Still from a stop motion animation called Mammy and Me Show

Co-creating short films with care-experienced young people

Blue Cabin Associate Artist, Laura Degnan, gives an insight into how she worked with young people from Darlington to make a series of short films.

Blue Cabin Associate Artist, Laura Degnan, spent three days working with four care-experienced young people from Darlington to make a series of short films.

As a result, the young people all achieved their Arts Award Explore accreditation, as well as gaining new skills and growing in confidence.

Here, Laura gives an insight into how she worked with the group to co-create their short films.

Over the three days, you helped the group to each make an individual stop motion animation and then a live action, collaborative film. How did you go about working on the animations together?

The young people sculpted play-doh characters and created cardboard sets and props. Then, after learning a little about story structure and using these new skills to write their own micro-dramas, they used the iStop Motion app to bring their stories to life.

Each young person created their own unique and brilliant stop motion animation, and after our first morning together we sat down together for the world premiere of these short films.

After this, the young people worked on a collaborative idea.

How did you all work together on the collaborative film?

The group decided to come up with ’20 ways to Live Life to the Full’. This list became our script.

And then we became live action filmmakers. We learned how to frame a shot, how to direct action, how to move a camera to tell a story. We drew storyboards and created a short list. Then we went on a film walk and gathered footage.

We even paddled in the Redcar sea, filming as we went. The young people filmed one another drawing images in the sand, doing cartwheels across the beach, acting, improvising and performing dance routines. There were so many big ideas, all captured on camera by the young, talented directors.

Then the group learned how to edit and used the footage that we’d gathered to fit their own creative visions. As well as editing together a brilliant collaborative film, they each created a unique short film shaped by the themes and ideas that were important to them.

What were the main skills the young people gained?

During our three days together, the young people each devised, directed and edited three short films. They learned how to edit using Final Cut Pro. They improvised scenes and stories, and used professional sound equipment to record their poems and scripts. And, as they created, they became brilliant team mates and friends.

What did the young people say about their experience?

Here’s what some of the group said about the three days we spent creating together:

“This week has been my best ever”
“This week has been really fun and I’m glad I made some more friends.”
“I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends but what I’ve learnt is better.”
“I’ve made friends for life.”

Find out more

Watch all the short films created by the group here.

This project is an example of our Cool Things packages for virtual schools and other organisations that work with care-experienced children and young people. Find out more about these here.