Monday, May 5, 2014

For When Things Don't Go Like You Planned

It was a chilly March day.  March 6 to be exact.  Seventeen excited home school students started on an adventure in creativity.  To be more precise, an adventure in original stop motion animation.  We watched short clips of Wallace and Gromit and Gumby for inspiration.  The students were given the task to "fracture" a fairy tale, write a script, design a set, take upwards of 1000 still photos, write and film commercials, and become experts in iMovie.

They were up for the task and over the next weeks, they wowed and amazed Tina and I.  The students chose the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff,  and twisted it into a tale of three secret agents who supposedly had a some great top secret info, and also really wanted to get to McDonald's to eat.  Agent Badguy lived under a bridge separating the secret agents from McDonalds.  AND, he really wanted their top secret info.  Our script writing team consisting of Rachel, Seth and Anthony, (a very diverse age group) got to work, worked as a team, used each others' crazy ideas and wrote a great script.  They timed each line for our film production crew. Things were looking good.

The set building team went to work designing and building our stop motion set.  Angela emerged as the leader and she guided another diverse group as they put together a lake, bridge, trees, clouds and a McDonalds.  Looking good.

We needed a train to zip through the story, so a group of 5-8 year olds designed a funky train out of clay.  Looking good.

We needed some commercials.  Two teams of younger students mastered an app on an iPad and filmed a stop motion commercial for McDonalds and for Target.  Looking good.

Abe and Chris joined our project mid way through and put together some short videos to make up the "credits" on our film.  Some children designed posters for each team of workers.  Still looking good.

Angela, Hunter, Anna, Libby and Rachel took at least 1000 photos.  They put together short 7-12 second clips that each had around 80 photos. We started to move those clips into iMovie...and then it started.  TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!

We had trouble moving the video clips to start with.  The app would freeze.  We would lose some of our work and have to start again.  We developed perseverance.  We worked on patience.  We exercised creative problem solving.  The students discovered that emailing the clips worked the best.

Rachel, Seth and Hunter spent HOURS moving little clips around.  Editing.  Speeding up clips.  Slowing them down.  Timing them perfectly to fit the script...and then it happened again.  TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!

After a rather long couple of days and HOURS of work.  We discovered that some of our movie clips are corrupted and they cause iMovie to freeze up.  Then iMovie doesn't let you edit your project anymore.  We developed perseverance.  We worked on patience.  We exercised creative problem solving.  Rachel talked nice to the computer.  Ms. Fincel from the tech office did everything in her awesome techy powers to try to recover our movie.

We lost the movie.

Rachel rebuilt it!

We lost it again.

We shut off the computers and went home for the weekend.

Today, I pieced together a SMALL glimpse of all of our students' hard work.  It has music.  It has some sound effects.  It doesn't include all of their clips.  It doesn't have any voices.  It's wonderful and disappointing all at the same time.  But, it exists and it isn't lost.

Operation Bridge Cross
Narrator:  The three agents, Billy, Noah, and Rita are trying to get across the Pikariva Bridge to get to McDonalds.  The three fat agents love McDonalds.  But, danger is lurking for these agents.  The notorious Agent Badguy is waiting on the bridge between the town of Pakriva and the McDonalds to steal their secrets.

Billy:  Look, there’s the McDonalds, Noah and Rita!!!

Rita:  Great, now we can eat!!!

Noah:  mmm...let’s eat!!!  (walk up to bridge.  Rita tries to cross.)

Rita: (as she walks) Huff puff huff puff

Agent Badguy:  Who’s that huffing and puffing across my bridge.

Rita:  I am a little spy.

Noah:  That sounds like our arch nemesis…

Billy:  Agent Badguy, I never thought I would see him again.

Agent Badguy:  I will steal your secrets!  Ha ha ha! (evil laugh)

Rita:  Don’t steal my secrets!

Noah:  Mine are better.

Agent Badguy:  You may pass.

(Rita passes by Agent Badguy)

Noah:  Let’s go eat!  (walks onto bridge)

Noah: Huff puff huff puff

Agent Badguy:  Who’s that huff puffing across my bridge?

Noah:  I am an average spy.

Agent Badguy:  I want to steal your secrets!  Ha ha ha (evil laugh)

Noah:  Don’t steal my secrets, his are better!

Agent Badguy:  You may pass.

Rita:  You’ve made it!  Let’s go eat!

Noah:  Wait for Billy.

(Random train goes by)

Rita and Noah: (look at each other)  That was weird….Awesome!

(Billy walks onto the bridge)

Billy:  Huff puff huff puff

Agent Badguy:  Who’s that huff puffing across my bridge?

Billy: I am a HUGE spy.  (throws Agent Badguy into the water)

Agent Badguy:  Aaaaaah!

Rita:  We made it!

Billy:  It’s beautiful!  I think I’m gonna cry.

Noah:  Let’s eat!

(train comes into picture)

Train:  Cock-a-doodle-doo! (like a rooster)
(train crashes into McDonalds and destroys it)

Billy:  Nooo! (drops to his knees)

Noah:  Eat? (sadly)

Rita: (sobs) No!  He was so young.  (drops papers)

(Agent Badguy crawls out of the water)

Agent Badguy:  Yes!  (picks up papers and runs away)  Yes!  The secrets are finally mine!

(papers are blank)

Agent Badguy:  Nooooo!