For the Love of Teaching (…Filmmaking)

For the past week, I’ve been working with my son to make a short film. Lacie through their Collective site, is doing a contest to show your average day in one minute. My day is largely dominated by my son, so it seemed only natural that I would make a film with him for the contest.

As you can see, the film that we made was largely inspired by my mixture of frustration and satisfaction of spending all day every day with my son.

One of the things that I have found in these past couple months, is how passion for filmmaking can also translate to passion for teaching filmmaking. Don’t get me wrong, he’s four, and there’s only so much he’s going to learn, but between this short, and my LEGO short video that I made with him at the beginning of lockdown, I’ve had some opportunity to teach him some basics of filmmaking.

The key to teaching, and ultimately to working with a four-year-old in general, is keeping everything interesting to them. When filming, we’ve worked on projects that have kept his interest (LEGOS and annoying me), but also the tasks that he helps me with have been fun for him. In both projects, he’s been able to sit at my computer, in front of my microphone, with massive headphones covering his ears, he can hear his own voice as he speaks, and I tell him his lines. He likes the combination of watching the wave forms in Garageband, and hearing his own voice over and over again as I ask him to repeat his very simple lines or words over and over with different inflections and deliveries. (Eleven or twelve weeks into lockdown, or whatever we are, this is the most I’ve been able to get him to settle down without him falling asleep.)

One thing that surprised me about working with my son on this last film, was how interested in my camera he was. After shooting a night shot, he wanted to hold the camera and see what every button and dial did, so we spent nearly an hour with me showing him the manual focus, and aperture, the different modes of the camera, playback, and menu. Several times he aimed the camera at things and proceeded to play with focus adjusting and doing a relatively good job pulling focus.

In addition to interest in playing with cameras, he also has a lot of interest in special effects. He’s watched how they did the library scene in the first Ghostbuster’s film, and lately we’ve been talking a lot about lightsaber battles, and how to film the special effects such as force pulling the lightsaber to himself (and our neighbor).

I do kind of think in order to keep him entertained, and find interesting things to do, I might start putting him through a filmmaking ‘bootcamp.’ It also might be a good method of honing my own skills, especially in areas that I don’t have that much experience. Maybe we’ll do a lightsaber scene, and some foley work, who knows.

Not exactly Chocolate Diamond Media news, but I had worked last summer on a commercial as an Assistant Director of Photography, and apparently we won a Telly Award for the commercial. If you haven’t seen the commercial you can check it out here:


Published by Michael Christopher Cole

Michael, is a highly motivated, filmmaker and video professional. Coming from a marketing background, Michael knows not only the ins and outs of a quality video, but also how to make the most impact across various media platforms. In addition to his work with Chocolate Diamond Media, Mike enjoys family time with his wife and son, traveling, and reading.

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