In each generation, most kids show boundless enthusiasm for creative pursuits. Whether it be drawing, building things, play-acting, whatever.
When I was a kid, there was a lot of Lego building going on. My sister and I constructed whole cities. Sometimes we’d stick to the official designs of the sets, sometimes we’d go out on a limb with our own creations.
Later I moved onto computers, and writing. And at one stage, I was helping with some of my friends to make videos. Video cameras and editing equipment had reached the price point where high schools could afford them, and so over a number of years, we churned out a Blakes Seven tribute, a Doctor Who tribute called “The Battle for Mecros”, and a whole series inspired by The Professionals.
The tapes of all these still exist. I must talk to Raoul (who wrote and produced most of them) about putting the best of them onto YouTube or Google Video. I’m not going to pretend they’re Oscar-winners, but we had a lot of fun doing them, and they do serve as a permanent reminder of our teenage years.
My kids have seen the Doctor Who tribute. They really enjoyed it. They noted my contribution in the title graphics (which alas didn’t meet my expectations, and led me to do a much better later version in preparation for a re-edit that never happened) and my credited appearance hidden inside a Cyberman suit. They watched the blooper clips, which included numerous fluffed lines and footage of putting out a burning Dalek with a fire extinguisher.
Combined with the presence in our house of a digital camera (that shoots movie clips) and Windows Movie Maker, it has inspired a flurry of short film-making. Not just in my house, of course — Chris Anderson mentions the proliferation of free movie editors in The Long Tail book, which I’m reading at the moment. This and other advances in technology are leading more and more people from being just consumers, to also being producers of content.
In fact both kids are embarking on separate Doctor Who tributes, with Isaac and his friend Adrian having been in pre-production for some months now. I’m not sure what the state of the script is in, but I did note with some amusement that at one point Adrian was declaring just about anything that would involve more than a smidgeon of effort to film be deferred to post-production. If they continued down that route, there’d be not a lot actually filmed, and an awful lot of post-production work involved. They have started work on getting props and sets and so on ready, but it seems there’s a way to go before the main shoot commences.
Thankfully some other films have made it to completion. Between them Isaac and Jeremy have completed about 10 short films, varying from live action (the “Two Guys” series… guess who have the starring roles?) to animation (starring a Lego Jack Stone figure).
Anyway my point is that kids’ creative outlets move with the times. And it’s great to see their minds at work.