• Ngaio Simmons

Small & mighty team - EJ#2 day three and four

It’s full swing on day three. After a short coming together at the beginning of the session, we go straight into hands-on work again and a (re)introduction to editing. This camp is a small one, with only two participants, so it enables mentors to teach folks one-on-one. In bigger camps, mentors can be helping out a particular group mostly but they ultimately will find themselves going back and forth between groups to help with editing, filming, hands on tutorials, being in the films themselves, etc. So this is a definite switch up in that kind of busyness.


The one thing that’s stayed the same: gotta make a film in a week. Gotta learn the basics, storyboard, plan the shots, film, edit, and show it to your friends and family by Saturday. So we put on the Spotify and let them get to it. Stick around in case they need help. Watch as they pick up new storytelling skills everyday with the help of incredible mentors.


It’s a small but mighty team at this camp. We’re stoked to see what they create.

The sun is going back and forth between the clouds today. For the first time in what feels like forever, the wind also comes to greet us and offer us some breathing room in the midst of all the wela: the only problem is that the team has to now film with it as the backdrop.


As I was sitting in the assembly room, I was told the team needed extras for their film and so I walked out there to help. When given the piece of paper I need for the scene, the paper just continued to fly up, fold in on itself, and would really only stay if I flattened it against my stomach. It had me wondering why, of all times this summer, cool air decides to show up now? At this moment?


It’s also a testament, though, to how complex filmmaking is. That there is so much involved in getting a single shot and that something the audience only sees for about ten seconds could be something that took an hour or two to get perfect.

The participants have to consider weather, lighting both natural and artificial, what sounds are in the background, whether a part of a story can be carried out or if it has to be abandoned, the sequencing of scenes and the scheduling behind that, etc. This is hard work. It is obviously also fun otherwise participants wouldn’t continue to return to camps. But it’s important that we acknowledge the labor and care that participants, as well as the mentors, our documentarian, and our executive director all put into the craft that is filmmaking.


I am in awe of the ethic and commitment to making that they all have. It’s something I saw up close while as an extra and afterward when walking in from the wind and seeing the team huddled around a table working on their editing. I can’t wait to see what they have to show us in the final session.


To see more pictures click here.