Movie making technology has improved over the years, so that tech-savvy children can edit footage from their family’s home movie camera, or digital camera and create short films, rolling credits, special effects, graphic overlays and more. Nurturing a child’s love of movie production doesn’t require a Hollywood-sized budget. Free resources for learning film and video production are available, from several different sources.
Online Screenwriting Courses
Script Frenzy is one free Internet resource for learning how to write a movie script. Scriptwriting must follow a very specific format, with differing margins for dialog and distinctive jargon for scene setup. Script Frenzy is designed to be a one-month screenwriting workshop, but the resources are available all year long and include character development advice, plot development and access to real movie scripts, for reference.
Internet-based screenwriting forums and websites have advice for would-be screenwriters, too. The Writer’s Guild Foundation offers several DVD lectures and interviews by successful screenwriters. Screenwriter.com offers a chat room-based environment where participants share their stories with each other and help develop their story and write their script. Courses are ten weeks long and participants can choose to opt out of either the story development or screenplay writing section. Prices range from $399-$1098.
Internet Movie Making Resources
Youtube has a few options for editing and creating graphic overlays, but for more flexibility, One True Media also offers slide shows and can upload automatically to the user’s Youtube account. Roxio and CreateSpace have features that allow users to have their film put onto a DVD. Users can even make money selling those DVDs. Amazon’s print-on-demand service that creates a copy of the DVD with options for designing custom cases and disc graphics, too. Experimenting with movie making software can be fun and educational.
For Screenwriting resources online; Celtx and Scripped offer free screenwriting software that’s designed to help writers execute the proper formatting. Scripped is a web-based program that enables writers to collaborate on a project and track changes, by hosting the project on a web-based server, which each user can update. Some screenwriting software is designed to import half-finished scripts from other word processing programs. Another popular feature, for self-production is the automatic creation of character lists & descriptions, integrated development of a shooting schedule and call sheets and location lists to help in pre-production.
Online Degree in Film Production
Many online colleges and universities offer filmmaker’s courses. Even students who aren’t old enough for college can sometimes register for classes. Clarify the student’s goals before signing up. The ultimate goal may simply be to learn more about production, or specific skills, or software programs, like Final Cut Pro. Alternatively, the goal may be to get a bachelor’s degree in film production from an online filmmaker’s school. Either way, help is available.
MIT’s OpenCourseWare offering is entirely free and the Music & Theatre section has a few listings for potential filmmakers, like script analysis. More of their courses are for designed stage theatrics, rather than filmmaking.
Learning Animation at Home
Creating a short movie with stop-motion animation, with action figures, dolls or legos is an activity that kids can do without auditioning actors or enlisting the help of a lot of people. Making flip-books is one way to help kids understand how stop-motion animation works. A variety of software can be used for stringing images together. Gimp is free and can be used to create animated GIF files which can be attached to an email or added into any web page. Movie making software like Windows Movie Maker and iMovie for Mac can also be used to create videos using stop motion animation.
Kids who enjoy making movies may grow up to be professional filmmakers, or they may move on to an entirely different field. Either way, the lessons learned working within the confines of the formats and available technology stretch beyond visual communication and just having fun. A new appreciation for the art and talent behind the latest movies, cartoons and video games may develop. If you want to know more about professional visual effects, visit here.