna Yurovskikh