In a comment awhile back I mentioned that I was thinking about doing some sort of collaborative moviemaking project with the local high school kids. Thus far the teachers at the school have been useless (won’t respond to my emails), but the handful of kids who’ve heard about it seem fairly enthusiastic, so I’m going to move forward and see what happens. I’m putting together an email description of the proposed RERUNS Project, as well as a blog which would have as its first post something like this:
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RERUNS: A Collaborative Movie Project
If you go to school at Fairview High School, how would you like to:
- make a short video about or starring zombies,
- collaborate with your fellow Undead moviemakers,
- have all or part of your video included in a larger feature movie, and
- take a bow on stage when the movie is screened in the Fairview Auditorium?
If so, then the RERUNS Collaborative Movie Project might be for you.
Zombie sitcoms. Zombie drama. Zombie reality shows. Zombie commercials. Zombie shopping network, art films, sports, news, soaps, cartoons, music videos — anything you want to see, 24/7, on Zombie Cable TV. The premise: a couple of the Undead are sitting on the couch watching television. These zombies might be a little slow but they’ve got short attention spans, and one of them has an active remote control reflex. Click. Click. Click. First we see the two zombies watching, then we start watching what they’re watching — bits and pieces of all sorts of programs produced for this very special viewer demographic.
So the proposal is this: a bunch of people (probably all high school students) make short videos, each of which consists of something that might be showing on one of the zombie cable channels. The video doesn’t have to be a whole episode of some imagined program — a scene or two is enough; even a short clip or highlight will do. Then we edit them all together into a single feature, a pastiche, cutting in with occasional glimpses and reaction shots of our two undead friends clicking the remote and watching this explosion of weird entertainment. The working title for the whole compilation is RERUNS.
A film festival is a competition; RERUNS is a collaboration. As you work on your script, your acting, your sets, your filming, you can ask each other for feedback and suggestions. There might be mini-workshops on techniques, guest presentations from experienced filmmakers in the community, pre-screenings of early takes, and so on. Everybody’s video gets included — or at least part of it anyway — so everybody gets their name in the credits. At the World Premiere (at Fairview High School? in March?) the dozens of undead filmmakers take a collective bow before a stunned and speechless and horrific audience…
Zombiedom is a great genre to mess with in any number of ways. Even if you’ve never made a video before, how bad can it be? — heck, it’s just a freaking zombie movie! Besides, if your movie sucks the editors will find something good in it to include in the final cut. But zombie reality can also let you stretch your skills and your imagination. The zombie world has room for plenty of diversity, so you can imagine your zombies any way you like, from bedraggled rotting flesh to people who look like you and me.
Here’s a screengrab from the 2004 French film Les Revenants, or They Came Back. The guy with his back to us looking at the woman is a zombie. What does his face look like? As videomaker you get to decide. Since the composite film is sutured together Frankenstein-like from bits and pieces, each mini-film can have its own distinctive look and feel. Zombiedom can also be an intriguing and multipurpose metaphor for contemporary life, so you can make a Grand Statement if you like. Even if your reach exceeds your grasp there’s no pressure — heck, it’s just a freaking zombie movie!
My name is John Doyle. I am not a high school student; I’m just an old guy whose daughter goes to Fairview. I like movies, even though I’ve never made one. I also like when people channel their creative energies toward a common end, bringing out the best in each other. I can be useful behind the scenes, doing organizational stuff, helping make things easier for the moviemakers. But RERUNS fails unless it’s a student-run project from start to finish.
Does the RERUNS project grab your imagination at all? If you want to make a video, write a script, act, do makeup, build sets, just curious, whatever — please come to the preliminary planning meeting. It will be held after school in the Fairview library on ____. If it looks like there’s enough interest we’ll come up with a plan. No fees, no requirements, no course credit, no credentials necessary — just show up.
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Too pushy? Not pushy enough? Do I sound like some sort of perv luring highschoolers into my lair? Any comments or suggestions from Ktismatics readers before I go out the door with this?
UPDATE: Per a friend’s excellent recommendation I added the brief summary with 4 bullet points to the very beginning of this write-up.