Several months ago, I began working with Roads End Entertainment (they also put on the International Family Film Festival - IFFF) in a pilot program teaching filmmaking to kids at elementary and middle schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The pilot program was a great success, and we followed up that initial semester with a week-long Film Camp at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. We just finished yesterday.
I had the opportunity to work with kids that were more advanced in their passion for filmmaking - a group of six very creative young filmmakers from 13 to 17 that brought to the task at hand (making a 3-5 minute film on the theme of "tolerance") unique skills and experience that resulted in a great film.
Having made films since I was eleven years old, I had a great deal of fun watching the process, as these kids - who began the week as strangers - learn to work with each other to develop, shoot and edit their film. As a boy, I enjoyed the opportunity to create a team, and lead my friends through the experience. The Film Camp gave these teens the chance to appreaciate and benefit from each other. For some kids, it was a rare opportunity to work with other like-minded people. Often, creative kids are surrounded by people who don't understand them - at the Film Camp, both mentors (all of us are filmmakers) and kids understand.
I have to admit, I had at least as much fun as the kids. And it probably meant as much to me, as well. As Oscar Hammerstein wrote in The King and I, "If you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught."