Filmmaking At Sparks Olney Is More Than Just Pressing Record
Our activities are very much 'hands-on ...
Posted by David Pibworth on 26/10/2021 @ 8:00AM
Whether you want to be in front or behind the camera, there is always a role for you here at Sparks Olney. There is far more to our filmmaking sessions than just pressing the record button. Our students get involved with trying out all roles, including Directing, photography, editing, screenwriting and even acting ...
If you would like to join a fun moviemaking training session,, come along to Sparks Olney!
All our classes are small, so each student can get what they need from each session. Our staff are well qualified, carefully trained and DBS checked. Our activities are very much hands-on and we encourage everyone to get fully immersed in the learning and fun.
"What equipment do we use?"
When filming, we use a variety of different equipment for our students to get a good all-around knowledge of the technical elements involved in making movies. For our age groups (9-14 years) we work with high-quality camcorders, or iPads, as well as equipment including tripods, clapperboards, green screens and lighting reflectors.
For editing, we tend to work with Macs using iMovie. We have so far had some brilliant film edits, with many including the group's favourite animation - the explosion! Our equipment is chosen for its accessibility/ease of use, along with its output quality and durability - e.g., the ability to withstand accidental drops!
Sparks Arts approach towards using this particular technology is to teach the skills required to use it well and adapt, rather than to train on particular models or setups that may date quickly, or that may not be widely available to learners outside of classes.
"What do students' film?"
We are currently in the process of getting to grips with the equipment and learning how to use it to its full potential to make great films. We will be starting our group project very shortly where our filmmakers will work together to produce at least one film production.
This will be based on their own ideas, and they'll take on all the creative responsibilities - ultimately, they will end up with a film production that showcases their skills and that they can feel proud of.
"Want to be part of Sparks Olney?"
If you have had experience of using any of the above equipment and would like to learn how to use it more skillfully, or you would like to join a fun moviemaking training session, then come along to one of our Sunday workshops. We have availability in our sessions from 10-12pm each Sunday at The Olney Centre. Join for a free trial to see how you like it. We're sure you'll want to come back.
David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.
David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.
He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.
He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.
This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.
David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.
He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!
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