My son recently finished a film course at the Jacob Burns Media Arts Center. They were nice enough to set up some classes for homeschoolers (read: before 3pm), so I figured this would be a good opportunity for Chase to learn about one of his interests. He had a great time! He wasn't so crazy about being filmed, but he enjoyed working behind the lens and editing. The six students were broken up into groups of two to work on editing and adding sound effects. On the final day, parents were able to watch their movies.
It was fun to see how each of the groups decided to edit the same raw footage. Each movie told the same story, but depending on which scenes were left in and what sounds were chosen for the background, you ended with a very different impression of the story. My son used a heartbeat sound to show tension when the characters were hiding from a man they thought was a killer. Another movie used suspenseful music for this same scene. The third left out the scene altogether. These choices affect how the viewer reacts to the scene.
With all of the attention radical unschooling has received lately in shows like Good Morning America and Nightline, I felt like this little film course and the work these children did took on greater meaning for me. After all, life is about our editing choices. What we choose to highlight in a situation--how we talk about the events of our days, choosing a lighthearted soundtrack full of happy, fast paced flutes and piccolos or the pensive sad tones of strings--this is what makes the difference in how we remember and what we choose to forget.