Written by Amber Wyatt, Instructor & Video Editor
At Talk to the Camera we have learned that every child has their strengths on a video production and identifying those are just a matter of time. With that being said, we realize that not every student in our program will be the next big thing on Disney or Nickelodean. Some may not even want to be on camera! Fortunately, we have a plan for those students too.
When Nathan Brown showed up on Day 1 of our recent Denver mini movie class, he wasn’t quite sure what role he wanted to play. We were going to be making an apocalyptic mini movie about the aftermath of a toxic, alien slime dumped on Earth. The script included a cast of eleven students but at our initial table read, none of those characters appealed to Nathan. He was a quiet boy and even when he spoke you could barely hear him. It was clear that he wasn’t built for Broadway but I was determined to help him find something that fascinated him.
I kept giving him suggestions during those first two weeks and his reply was always a swift head shake. Sometimes he would even shake his head before I made my suggestion. When we talked about the behind the scenes roles one on one, I started to see some interest from him. He didn’t want to do makeup, didn’t want to do costumes and didn’t want to do set design but I knew I was close. At the end of class on week 2 I told him to think of some ideas over the weekend that could get him more involved on set.
On our first day of filming, I invited Nathan to be assistant producer but he let me know he preferred slate operator. I ran the camera and staged the shots while Nathan would introduce each scene with the slate. I thought we made a pretty good team! Nathan really understood the concept of the slate. He took the information down well, using the script to ensure each slate would correspond with the scene we were filming. He would stand by me quietly in between takes as I filmed that day.
By week three, I feared Nathan would not be participating in production any more than slate operations. Luckily, I was wrong. On week four, we had two groups of students on set staging for a chase scene and while I was doing make-up on the “slime monsters” I heard Nathan speaking to the group behind me. When I turned around, Nathan was giving direction to actors and blocking the scene. I was so impressed with him! When I went back to the camera to film, Nathan was there pointing to the camera with a big smile on his face. He had laid down the slate and was going to help me out as assistant producer now! I began to show him where the record button was on the camera but he already knew from being so observant as slate operator! By the end of that class, he was operating the camera all by himself.
It is very important to us at Talk to the Camera that every child is involved and enjoying themselves. We have behind the scenes roles in every production to help kids just like Nathan become engaged and active. We want everyone to understand that some kiddos won’t be a Grace Kelly, but there are Steven Spielbergs out there too. We believe there is a role for everyone at Talk to the Camera and there is no better feeling than when that one wallflower finds their place with us!