Learning Stop Motion Filmmaking With Lego

As some of you may have guessed, our team wears many hats, we are storytellers, educators, technologists, scientists, dancers, and marketers. We love that the work we do allows us to put on those many hats, and enjoy the different experiences and facets of our work, including still getting a little bit of kid time with Ahimsa Kids.

Loving this book.

Recently with that, I had the opportunity to work with an intelligent and engaging 10-year-old, who once he finished his school work, we were able to dive into the world of edtech and stop motion filmmaking together. Stop motion is something he has a keen interest in, along with lego, and he’d just been given the Klutz: LEGO Make Your Own Movie book. It didn’t take long after flipping through the book, for me to become just as hooked as he was on the process. So the two of us embarked on making our own first stop motion lego film together.

Leafing through the pages.

This was a fun cross-curricular project to embark on. In the process, my young student developed and wrote a story, learned to storyboard …

Laying out a scene from the storyboard.

… and filmed a stop motion movie. We brainstormed and experimented with blocking and special effects. My young student’s huge assortment of lego helped with this, along with scene backdrops in the Klutz: LEGO Make Your Own Movie book and all sorts of items in the LEGO Movie Maker Building Kit (which he’d got for his birthday), from which we learned how to build an adjustable stand for our camera (aka smartphone).

Utilizing one of the backdrops and our newly built camera stand.

Finally my young student troubleshot how best to record the various voice overs for the project, and he and I will eventually edit the stop motion film together – that piece we did not get to on-set, so are planning to get together to finish in the not so distant future. Lego does have a free movie making app to help with the editing process, called Movie Maker, but we decided to use iMovie for this, as earlier on the set, my young student had shot his first documentary and I’d taught him how to use iMovie to edit it.

Setting up for a new shot.

I have to say, this was a lot of fun, and something I could see wanting to incorporate into my school, if I still taught in a school. With this, I could see this being a full language and media arts project, a station set up in the classroom for kids that finished their other work early, a makerspace activity, or an after school club. It is also a fun at home activity, as well as a great project for homeschoolers. I myself am now looking for excuses to play with making lego stop motion movies in our work – possibly in future tutorial videos for StoryToGo or for one of my Master of Educational Technology videos. My young student kindly gifted me the LEGO Movie Maker Building Kit, and I am going to buy the Klutz: LEGO Make Your Own Movie book for myself, my nieces and nephews, and a few of my friends’ kids, as this really is such a fun experience. I can see why Lori was so fascinated by her visit to the Laika Studios and learning about stop motion storytelling there.

Using one of the backdrops to create the perception of flight.

If lego stop motion or stop motion in general is something that you’ve been having fun experimenting with, I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you may have, and to see your videos, if you want to drop your thoughts and links in the comments below. And if you have been creating lego stop motion or stop motion videos with your students, whether in traditional school or homeschool settings, I’d love to hear about how and what is working for you and your students, in the comments below.

Thanks! I hope you have fun with this!

Some Exciting Opportunities With Paperny Films

Storytelling excites us.  We have fun with it!  It’s how we get are kicks, and as such we are pretty pleased about our latest client, Paperny Films, as they are all about stories too and are telling some entertaining ones, from foodie adventures with true to life characters like Bob Blumer to the legends of music greats like Ron Sexsmith. No issues with getting out of bed in the morning around here.

Paperny has a couple of exciting opportunities for the filmmaking community coming up, that we wanted to highlight:

Opportunities for Television Writers and Story Editors

The deadline is fast approaching for this posting.  If you have experience as a story editor or writer on Doc. Series or Doc Soap genre programs and are available to work in Vancouver, then don’t delay, get your CV and list of references in.  All the details on who Paperny is looking for can be found on Media Job Search Canada.  The application deadline is Friday February 25th, 2011.

So You Think You Can Make TV? Contest

Paperny has just launched a pretty cool opportunity for young Canadian filmmakers aged 19-30.  Basically, they are challenging young filmmakers to have fun showing off their creativity and skill by creating a 2-minute or less trailer for a lifestyle or factual series.  The Prize?  $3000 and a one month unpaid internship at Paperny Films in Vancouver.  For all the details, check out Paperny’s contest page and be sure to get your submission in by the entry deadline on April 15, 2011.