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Challenge: Summer Fun

Create Your Own Summer Blockbuster!

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I love movies! For me there's no better way to capture summer memories than by creating our own summer blockbuster. I love the idea of making a movie of our family vacation, or summer camp adventures. Even those who are choosing to dial it back for summer can make a movie about being chill. (The Big Chill Pt. 2 anyone?) Or if TV is more your thing, you can create a hot summer TV show to put Game of Thrones to shame. And you don't have to have a blockbuster budget to get down to the nitty gritty of movie making. Here's how you can get the whole family involved in capturing your summer fun the way Hollywood does it without breaking the bank.

1. Conceptualize

What will your movie be about? Something completely made up? Or drama at Aunt Kathy's wedding in August? Either way this is a fun activity to get your kids imaginations racing. Your concept can be as small as what's bugging the bugs in the backyard, or as big as a road trip to rival Vacation. Get everyone on board with the concept then give them a fun job title. Maybe dad's the director, the kids can be writers/stars and Mom is obviously the Executive Producer.

2. Write Your Script

My favorite part! Everyone in the family can help write your story. If you're doing Stranded at Summer Camp, for example, who are your characters? What kind of trouble can they get into? Why are they stranded? How will they get out of this mess? Obviously this doesn't have to be Tina Fey or Joss Whedon level writing so take that pressure off. Have fun with it! What funny sayings are your kids using and how can you work those into the script? My daughter is obsessed with saying "poop" right now. Yay. Our movie might take place in the bathroom, but you get the idea. If your kids can dream it, you can film it!


3. The Storyboard

This will be a great activity if you have an artist in the family. Storyboarding is basically illustrating images in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing video. It's an essential part of filmmaking and creating TV shows that will help your kids visualize what they want to shoot on camera so they can tell their story. This will also help work out details with any special effects or crazy ideas your kids might want to pull off. With storyboarding your summer blockbuster, you don't have to draw each and every shot. Just draw a few major scenes and moments that you want to try to capture when filming. It's pretty cool to see the end result when they match up.


4. Get Your Gear

Got a smartphone? You can make a movie! In fact, there's been several indie films getting widespread acclaim and have all been shot on an iPhone. Or if you want to get fancy, you can use a point and shoot camera or DSLR with video recording capabilities. Most of these cameras have a USB port that can be plugged right into your computer to download for quick editing. My biggest tip: keep it simple. No need overwhelm yourself with the technicalities unless you really want to test your movie making skills.

5. Edit

There are several options when it comes time to edit your masterpiece, free and for a small fee. If you want to edit on your phone or iPad, you can use apps like iMovie, Perfect Movie and Splice to name a few. If you want to edit it together on your desktop computer you can also use iMovie (Mac only), Pinnacle, and HitFilm 4 Express. There might be a bit of a learning curve on some of the editing software so be patient if you've never worked with these before. Bring in the director to help you pick transitions like dissolving from an action scene, to a comedy bit. Or a star wipe for a retro feel. You can even add opening credits to try to capture that "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." feeling. There is no wrong way to edit your film. It's YOUR film after all!


6. The Premiere

Invite the neighborhood to come see your movie debut! The premiere can be over Labor Day weekend or before the kids go back to school. You can even get dressed up (very Hollywood!), pop popcorn and make a night of it. Who says only people in Hollywood can make a summer blockbuster? I say we can all star in our own summer movies! And I'd love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share them with me here or on my website,

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