I started my new job on Monday. It involves teaching 11 to 17 year-olds how to create a movie from script-writing and storyboarding to burning the final DVD and creating a fancy package for that DVD to reside in.
In some ways teaching a movie making camp is a lot easier than you might expect. Basically you just tell the kids the basic structure of a movie and tell them to get at it. The hardest part is keeping them on track, writing their scripts or what have you and not playing flash based Internet games all day. It gets progressively easier the farther away from the classroom they are. Once they are out filming you can practically leave them on their own.
You can’t actually leave them on their own though. Oh no. Oh no, no, no.
For one thing, there are these people that work at the University. I use the term work loosely. Basically they show up in the morning, drink some coffee, visit with their friends in the office, and then look for ways of disrupting any movie making from happening on campus.
We were just outside the residence area of the University (the residence is built right into the building), when we became aware of our first complaint. All of a sudden a lone security guard showed up and asked us what was going on. I looked up at the kids filming their mob movie each armed to the teeth with a massive armada of toy guns. Flashbacks of the Medicine Hat Police cocking their shotgun and yelling at me to hit the ground flew through my head. (I’ll share that story some other time).
Nevertheless a little confidence can take you a long way. “Just filming a movie for our New Media Movie Making Camp,” I explained with a smile. I turned away from the guard and instructed the kids to get ready for their next scene.
He just stood there. I asked him if he needed anything else. He repeated back to me who we were trying to get the story straight so he could report back to his supervisor. I could tell he didn’t have the killer instinct that security guards usually exhibit upon receiving their walkie-talkie’s on the first day. Furthermore I was happily surprised that despite his obvious desire to tell us we were doing something wrong, he wasn’t able to compose a reason why the kids’ toy guns posed a security risk.
Later that day, an acquaintance of ours, that works at the University, came to tell us what a ruckus we were causing around campus. Apparently there had been several complaints about our kids and one specifically about their use of guns. But seeing as security didn’t do anything about it, I’m guessing that it was one of the rare occasions when common-sense trumped power mongering and know-it-all attitudes.
We wondered what we could do to prevent any further problems. That same friend suggested (perhaps sarcastically) that we create a couple of signs explaining that the 11 to 17 years olds holding a video camera and pointing caps guns at each other were just taking part in a University sponsored camp and that their weapons are only “props”. She also added to keep up the good work because the disruptions were likely an indication that the kids were having a good time, and besides — they made her day more interesting.