Yesterday we discussed Lunatics, an animated science fiction webseries about the first private colonists on the moon. It’s well worth a look for anyone into science fiction or good storytelling.
Today I interviewed Brick Maier about his Tabletop Moviemaking Studio and thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts on storytelling and how he’s working to teach kids storytelling. Brick, who is a teacher and has made a documentary in Haiti, began developing his tabletop moviemaking method after seeing examples of Victorian Toy Theater and set about making something like it to help teach filmmaking and storytelling to kids.
He began developing the tabletop technique in 2005, working with groups of kids with DV cameras and firewire, but things really took off when Brick recognized the potential for tablets to really make everything feel natural. The proscenium at the front of the kit is just about the same size and shape as a modern tablet.
The tabletop technique is offers two really great things. It lets kids focus on storytelling and iterate through several projects really quickly, and it gives a nice overview of the entire process by letting kids look down on everything from a birds eye view. In a two hour session, kids can make a one minute story, reflect on that for a week (or just watch some TV and movies for “research”!), and come back the next week and make something new based on what they’ve learned since the last time. It takes away the logistics and boils everything down to the story, the tablet, and the little set on the table.
Watch the whole interview, and check out his Kickstarter campaign. The project has already met its funding goal, and he’s excited for even more people to benefit from his kits.
David Jordan, signing off.