Slice of Life: Our Own Little Hollywood

(This is part of Slice of Life, a regular writing activity facilitated by Two Writing Teachers. We find small moments to write about. You come write, too, OK?)

Making Robbers on Loose 2 collage

Our video production budget would make the penny pinching budget dudes in Hollywood very proud: seven cups of hot chocolate and a overflowing plate of nachos as pay for the acting team. The creative energy that is going into the filming of my son’s second feature film? Priceless.

As the script for Robbers on the Loose 2 (a sequel to his last film, shot three years ago and featured at a local film festival) took shape in the past few weeks — written with friends, with advice from his parents and brothers — the excitement of shooting a movie took hold. Organizing the schedules of nearly 10 kids (all nine and ten years old) has been difficult, and we have about one-third more of the movie to shoot.

Making Robbers on the Loose Day2 Collage

I won’t give away the story. Let’s just say, someone is on the loose. But in the script that they wrote on their own, I noticed references to the first movie, foreshadowing for something to be stolen, the use of frames within frames (done in the editing process), and the boys’ obsessions with Nerf guns (only one girl is in the acting team, as the police officer. She’s the best actor of the bunch.)

As an independent media activity, making a movie is interesting and complicated, as my 10-year-old son is finding out. He has his crew rehearsing their lines, making adaptations to the script, adjusting his vision to the reality of what is available to us, and more.

I am merely the camera operator, adding in some advice when I think it will help. (I am also taking still photos of the filming, which is where these collages came from). Seeing my son and his friends pouring over the footage of the day is such a nice sight to behold, as they laugh at the retakes, and critique their own performances.

What more could you ask for?

Peace (on the loose),

  1. Love this. Movie making is so fun. Literacy play (no pun intended) at its best. Reminds me of a similar event in my kids’ life. My oldest was ten and he recruited his friends and his siblings. It provided the perfect opportunity to wrap his little sister as a toilet paper mummy!

  2. Kevin, this is so, so great!! What a wonderful, creative opportunity for these kids. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  3. BRAVO!!!
    I’d say the one that would be wonderful would be a school connection. What a perfect way to model for teacher and class, right?

  4. Kevin, this is active learning at it’s best. what a great project and your support as a parent should not be underestimated. Dare to dream. Dare to try. The little kid inside me still enjoys making films, so it’s easy to identify with this entire scene.

  5. Your production team may not be making the BIG BUCKS but they are making memories and learning by doing. They have a great captain to their team – and the life long benefits will not be know for many years.

  6. Complex and messy–sorry to say that the way we organize school runs counter to this kind of work. So what we need to do is change school in ways that make this possible, without friction. My son and friends of his made animated films with clay figures and spaghetti for ray guns blasts. My son ended up as a university tech dude par excellente and his friend is in L.A. working on animated features including the newest Jurassic Park movie. Freedom pays in divergent ways.

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