Somer Miller, my sister and a second grade schoolteacher, was teaching her students about outer space. During a discussion about Mars, she mentioned that her brother was making a movie set on the red planet. The kids immediately wanted to know all about filmmaking, so she asked me to stop by for a question and answer session.
I took some time off from the day job and visited her class on Friday. I started off showing a relatively kid-friendly clip from Hide and Creep. The students immediately got on my good side when they laughed at the right places. I then showed them some Interplanetary props (the kids took turns trying on a space helmet), filmmaking equipment (director's viewfinder, boom pole, Bolex camera), and behind-the-scenes photos.
What was planned as a 30 minute discussion turned into an hour and a half. I heard about some of the creative writing projects they'd been working on for Somer (sounds like these kids are quite creative). One student suggested we make a zombie movie, with the students as the zombies and Somer as the heroine-in-peril -- that would actually be pretty hilarious, though I'm not sure the students' parents would appreciate it. We also discussed current cinema -- Meet the Robinsons was recommended to me, and we all agreed that The Incredibles is awesome.
I was really happy to see that these youngsters are excited about films and filmmaking. There's a lot of talk about new media killing off traditional feature films, but, if Somer's students are any indication, I think there's still a future for the cineplex and DVDs.
Here's Somer, taking her turn in the Interplanetary space helmet. To prove her geek cred, she's also throwing a Mr. Spock "live long and prosper" salute.