Thursday, March 11, 2021
Reflection from a Life Lab teacher – NTMY’s Cinematography Lab in action
Reflecting on my first months within Life Lab as an Educator of the Cinematography Lab.
From the beginning of our Cinematography Lab all students were immediately very intrigued. Although the fist module, around history of cinema and language, is more “theoretical”, (which is undoubtedly the most boring part), the use of multimedia platforms immediately attracted students attention. When I explained to them that the workshop would end with the making of a film, they were all surprised and incredulous.
The following lessons were around the creation of the PLOT of our movie, characterisation of the CHARACTERS and finally, drafting of the SCREEN. This is undoubtedly the most difficult phase of any film, even for professional adults, let alone for kids. From here onwards, we moved to the more practical part of the lab where students developed their plot ideas, most of them obviously set in school. In this phase, even the shyest guys came up with ideas and gave a fundamental contribution to the project (Salma really surprised me with her ability to organise a story and Sara for her commitment to character connotation). What I was really interested in transmitting at this stage is that a film is like a book, whether it’s fiction or a documentary, it is a written project that then takes a visual form. Developing a story from scratch, having to confront one’s classmates, necessarily leads the individual to question his/her own ideas in front of others. In this sense, I noticed how the groups, in this phase of creative writing, have also learned to think as a team being “forced” by the teacher to mediate their individual ideas in order to meet the needs of the group.
Yesterday, on the first day of shooting, it was immediately evident how all the kids were eager and excited to start. As soon as I distributed the photocopies, they were ready to rehearse. Even the most exuberant guys in the group, proved to be very eager to constructively participate in this new, more “practical” and less “theoretical” phase. Some improvised as directors, while others found themselves as excellent actors (perhaps this ability was quite predictable).
By participating in their story as an actor in the guise of a janitor (for art you have to sacrifice yourself) it was necessary to shoot some scenes without my help. Tarek and Giorgia found themselves excellent directors and good points of reference in coordinating the group (myself included) during the shooting. Yesterday it was clear to all that the key to success is successful teamwork, trust, communication and a focus on a common goal!
This is what I love about our Life Lab, a workshop aimed at shooting a movie can only unite the classroom. Making it clear how, for an excellent result, the collaboration of everyone is necessary, from the director to the person holding the reflector, from the sound engineer to the actors. Skills which will be invaluable in every aspect of our kids’s life.
Recently opened, our Life Lab Life Lab supports young people in developing new skills, self-confidence and a sense of belonging, with the ultimate goal being to remove barriers to learning and improve access to better opportunities for their future.