Summer Shoots: Filmmaking Summer Camps
As we approach the summer holidays, planning for our filmmaking summer camps is in full swing.
The Summer Shoots are 5-day filmmaking summer camps for young filmmakers, which run each year from Sparks film schools around the UK.
In each Summer Shoots summer camp, small crews of young filmmakers provide their own unique film production. They take on all the crew responsibilities on both sides of the camera and they steer their film productions creatively.
How do we theme our filmmaking summer camps?
Each year we introduce a new theme to our filmmaking summer camps. The theme helps to inspire storylines, channel the use of different techniques and ignite creative exploration that challenges the filmmakers’ imaginations.
The theme is applied across all the crews, and at each Sparks film school nationally.
The staff team at Sparks always put great consideration into the themes, which apply to summer camps but are also a key part of all our youth filmmaking programmes. We research and try out different theme ideas and activities, as well as bring in a range of sources and references to help the develop the programme.
For instance, this year’s theme for the summer camps in 2022 is “Great Escapes”. All throughout the summer, the young film crews taking part will explore and interpret the theme to produce their own unique film ideas. They will explore classic escape-driven storytelling, as seen in well-loved films including The Great Escape (naturally!), its animated homage Chicken Run and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The young crews will also explore escape conventions associated with horror movies and how escape themed plots can be used to create scary effects.
There will also be workshops on escaping conventions and escaping the boundaries of genre or concept-driven storytelling, as well as escaping the “rules” of filmmaking too.
As with many of our summer camp themes, it’s designed to offer up the potential for ideas and lines on enquiry, which can help inspire creativity and different interpretations from each of the young film crews.
Our Earlier Summer Camp Themes:
Great Escapes will yield a brand new collection of youth film projects, that will add to the incredible and expansive work of earlier years.
The theme for last years filmmaking summer camps was “Mash It Up”, a creative challenge to take two contrasting ideas or styles and fuse them together into something brave and surprising.
2020’s filmmaking summer camps brought us a beautiful collection of films inspired by the theme of “Transformations”. We saw some fantastic special effects, as well some impressive world building, character arcs and completely original storylines.
These compliment earlier summer camp themes including “The Stuff of Dreams and Nightmares” – a fun look at dream sequences, surreal settings and stories of the impossible – and “We Are the Champions” – a look at award-winning films and groundbreaking filmmaking techniques for creative inspiration.
The themes we apply help to stimulate imagination and focus the young filmmakers taking part in the summer camps. It can help move them out of their creative comfort zone, or give permission to explore an idea or a story that they might not pursue in other settings. The summer camps function as a creative filmmaking lab, with the chance to collaborate with new people and to produce something extraordinary. With just 5 days to make a fully fledged film production – especially as part of a group of largely strangers – every moment counts, so the theme can be a great instigator of ideas and decision-making (as well as encouraging skills in how to respond creatively to a brief).
We’re excited to see what this year’s theme leads to. Over the next few weeks, our team will finish road testing their workshop ideas and activities, ready for filmmakers to join in from July.
You can also find a selection of films produced by young filmmakers during Sparks filmmaking summer camps on our YouTube channel here.