Robert Gillen

the magic of storytelling

Movies to Help Kids Fall in Love with Cinematography

Cinematography is more than stunning visuals

“Raindance is dedicated to fostering and promoting independent film around the world. Based in the heart of London, Raindance combines Raindance Film Festival, training courses — which are offered throughout the year at our 10 international hubs — and the British Independent Film Awards.”

In discussing how films can influence young people’s love for film, Raindance says, “…cinematography is more than stunning visuals, and movie-loving kids have plenty of opportunities to understand the power of storytelling, acting and between-the-lines messages.”

Los Angeles - USA - October 31, 2015: Replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean during Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Los Angeles – USA – October 31, 2015: Replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean during Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

They go on to say, “It is not that hard to get children interested in films, but now that your little cinema buff caught the taste for it, it’s time to feed his passion with well-selected titles. Once they fall in love with cinema, this feeling will burn bright in their hearts forever, but the first steps into this world of wonder are essential to keep that fire going.”

Their recommended films are:

  • The Harry Potter Series
  • Jumanji
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Frozen
  • Mary Poppins
  • Peter Pan
  • The Lion King
  • Coraline
  • Back to the Future I
  • Inside Out

Here’s the link to Raindance’s article: “10 Movies that Will Make Any Kid Fall in Love with Cinematography.”

Enjoy these films, or share them with young people you know.

 

What inspires me to write for young adults

Teaching High School Media Production

When my wife and I taught our Media Production class to high school seniors, on day one of the semester-long course we screened the introductory podcast of film director Baz Luhrmann’s Set to Screen series. The series, created by Apple, follows Luhrmann behind the scenes as he directs the 2008 film Australia.

We watched the students’ faces as they viewed the podcast. Rapt attention. Even awe at times.

Then we told them, you can do the same thing. Of course, you don’t have the budget, the equipment, the production company that Luhrmann had for Australia. But yes, on your own terms, with your equipment and imagination, you can do the same thing in this class. Make movies.

And that’s exactly what they did.

The girls in our class found their voice. It was often lighthearted. Parodies, music videos, fun video stories. But it was theirs. Theirs from conception to final screening. They owned it. They told stories rooted in their imaginations, their own lives.

Here are a couple of screen captures from their productions. One features a western movie, shot on location at the historic  Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. One student played all the parts. The students composed original music for their film on Garageband.

 

Media production class on set

Media production class on set

Paramount Ranch location

Paramount Ranch location

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another student project features a black and white  music video based on Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations.

The screen capture on the left is the original Marky Mark video. The one on the right was done by our class.

 

Marky Mark's Good Vibrations

Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations

Student version of Good Vibrations

Student version of Good Vibrations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping young people find their voice is what my writing is all about. I have a YA book series coming soon about teens who use film and media to find their way in this world. I’ll let you know a soon as it’s available.

Touring the Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert features large in my upcoming YA story “Off-Road.” Here’s a fun article from the Los Angeles Times about a tour of the Mojave. Enjoy the read.

“In the Mojave Desert, a winding route reveals the weird and the wonderful”

Nippon in the Mojave Credit: Mel Melson, LA Times

Nippon in the Mojave
Credit: Mel Melson, LA Times

 

Build a DIY Clamp for an Action Camera

This is an easy and inexpensive DIY clamp to build for your action (GoPro) camera. Check it out here.

DIY clamp: credit DustFilms

DIY clamp: credit DustFilms

Visiting a Movie or TV Production Set

Observing how movie and television productions are shot is an awesome learning experience for an aspiring filmmaker. You can check out your own city or state film commission. They usually announce where and when a production may be working in your area.

Observers are often welcome on a set, especially an outdoor location. Here are generally accepted rules for visitors to a production set. Follow them and you’ll be accepted as an observer.

Outdoor shooting location

Outdoor shooting location

When you arrive at the location, ask for the first or second AD (Assistant Director). This is usually the person who yells “Rolling” or quiets the set just before the camera rolls. Tell him or her you are an aspiring filmmaker and you’d like to observe.

 

Movie/TV set etiquette rules:

  • Stay out of the shot (watch where the camera is pointed)
  • Be silent when the AD calls “cameras rolling”
  • Turn off cell phones
  • Don’t take photos or video when the cameras are rolling
  • Don’t talk to the crew and actors unless they speak to you first
  • And please, if you recognize an actor, do not ask for an autograph. That’s just not cool! If you are polite and work to stay out of the way, cast or crew may approach you on their own to thank you for taking an interest in their work.
Directions to shooting location

Directions to shooting location

When you’re trying to find the actual location, look for “coded” signs on lampposts or trees. They’re usually printed both right-side up and upside down. These are used to direct cast and crew to the location without advertising to everyone else what’s going on.

Off-Road Desert Racer

Here’s a picture of a desert race vehicle, a class-11 VW, similar to the one featured in the upcoming “Off-Road: A Film Crew SHORT.” A rugged piece of machinery, with speeds maxing out at 75mph.

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