What do you do with the family that’s done everything? How about make a movie? My family recently had that chance when Jed Schlegelmilch of A/P Productions approached us about trying out one of his favorite parts of his independent film service – Kid Movies. Jed’s work has been shown in several film festivals, including the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival, but he has discovered a passion for working with families to create their own independent short films. This may be one of the most fun things my (over-funned) family has ever done.
Our movie started with a short meeting between Jed and my family. We talked about what movies and shows my kids enjoy and what they like to make-believe play. For instance:
- As a family, we enjoy watching Mr. Bean.
- My oldest daughter is still on her spy kick that started after we saw 20,000 Leagues at the Children’s Theatre.
- My six year old is really into Power Rangers.
From this, Jed quickly came up with a basic story. We tossed around ideas a bit, and he went home to prepare the film.
We went on with our lives while Jed wrote the script, mapped out the storyboards, picked a location and planned for the props and costumes. When it was all ready, Jed ran the script by us; we made a few suggestions, and he incorporated them. Jed gave us a list of props and costume needs. Most things we found around the house and he helped us out with what we easily couldn’t find.
Next, we chose a filming day and set aside four hours. On the day of filming, on the advice of Jed, we took a page from professional movie shoots and brought a spread of snacks. This was key. Nothing incites cooperation like snacks.
Jed also suggested having a kid wrangler (a/k/a dad) on hand. This was particularly important with the toddler since we filmed during her nap time. Much of movie filming is waiting for your next scene.
Jed has small kids of his own, so his expectations are realistic. In our film, the school aged children were the main characters. The preschooler had just big enough of a part that he didn’t get bored, but was able to handle it; and the toddler really only had to be herself on camera. Parents are encouraged to participate, so I had a small part, too. The whole shoot ended up only taking about two hours – partly because Jed knows what he is doing and came prepared and partly because we got lucky with the kids.
After the shoot, the excitement level was high. Everyone wanted to see how the film turned out, but we had to wait for the next step – the editing. This step was done by Jed at home. He estimated a couple weeks, but I had a short film ready for my approval before the week was over.
Once the movie was done, it was ours to do with as we pleased and, while we were happy with having it on Vimeo, part of the package included receiving the movie in whatever format we agreed on. I intend to give a DVD version for Christmas gifts to the Grandmas.
This is our movie.
A/P Productions provided this service free of charge to facilitate our review. Fees vary by length of film but usually run between $300 and $500 and include everything, from pre planning to shooting to post production. To learn more about creating your own family movie, contact A/P Productions. Other publicly viewable kid movies by A/P Productions include,