From Video Camp to Film School (pt. 2 of 3)

Months later, we noticed MOPA was having another video camp. This time, it was taking place over weekends in October, and the theme was making a scary movie. I knew immediately I needed to be part of it. Like the first camp, I quickly broke out my shell and felt right at home as we pitched ideas. We watched clips from horror movies, wrote scenes, and played with Halloween props. By the end of the day we had a story and a title: "Dial M For Monster." Again, we each got to do our own scenes and all the kids fell into the roles they wanted - some only wanted to shoot, others loved to act, and so forth. For the early shots of the monster we used a kid in a costume and put him far away from the camera so it was just a strange shape. But when we realized we needed a better monster for the finale, we worried we had written ourselves into a corner. Having made a lot of stop-motion videos before, I suggested we could do some puppet animation and superimpose it into the movie, like a Harryhausen effect. I made a little clay and wire monster, kind of a dinosaur-looking thing with big red eyes, and spent the day animating it pose-by-pose against a bright sheet of paper we could key out later. The rest of the kids shot the remaining scenes.

Somehow the local news found out about the camp and showed up to interview and film us. The cameraman got footage of us screwing around with props and masks, and got us to talk about the camp. The segment aired on TV Halloween morning before school. It was really surreal watching myself and the other kids on the news. The report showed footage from the movie and the anchors mentioned they loved the special effects (my monster on the news!)

That movie premiere felt even better than the previous one. It was really special watching the work we had done play up on the big MOPA theater screen. The theater is also where we had shot the films climactic scene. The herky-jerky clay monster stalked our heroine through the aisle before being defeated by a sharp pencil (kind of anticlimactic, I know.)

{This is part 2 of 3. See part 1 here...}