Q: There are different episodes along the trail of Lewis and Clark. Can more than one school produce the same episode?
A: Yes. Make a movie about the episode that excites your imagination, even if another school has already produced that episode. Even though the history will be the same, your movie will be different – and it will be fun to see how two (or more) groups of students produced the same story.
Q: We don’t have movie equipment – and don’t have the money to buy movie equipment. But we love the idea of this project and want to participate.
A: Perfect! You’re just the kind of teacher we’re looking for – because the main thing you need to make a movie is desire. If you have desire, everything else will come. We designed this project for schools that might not have money to buy movie equipment. That’s why the title of our book is Make a Movie about Lewis and Clark, Using a Home Camcorder and Other Stuff You Already Own. The book shows you how to get lights from Dad’s garage and use Aunt Myrtle’s camcorder to make your movie. This project is not about buying equipment. It’s about becoming a creative problem solver.
Plus, there’s the Nationwide Production Plan where you can produce your movie with other schools around the country, serving as one of the departments – like the Story Department, Art Department or Wardrobe. If you have students who can write the script or create artwork, they can contribute enormously to the project – and the only three pieces of "equipment" you need are a pencil, paper and desire! Click here to learn more about Production Partners.
Q: I love this project and would love to do it, but I don’t have time. Our classes are an hour long. By the time we get the camera out and the costumes on, the class will be over.
A: The most important requirement to be part of this project is desire – and you have it! A big part of this project is researching the history behind your episode, writing the script, planning the production and creating the artwork for your production. The actual production itself can be planned for after school or, maybe, for one day on the weekend. (If you plan it right, your entire production can be shot in a day.) Remember, every student does not have to be involved in the actual video shooting part of the production. There’s plenty to do in planning, writing, and preparing the art work – a stage called pre-production -- the book shows you exactly how.
Q: I think it would be great Project-Based Learning for the students, but I’m scared of technology. I’ll be great working with the students on research, writing and planning, but the camera and editing parts scares me. Can I have someone from the community help?
A: Sure. We welcome involvement from community members. There are professional video people – like wedding videographers or corporate film makers who will have the equipment and many would be glad to help. While we encourage community involvement, we have one rule: The students do the work. The community member is welcome to bring his equipment, stand beside the students and guide them through the process of how to use it. But the students have to do the actual hands-on work. They have to shoot the camera. They have to set the lights. The professional (or the serious amateur film maker) can assist and teach, but the students have to do the work. The only way they will learn is by doing. When it comes to making movies, the true teacher is experience. Another great way to involve the community is through your community historian or the local person who loves history. Interview this community member about Lewis and Clark – a great way to combine history and community building!
If you have question, send it to Billy. Mark it "question." We'll post it under FAQ.