“Can this be my movie?” She asks.
We’re huddled under the canopy of a tree beside a small pond near our house, and I’m struggling to find a suitable branch upon which I can clip the little sports camera I’ve brought along. We were out for a bike ride when she suggested that we “make a movie” down by the lake. “Why not.” I shrug.
“No, dad.” She says, her voice dropping an octave. She is serious now. “I want it to have my starting thing on it.”
I’ve been making small home movies for years. Our collection of amateur video is often little more than a few scattered clips –some from here and others from there– all highlighting the randomness of our family life. These are strung together into pop-song-length compilations of HD video set to soundtracks of the same. At the front of each video I often prelude the action with a custom vanity card, a little animated bit of intro bumper footage that usually just says “Family Features” …and ups the production value in a slight and amusing way.
“You don’t have a bumper.” I argue.
“Dad! You are supposed to make one for me.” And she’s correct. I’d promised to spend some time animating her own little personalized vanity card so that if she made the effort of recording a video of her own that she could leave her personalized mark on it. But no such thing yet exists.
“Alright, alright…” I sigh. “But first you need to make a movie.”
Not surprisingly, a few minutes later she was confidently staging a one-girl performance of her (very vague) interpretation of “The Three Little Pigs” under a tree in the park. And not surprisingly I was recording it, already trying to figure out when I was going to find the time to create her custom intro.
nurturing imagination, rule 011
create something personal: embrace on-screen vanity
Only it’s not vanity. Claiming ownership of something that you’ve created, no matter what that something might be, is not so much about pride or vanity at all: it’s about a snowballing of confidence to create something else after it, and then something more, and following that a dozen more each slightly different than the last.
On the wall of my office I have a printout of that somewhat famous quote about “the gap” from Ira Glass, the one you should look up, and the one that goes on about the heaps of terrible, weak, and unappreciated creativity that precedes success. And that “you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.” Part of any kid’s blossoming imagination is not just that faint glimmer of creativity, but the confidence to claim that creativity as her own… and to do the work that goes along with it.