in partnership with
Yaa Asantewaa Arts
Of course no self-respecting movie producer would let a such a ground-breaking work go by without a making of blog…
… the making of a cinematic FEAST!
The Summer term 2015 was really exciting as we have been something completely new! Instead of live performance, we decided to focus on film-making this year with a really fun, but challenging project over four Sundays in June. We felt that our members would really enjoy and benefit from exploring some different skills. So, our guerrilla film-making challenge means that not only did they get to act, they also got a chance to try screen-writing, directing, technical film-making, camera operation, costume, set, props – you name it, they did it… ALL of it! For this project we worked with Director, Writer and Arts Facilitator, Rachel Creeger. Rachel has many years’ experience working not only as a professional director and writer, but also as a youth arts worker and social worker. She also designed this project so she’s pretty clever! Alongside her was film-maker, Michal McEwen, taking on the role as Film Tutor.
The Seniors were particularly lucky as for this particular project, we partnered up with the legendary carnival arts company, Yaa Asantewaa Arts. Not only were we based in their building for our sessions, we were also given very privileged access to their carnival costumes and their very clever designer, Caroline Muraldo.
Devise a group theme
Greater teamworking skills
Develop Creative Skills
Devising a group theme…
In some ways this was already started for them, as we had agreed that the theme would be carnival as we were partnering with one of the leading Carnival Arts companies! However, there was still a great deal of work to be done! While the theme was carnival, we had to come up with characters and a storyline – no mean feat!
To begin with Rachel gave the members the task of brainstorming ideas around carnival…
From these we then took out the best ideas and the things that people felt they wanted to include in our story.
Caroline from Yaa also talked to us about some of the history of carnival and how it started. We felt that this was really important to include some of that somehow too…
After that, we got some character inspiration from Rachel’s magnificent hat collection
From these, everyone wrote down some notes about a character inspired by the hat and then improvised a bit of ‘hot-seating’…
We then chose a mask each and repeated the process…
From there, we started to work out what we might want our story to be about, we split off into small groups and got planning!
These are some of the ideas we suggested… they were remarkably similar in many ways!
The group for this project was a mixture of regular Sunday members, some new members and a regular Saturday member, so it could have potentially been difficult for the newer people to feel comfortable, but after the first morning it felt like everyone started to relax and be able to focus on the task in hand i.e. getting the film made. This first day was also the most taxing in terms of planning and discussions, but everyone really took time to include everyone’s ideas and to work together to make the story the best it could be.
Once we started shooting, the team really came into its own – it takes great communication and coordination for a film crew to be effective. Everyone had their role to play – on sound, clapper loader, camera operator, director and many more. They are all equally important and so it was great that everyone really go into their role, taking responsibility for each other and making sure everyone knew what was going on!
Developing Creative Skills…
While some people had experimented with making movies on their phones, most of the group had not made a film this sophisticated before, so they had to get some instruction on basic filming techniques. Once they had the this though, they were off, doing it for themselves…
In addition to the filming, the groups also created their own special effects, sets, props and costumes – in addition to the carnival ones kindly lent by Caroline!
What was really great about the project, was that everyone, event the members who have been coming to DreamArts for a long time, really learnt something completely new and it was really great as practitioners, to hear the ideas of the members as they created their own stories – they are brilliantly imaginative (as if there had been any doubt before, mind you!)
80% of the young people said that they had improved their ability to develop positive relationships with their peers and adults.
70% Said that they had improved at exploring their own views, thoughts and feelings.
90% had improved their ability to share their ideas.
60% said they felt more confident to take a lead.
70% felt better at showing their skills and taking a creative risk.
100% said that they were now more open to learning new skills.
Here is what some of them had to say: