Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boy Scouts and Belated Celebrations

I just realized that we passed our 100th post on this blog a little bit ago. They've been infrequent, but we're hanging in there. Yay, TLDSC!

I'm about to embark on a four-week workshop to help the scouts in my ward get the Cinematography merit badge, for which I'm a counselor. We're having a mini film festival at the end to showcase their work. I'm really interested to get these kids' reactions to the world of filmmaking. I'm wanting to push involvement in the local filmmaking scene for those who are interested - particularly emphasizing awareness of LDS filmmaking - and I'm going to try to get a group of these kids to come down to the next LDSFF in January to participate in the 24hour marathon. I don't want this activity to be too driven by my agenda, but it seems I've got a real opportunity here and while I don't want to abuse it, I also don't want to miss it.

I'm wondering if any of you have any ideas or suggestions on how I could structure the workshop to make it meaningful beyond the scope of just another merit badge (like the easy and almost obligatory Basket Weaving), which is often all these things turn into, unfortunately.

Anyway, I'll post anything relevant that comes from this, but what do you think?


Th. said...


No suggestions, but it sounds cool.

Wish they'd had that badge when I was in Scouts.

Ian said...

I wasn't aware of this merit badge, but, our troop/young mens organization has been trying to make a movie. We're only in the scriptwriting phase, and it's slow going. I'll have to check out that badge.

Anonymous said...

" I could structure the workshop to make it meaningful beyond the scope of just another merit badge?"

I just came across your blog and given the title it's natural you would be excited about giving a lot to the scouts. But I'd add some caution. This isn't their cause, to them it really is "just another merit badge" and that's as it should be. Teach them the material, cover the material, infect them with your enthusiasm for the topic. But leave the extras as just that, something extra they may choose to do after the merit badge is finished.

Randy Astle said...

I just did this badge with the Blazers in my troop a couple months ago. My first advice is to not do it with the Blazers: do it with the older kids. Our kids were great, but we could have done so much more with 14-yr-olds than 11-yr-olds. My second bit of advice is to schedule twice as long for the shoot as you would normally; preferably do it on a Saturday. That's not because the kids are so dense but because it's an educational shoot, and you're going to spend a lot of time not only disciplining but explaining everything, even if you've already gone over it in class. We scheduled to shoot in our normal evening time for two consecutive weeks, and that was good because of their limited attention spans, but it did take four weeks instead of two. (And we only made one film, not a film per kid.)

I was surprised at some of their responses. They were really enthusiastic about the 180 degree rule, but they had a really hard time understanding production roles, like how a director is different from a cinematographer (or a producer). I spent a whole evening talking about different shot sizes and compositions--Film 101 stuff--even though it's not one of the requirements; that gave them the vocabulary to talk about what shots they wanted, and then we watched some of Nightmare Before Christmas and they had a great time identifying all the shots.

My final advice is to not have too high of expectations. They didn't grasp some of the concepts to the extent I hoped, but it was sufficient to pass it off. And who among us can remember how to weave a basket?

Adam K. K. Figueira said...

Great advice, Randy. Thanks.

We have a rather small complement of young men, so we're doing everyone 11 and up. Some of the older boys have expressed interest in helping me with some of my projects, so I'm hoping for some enthusiasm on their part that will help to drive the others.

We've pushed it back a week because of a combined activity, so that gives me a little more time.

Adam K. K. Figueira said...

Let us know how your project turns out, Ian! It sounds great!

Anonymous, thanks for keeping me earthbound. :) Like everyone I want to hope that MY project will be different, but I'm sure you are right. Even so, I would like to at least create a memorable experience.

I still do remember how to weave a basket! ;)