Puppets and Animation II: Completing Our Movies

This week I wanted to build on the storyboardng activity from last week, and for each group to develop their own short movies based on the Ramayana. Time was an enormous issue, and concerned that we would not finish on time, I reorganised the activity.

I decided to set the scenario of the class being a film company, where each group would focus on a particular section of the story instead of working to make five individual films. We delegated scenes from the storyboards we had made, dividing the plot into sections, each group filming self styled stories, based around their particular episode.

Using the puppets made in previous weeks, and the digi blues, the students made short animated clips, which on completion were exported to a shared folder.

Coming together as a class we used Microsoft Movie Maker, to import, organise and sequence the clips. Using the Interactive Whiteboard as an editing space, we were able to organise and discuss the sequences of events, as a shared class experience. Drawing parallels between Movie Maker's timeline and the storyboard structure we had used to plan the scenes, we were able quickly to sequence the clips we had developed together, and to add a title frame, and rolling credits.

All that was missing at the end of the session, and I have to blame myself for this, was the popcorn. However with all mobile phones switched off, media player set to full screen, and the lights dimmed much discussion arose from the final outcomes we had created. These have been recorded on thought bubbles, for display with photographs taken, puppets made and storyboards developed over the course of the unit of work.

What has excited me most during the development of this sequence of activities, is how much was gained from the process of engaging with the media as a storytelling device. The students were immersed in the text as they created it, and the story that evolved went through a constant process of revision and review, as they discussed, negotiated and considered how the characters might physically respond to events, or how the actions of the characters could be used to support the narrative they were trying to present. This approach to deconstructing traditional texts is definitely something I will revisit again.

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