Make Home Movies with Your Kids
Even if it doesn’t make them like you more, it’s still tons of fun and you’re creating wonderful memories.
Some of my earliest happy memories, besides running around screaming for no reason or playing the family Atari 2600, are making movies. We made goofy fantasy adventure shorts, fake evening news, full-length science fiction feature films, a hard-boiled detective short, and music videos featuring the music of Rush, Metallica, and more.
Those times were some of the most fun I had as a kid and teenager. During the latter, I even took on more of a direct role in the filmmaking.
Back in the 1980s — the olden days — my stepfather made a couple of short films with us kids. Five kids in total. Since everyone had fun with those shorts, we made a science fiction action movie called Next to the Last Starfighter(loosely based on a popular film of the age).
Since we had no computers or film equipment like a blue screen, all our special effects were either ketchup for blood (practical effects FTW), or we just copied space and space fight scenes from movies and shows on VHS. Examples include Star Trek, Star Trek: TNG, Star Wars, The Last Starfighter, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Our soundtrack came from those sources, too. It worked and was fun, but for obvious reasons and valid copyright laws, we couldn’t exhibit the film anywhere.
A few years later, in the early 90s, my brothers and I wanted to make a sequel. Using the same techniques and success formula, we made Time Trap: Boldan’s Revenge. Boldan was the bad guy from the first movie. It was another fun sci-fi romp that was a blast to make.
After that, we planned and filmed a ridiculous hard-boiled detective short entitled The Fusion of O.E. We got all our dialogue from either movie zinger one-liners or song lyrics. We didn’t need any special space footage, but we borrowed one scene from Star Trek V, where Kirk falls while mountain climbing, because we needed a scene of a guy falling a long way in front of rock.
We shot the movie over the course of about a week one summer (or maybe it was spring break?), on location at Denver University. No permits, no permission, and we ran around that campus with realistic…