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The Order of Oddfish

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Lucy Momo’s Summer 2018 Movies

September 30, 2018

This summer my nine-year-old daughter Lucy, with the help of her little sister Ingrid and their neighborhood friends, made a lot of original videos. It was so much fun, and they all took to it like naturals! I taught Lucy how to use a camera and how to edit on iMovie, and then she was off and running on her own as though she’d been doing it all her life. These movies are seriously good. They all have a lot to be proud of!

For the first few videos, I helped Lucy with green screen effects and some editing tips. But after a while she was running the whole show herself: planning the stories, marshaling her friends, shooting and directing the videos, and then editing them. We decided to do them mostly as “silent” movies, and for background music we used the Kevin MacLeod’s royalty-free music available at Incompetech.com (which is also a great resource for those of you who are interested in making movies for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival).

Here’s the first movie Lucy made, with friends and next-door neighbors Aedan and Ella. It’s called “The Box.” A mysterious note thrown through the window leads two bored friends out to seek treasure in the nearby park. But what they find is perhaps more than they bargained for!

The acting is great in this one, especially Ella’s decisive manner and Aedan’s idiosyncratic expressions of worry and confusion—they do a lot of great silent-movie acting here! The random kids in the park were a nice touch as well. Lucy really shot this with style and edited it together very crisply. (I helped with the green-screen touch at the end, inside the box.)

Lucy’s next project featured her sister Ingrid, Aedan’s sister Rosie, and their friend Clara as a royal procession in “The Coins.” Lucy herself also makes a cameo as their opponent—I had to hold the camera for those scenes. What happens when a wandering princess, her tough-girl guard, and her ukulele-strumming bard happen upon a mysterious trail of magical coins?

That were a couple of great swordfights in there! I loved how Rosie the guard grew in her swordsmanship over the course of the story, how Clara the bard enthusiastically wielded her ukulele as a kind of weapon, and how Ingrid the princess’s dramatic expressions and actions drove the story! Lucy managed to make the music synch up with the action very well in the edit, and she did great double duty as the maniacal “Keeper of the Coins.” Epic!

Lucy’s next movie, “Spoiled Milk,” might have the most elaborate post-production work, although in a way it’s the simplest story. Aedan and Ella are thirsty for milk, but there’s none in the house. The easy, straightforward solution: walk to the corner store and buy some more milk. But it doesn’t turn out to easy or straightforward . . .

Who knew a trip to the corner store could be so perilous? Once again Aedan and Ella boost the production’s quality with their inimitable acting styles. We got super-lucky with a few of the shots, especially when that bicycle zoomed by at precisely the correct comic moment. I helped only with some of the green-screen effects and a few of the later shots. But in total, this movie was mostly conceived, shot, and edited by Lucy. Don’t worry, we didn’t waste any milk at the end! We emptied out that milk carton and used water mixed with white watercolor paint for that ironic final shot.

After “Spoiled Milk,” Lucy began to make the movies entirely without my input. She’d disappear with her camera and her friends for a while, and I’d really only see the final product after she was done editing. Here’s her first 100% solo movie, “The Water.” It’s about a boy (again played by Aedan) who is trying to drink from his water bottle . . . but the water bottle has the odd habit of magically teleporting around the park. Will Aedan catch his water bottle? And once he does, will he manage to drink water from it?

I especially liked that fun twist ending! Once again Aedan does some great acting, especially since the movie has no dialogue and he has no partner to interact with. Lucy gets right in there with tightly-framed shots and brisk editing. And I like the way she shot it so that the leaping water glistens in the sunlight at the end!

Here’s another movie Lucy made with only one actor. This time it’s Ella and the movie is called “Crazy Wind.” When Ella is playing in the backyard in a big cardboard box, a massive gale blows the box away, with Ella in it. But to where? And how can Ella get back home?

My favorite parts in this are the Raiders Of The Lost Ark-style movement across the map, and the clever matching cut between Ella flying off the swing, and her landing back in her own yard. The part where the whole box “takes off” into the air was resourcefully done too!

Lucy shot most of these movies in our neighborhood in Chicago, but she shot this next one in Michigan. It features Ingrid again, along with Ezra and Zella, our friends who used to live in our neighborhood but have since moved a bit north. It’s a tale of a young boy and girl who find each other on a beautiful beach . . . but their relationship is threatened by a maniacal seaside witch. What will happen, O viewers at home, on “Terror Beach”?

Great choice of music, beautiful shots of the water, and another exciting fight scene! Everyone did a great job acting, and Lucy shot it at just the right time of day when the sunlight makes everything look magical. I especially love Ezra’s ludicrous dance at the end, and Ingrid’s reaction to it!

Here’s Lucy’s final movie of the summer . . . or actually, this one was shot in the fall, but I wanted to include it in this post anyway. Lucy shot this movie with her familiar actor-partners Aedan and Ella and Ingrid, plus newcomers Lucy D and her sister Joy. In “Who Farted?”, it’s a difficult case for the Inspector as a rogue fart disturbs the party. Is the skunk at fault? Or is it one of the partygoers?

The mysterious black-and-white filter was a nice touch. Everyone did a great job here, and I laughed out loud when the “Fart Inspector” burst into the scene, intent on solving the case. And another great match of music to movie!

What a hilarious, impressive, fun batch of movies! I’m eager to see what else Lucy and Ingrid and their friends create this fall . . . and winter . . . and beyond!