Saturday, September 5, 2020

Who the Devil Made It?

So you’ve successfully introduced your child to a wide variety of film styles from around the world, but how and when do you introduce them to the idea that people actually make these things? Your child might be able to say that so and so “made” a particular movie, but what does that really mean to a kid who still asks you regularly if various super heroes are “real”? It will likely be a while before they can really grasp all the work that goes into making a film and all the people involved in that process, but it’s really never too early to start laying some groundwork!

For older kids there are numerous great documentaries like A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies and Mark Cousins’ laconic epic The Story of Film: An Odyssey, as well as specialized docs on topics like editing (Cutting Edge) and cinematography (Visions of Light) but what do you do for little kids?

So far 'Becca'lise and I have really good luck with behind the scenes stuff about animation. If you have access to Disney+ there are lots of great resources on this front. The show Prop Culture (especially the episode about A Nightmare Before Christmas) as well as the Walt-narrated docs The Plausible Impossible and The Story of Animated Drawing are all excellent starting points.

As for next steps, ‘Becca’lise had great success with showing Lola the serialized documentary on the making of Frozen II. Thanks to its length, this docuseries is really able to impress upon a viewer all of the work that goes into making a film. You watch an entire wold get created from scratch and witness the army of people working tirelessly to bring it to life one decision at a time. The fact that it’s told in episodes makes it digestible and easy to spread out over days or weeks.

If you own physical media or have a library card, DVD bonus features remain a great resource as well. Does your child have a favorite movie? Try checking out some of the behind the scenes docs on that disc! Even something as simple as seeing actors out of character can be a major revelation to a small child. Was there a behind the scenes feature in your past that piqued your interest in film? Of course there's always the 10-minute Film School segments on the Spy Kids discs.

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