Bringing Puppets to Life at Filmmaking Camp

By Eva Barrows

Midpen Media summer camps are underway, and it’s not too late to join in on the fun. Our first filmmaking camp session created an interview series “A Midpen Summer Camp Interview” and a few “Puppet Café” movies. Youth filmmakers Eugene Wei, Tony Liang, and Dylan Qu learned how to conceptualize and create film projects with the guidance of instructor Lessa Bouchard and Midpen intern Romel Medina.

The campers began their creative movie-making process by storyboarding film ideas and choosing the best ones to move forward. After they set up puppets and props in the studio, Bouchard says “Everyone started playing and having more fun with improvising and building a world rather than trying to stick to a script. We mostly improvised shots, and the students wrote their own stories together based on the footage.”

The filmmakers created characteristics for each puppet by assigning them unique movements. The use of sound effects and music clips further communicated the characters’ feelings, styles and backstories. Dialog captions and voice-over work helped tell the stories. One of the puppets had magical powers, and through the magic of film editing was able to make himself and things like another character’s hat disappear.

During the camp, students had room to experiment with camera positioning, costuming, set design and a multitude of other filmmaking decisions. Bouchard says, “They were a creative dream team. Each student had their own style that added to the class. They were consistently patient and kind with each other, practiced when they needed to, and obviously enjoyed learning more about what they were doing.” Watch a few of the creative projects our filmmaking campers created within just a week!