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Conversations with Children: How to Make a Movie

Making Movies

Saturdays are a big deal around here.

The kids run around in their pyjamas until after 9:00am. We chill out and snack instead of sitting down for a “real” lunch. We have an early dinner of fish & chips. And, most importantly, it’s Movie Night.

We only turn the TV on once a week, and that’s for our weekly family movie. Then we all sit around together, giggling at the funny bits and generally enjoying our special weekly treat.

Choosing the movie is generally up to five-year-old Big Brother. (Mostly because Little Brother is too young to care what we’re watching.) I usually give him some guidance, or a few movies to choose from, and let him pick. But last Saturday night, our conversation took a turn for the exasperating.

“What movie would you like to watch tonight?” I asked Big Brother when I picked him up from dance class mid-afternoon.

“Hmmmm….”

“Would you like something new, or something you’ve seen before?”

He thought for a few minutes. “Can we make our own movie tonight?”

“Instead of watching a movie?” I asked. Because I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Yeah, make our own movie. We can call it The Invincibots.”

“Um. Maybe.” And then I changed the subject. Because… Make a movie? Really? I didn’t even know what that meant.

Cut to two hours later. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s pick this movie for tonight!”

“No,” said Big Brother,”we’re going to make a movie tonight, remember?”

Oh, yes. How could I forget? “I don’t really understand what you mean.”

He put on his serious expression and looked at me steadily. “I mean, make a movie.”

“Yes. Okay. But what does that mean? Is it like putting on a puppet show?”

“No.”

I was struggling to get a sense of exactly what he wanted to do. (Is it just me? Is this obvious to everyone else?) “So how is making a movie different from making a puppet show?” I asked.

He kept giving me that same look. “One of them is a movie,” he said. “And one of them is a puppet show.”

At this point, I poured myself a drink.

Of water*.

Obviously.

Then I tried again. “Okay. So when you say you’d like to make a movie, what exactly do we need to do? What steps do we need to follow?”

His plan was simple.

Step 1: Think of what you want to make.

Step 2: Make what you thunk.

Step 3: Watch it on TV.

I waited. Just in case there was more. But there wasn’t.

“So when you say ‘Make what you…. (I couldn’t say it) …thought’,” I said. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

He looked at me with his deadpan expression.

“Mummy,” he said. “Do you remember step one?”

* I can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of this statement.

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