each year for the past few years my best mate Heino shoots a video for his daughters and their friends. The daughters are 10 and 14; Heino himself has worked as a professional cameraman; has won awards and now teaches.
Heino likes to pretend that he's just the cameraman and what appears is entirely their work but I know better. Having worked with him on a little movie we made in 1990/1991 I know that he's really making a lot of subtle suggestions to improve their ideas. Nonetheless, the kids come up with the ideas, write the scripts, appear on camera in various roles and generally seem to have a lot of fun. I know this because it's becoming a tradition I hope will continue that each year they make the video and each year Heino sends me a copy of the production on DVD. He packages it up well; menus, bloopers, behind the scenes - the works.
I have three of these DVD's; and watching them in sequence I can see just how much the kids are learning; each production is more polished than the one before. It's not technology that gives the extra polish; it's the experience of writing and mugging in front of the camera.
If I look forward to Christmas for anything it's for the next DVD. (That's a hint mate!)