None of which is Commandment, so take them for what they are: a way to group and generalize the ten student productions I saw last night at the Schaumburg Screen Test Student Fest.
CELEBRATE I think is a must and celebrate we did. The performing arts center NEVER allows food and drink in its theater except for the popcorn and soda it sells during the fest. The student film makers also got to introduce their work and answer questions after it showed. A great way to share! You may not always be able to share with the community at large, but don’t be shy when you think your students’ projects warrant it. See the great coverage in our local paper.
CREATIVITY The works loosely fell into comedy, experimental and drama. Only two were under the 3 minute limit I strongly suggest for class projects. That said, they all kept us engaged with strong stories that were supported with great shot selection. One drew a clever analogy between a school without mirrors and how we are reflected in our friends. Two other students sent cameras and school t-shirts around the world asking teenagers to record their thoughts on peace. And another got all their footage using a digital still camera because they didn’t have an actual camcorder.
CHARACTER I always encourage teachers to not focus on their students’ acting beyond basic public speaking and good preparation. Last night’s casts were very poised and many had performed in their schools’ productions. One young student interacted amazingly well with a Burger King bobble head. His hilarious reactions along with great shot composition and editing made the innocuous toy come alive and even seem sinister.
COLOR Students made good use of black and white and other color manipulations for dream sequences and memory flashbacks. The most striking use, however, was a story about the lives of three runners preparing for a big race. The most focused (almost fanatical) and dedicated runner always had a white shirt on. The least focused, the “dark” character, wore black. And the third one, who best balanced training and school work, wore gray shirts and sweatsuits. A few more points for creativity – after shooting two runners practicing outdoors, a big snowstorm hit our area and there was no chance of the snow melting anytime before the deadline. So, the third runner had to do all his working out on a treadmill and with weights – indoors.
Next year’s fest promises to be even bigger, spanning two nights. The first will be the standard viewing evening and the second will be a celebrity workshop. The celebrity’s identity is still a secret, though…