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Holiday StoryLab for Film Workshop Day 4: Recording and Performing

We had a meeting where we discussed some rules for good performance - one puppet speaking at a time, taking it in turns to speak, the puppet speaking moves, others still etc - I showed them this on screen - speaking while moving two puppets, did they know which one was speaking? Then let the puppets take turns to speak and move so they could see how that made it clear to the audience who was speaking. They insisted on meeting a puppet immediately so the table top puppet Mary Mary came out and congratulated them on their work so far, and said how delighted she was that they were about to finally make a film of their story.

Then I told them how we would film each scene at a time, and that each person who made the setting would have a chance to be director, and to give roles to others. We began to work like this through the film scene by scene and it was very successful at first but it was a slow process and took a lot of negotiations between them. After three scenes or so excitement was mounting and tempers shortening so we took our fruit break, at the end of which I realised that we had only 10 minutes left before the parents would begin to come in to see the ’show’. Also the sun had come out for the first time all week weakening the image on the screen so I spent the break trying to black out the windows next to it and so wasn’t able to sit with them and prepare the next part. 

We did manage to get every scene done but the parents had arrived for the last few, and the later children got less time. If I was to do this again I would like two days for this part of the process, or else have them working on the scenes in pairs. It did work as a way of managing their desire to work individually while introducing them to collaboration however, and I should have enough footage to edit together a good film for them. This link to this is

Once we had filmed them scene by scene we then did an improvised performance of the whole thing for the parents which happened extremely fast in comparison! It was chaotic but everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I also filmed this. It was very interesting to compare them, and in the end the footage from the live performance was very useful, but unfortunately the camera was upset in the general excitement when I needed to be behind the screen with the children and was no longer manning it. So the end of this footage was unusable. I wished I had had a second artist or assistant and noticed as well that as I had been alone I hadn’t managed to take any documentary stills or footage of the process.

When they had finished performing, my Coraline puppet from Púca’s tabletop show presented each child with a chocolate chicken as it was easter weekend (I had cleared this with the parents first) and everyone went home with the puppets and set pieces they had made, name badges, etc. When I had edited the film I presented each family with a DVD. The edit and processing took a lot of extra time, I must remember to cost for this in future workshops involving film.

Plan Notes This day’s workshop didn’t deviate much from its plan. The only thing I didn’t use was the idea that the children might work on storyboards for their own part of their film / own story while other children were filming. In fact the children happily sat and watched when others performing scenes they weren’t involved in and didn’t need another task to keep them occupied. We also had no footage from previous days to play back and watch.

Materials Day 4


Lap top

Blackout bags

Large sheets for ’rules’

Easter eggs

Coraline and Mary Mary puppets

chairs for visitors

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