It began like this . . .
Princess: Mom, you know the Youth Group Academy Awards*?
Princess: I kinda volunteered you to direct our movie.
Me: (pause - thinking about everything else that was on my plate) Okay . . .
Princess: We're going to shoot on Wednesday.** And it's due on the 15th.
Me: (blinking) Okay . . .
Princess: It's kind of like The Hunger Games, but it's with water. We're going to have a bunch of water balloons and water guns and whoever gets wet is out. The winner gets a swimming pool.
Me: Do you have a script or an outline?
Princess: (eye roll) Mom. It's going to be improv. We won't know who wins until we do it.
Me: So you don't even have a storyboard?
Princess: (eye roll) Mom. No. It's IMPROV!
Me: Sweetie, I can't shoot anything without a storyboard. It would be impossible.
Princess: (eye roll) MOM!
So I proceeded to explain how I couldn't shoot an action movie that was 100% improv because I wouldn't know where to place the camera (singular) and I wouldn't know who to follow and I might miss the winner winning, etc. I got several more eye rolls and "Mom"s. But I finally convinced her that we should use Wednesday the 4th as a planning meeting (the Youth Group meets every Wednesday evening) and then we could shoot on Wednesday the 11th.
Our planning meeting was fun. I was so impressed with the creativity of the group. We were able to get a very comprehensive outline together along with a prop list and costume list. We decided that (almost) all of the dialogue would be improv, but we determined the order of elimination and the winner of the Games to make it possible to actually shoot and get the action.
The next weekend was a long weekend, so I was able to get three of the girls together (one of whom was unable to come on Wednesday the 11th) and film a couple of segments.*** Then I edited the footage on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon before filming on Wednesday.
Wednesday's shoot was a bit hectic. Not only was I shooting the majority of the games, we started shooting at 6:00 so we were working against time outside AND I was shooting the most difficult girls.**** We managed to get it all done, though. And then I finished editing Saturday afternoon.
Now I must apologize for being such a tease. I do NOT have the permission of the parents of the girls to post the video here. I am going to send out a request for permission, but if I do not get it, I will respect that and not post it. I'm sorry because it's really fun! But I think that you all understand privacy issues.
It was kind of sad how excited I was about this project. I haven't shot and edited anything since The Foot Dream (warning NSFW because of language - this, too, was improv and, well, adults sometimes improv with cussing). It was a ton of fun! As I was editing and manipulating the sound track (I forgot to get ambient sound so I was splicing in two seconds of sound here and three seconds there), I realized that there was probably not another project whose editor was spending THAT much time on it. But there was probably not another project whose editor has a degree in film. ;-)
We'll find out tonight whether or not we win an Academy Award. Princess and her friend are dressing up as Capitol citizens (re: The Hunger Games) using two of my red Ro-tel wigs. I signed up to be one of the paparazzi on the red carpet (after promising not to embarrass Princess too much). Princess hasn't given the okay for me to attend the entire event. Although I want to see all of the entries, I will respect Princess' wishes should she want the event to be hers alone. Sigh. She's getting to that age. And I have to start letting go. But that's an entirely different post.
If I'm allowed to attend, I'll live tweet it! ;-)
*Every spring her youth group has each small group make a short movie (maximum 4 minutes) and then they hand out "Oscars" at a big party where the kids dress up and walk the red carpet and just generally have a goofy, great time.
** This conversation took place on a Sunday, April 1. No, it was not an April Fool's joke.
***The shot of Princess coming down the ladder was entirely her idea. I'm so proud!
****The majority of the girls were focused and very creative and helpful in
getting an outline of the script together and in listening to and following direction. However, during our planning meeting there were three girls who
never sat down for a moment, who crawled under and over tables, who made
noises, ran in and out of the room and were just obnoxious, rude and
distracting. I was appalled and frustrated. (And, on our way home, I
found out that one of them had called Buddy a "retard". NOT okay in any
way, shape or form.) Keep in mind that all of the girls are in sixth
grade (except for one fourth grader who is the neighbor of one of the
other girls). I could NOT believe it. Princess told me that they are
like that every week. I noticed that the small group leader (a woman
around my age) tried to get them corralled, but it was a losing battle.
It looked like she was used to it. After about 15 minutes, I became
used to it and was able to tune it out. It was a little better during the shoot because they obviously wanted to be on camera and I think they realized that I would cut them out if they messed around. One did try to pull a diva and pouted that I wasn't shooting her enough, but I told her that, had she been paying attention to the planning, she'd know that I was shooting people one at a time and that she was a little down on the list, and that snapped her back to focus. Sigh. Already a diva at eleven.