Making movies just like Daddy
My older son watched the movie Super 8 today.
It features a young filmmaker corralling his friends into making movies with him.
I found the young filmmakers adorable. My son found them enchanting, and asked all kinds of questions about filming as the movie progressed. He knew his dad “makes dogs talk” for film, but the specifics weren’t too clear to him.
He seemed fascinated by filmmaking, so I asked if he wanted to make a movie of his own.
Did he ever!
At first, I recorded when he told me to start.
I’m not totally sure what the story was. I’m not totally sure he knew what the story was, but I was delighted all the same.
He and his brother laughed when they watched the first video. Li’l D asked to make a second. I said that’d be fine We briefly discussed plot, and dialogue, and beginnings-middles-ends.
Still, his second video was the first with different characters and without a piano.
After the third, I suggested we make a very short video with a beginning, a middle and an end. We talked about what these things are. We talked about scripts.
I suggested a trip to the zoo. He suggested aliens should attack a zoo. I explained how we could set that up so he’d know when the villains should arrive.
TAKE 1: His dad called “action.” My ponies delivered their performance as promised until the aliens arrived and began … break-dancing around them? Mother and daughter pony walked around in circles, with the daughter saying, “I don’t know what’s happening here, Mommy!”
TAKE 2: Before we began filming, I suggested he try some dialogue, or even a little maniacal laughter so people watching the video would understand they were watching a villainous takedown. The aliens actually attacked the ponies and we were doing pretty well, until Li’l D leaned into frame and shouted, “Fifteen!” His dad stopped filming and said, “It’s my job to tell you when the scene is done!”
TAKE 3: The aliens snarled and shook in the ponies’ vicinity. I interrupted filming with sterner-sounding than expected instruction, “No! They’re not attacking the ponies! They have to attack the ponies!”
(I am crying from laughter as I type this. This was so much fun!)
TAKE 4: The little dude did great. I flubbed this take with an accidental pony-toss. Oops.
TAKE 5: Li’l D brought it all together. We were done for the day.
Li’l D and I watched the five takes back to back. He beamed at all the products of his labor. To him, each video was a masterpiece. “Will people get to watch this on TV?” he asked.
“You’ve got to make a whole lot of movies before you can get one on TV, usually. I could post this on my blog, if you want.”
“Yes! Yes!” he exclaimed, bouncing. After a moment, he added, “I want to make movies like Daddy!”
“You could definitely do that. Start thinking about what you want to film next weekend, okay?”
He rattled off a dozen ideas. Next weekend will tell which wins, or if he’ll even care about films then.
I’ll almost certainly still be giggling at the sweetness of sharing his first five takes.