The Four C’s

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…


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  1. Maryann Molishus said:

    Thanks for all you share on your blog. My second graders are really enjoying filmmaking this year, as am I. We have more equipment this year, and I am better organized to set up video projects (although there is definitely room for improvement!)I return to your site often for refreshers and to see what is new. I’m not sure if we will be able to enter any contests this year, as I promised myself we would, but who knows!! Or, I might do a test-run this year with our own mini-class contest. I tried to watch the Young Scientist webinar (tech. difficulties and district blocked video), to get some ideas about a video challenge (class is too young to enter science challenge). Plus, I’m looking through what you have saved here. I am thinking “small” as you mentioned above in suggesting videos that are three minutes or less. Keep the ideas, suggestions, and links coming!! It is a great help!!!!!

  2. Joe Brennan said:

    Always good to hear someone is “out there” listening and finding a use for my occasional observations. Use my postings on competitions as ideas for what you can do with your kids. When you find yourself saying “we could do that” as you peruse winners and finalists, then it’s time to jump in.

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