Lights, Camera, Action (Take 1 of 3) – Filmmaking 101 for Pinedale and Big Piney Elementary Students

The Pinedale Fine Arts Council (PFAC) is working with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival for the second year in a row on an artist in residency project for the month of April. This project involves myself (meet me, Ellen Yeatman, the newest addition to the JHWFF staff) and Leigh Reagan, an independent documentary filmmaker based out of Jackson, going to Pinedale every Monday and Big Piney every Tuesday for the month of April where we will be teaching the art of filmmaking to various elementary school classes.  PFAC is graciously funding this project and their board members, Dorothy Grove and her husband Chuck, are letting Leigh and I sleep at their house every Monday night!


(Leigh teaching 5th graders of Big Piney Elementary)


(Leigh teaching 3rd graders of Pinedale Elementary)

Now, if you don’t know where Pinedale and Big Piney are located, these two towns are about 2 hours southeast of Jackson.  Leigh picked me up bright and early on Monday morning to make the drive down to Pinedale. The blizzard that decided to hit the day after the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed (typical sassy weather) slowed us down a bit, but we made it just in time to pass out the cameras to the first class of 4th graders, give them a little technical filming advice, and head outside for a little fun in the … snow!



(Pinedale Elementary provided us with five Kodak Easy Share cameras!)


It was obvious that this class had done this last year. The assignment this year is a little different though. The students are going to write a poem about nature and relate their words to the images they capture on video.  In Pinedale, we taught three classes from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. In Big Piney, we taught two full 5th grade classes, approximately 40 students in all. The Big Piney classes had never done a film project like this before so it was rewarding to see how much fun they were having. Luckily, Big Piney had iPads for everyone so we had enough cameras for each student! The camera on the iPad is a surprisingly good camera.


(The camera on the iPad is a surprisingly good camera!)


Next class they will be using the iMovie program on all the iPads to edit their videos. Thank you Big Piney Elementary School!


(Me helping out a fifth grader from Big Piney Elementary!)


Both Monday and Tuesday classes flew by. Leigh and I took a look at some of the footage and the kids really got some good footage despite the snow and very cold weather! A lot of the kids had very creative point of views, which was so exciting to see. There is a lot of potential in these videos!

Next class, we will be recording each student reading their creative piece. I can’t wait to hear what the kids wrote about nature.

I’ll let you know next week how the editing classes go! Until next time . . . Cut!

Ellen Yeatman


2 thoughts on “Lights, Camera, Action (Take 1 of 3) – Filmmaking 101 for Pinedale and Big Piney Elementary Students

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