In response to DIY Movie Making Month, one of our readers, Angela Sheehan, sent us this wonderful little movie she made with her (then six-year-old) sister:

This is a stop-motion collage I made, based on drawings by my little sister (six years old at the time). Back in 2005, I was studying animation and taking classes in childhood development/learning and wanted to combine the two. I decided to make a movie with her over Thanksgiving break. I gave her some paper and crayons and asked her to write me a story. I took some video of her drawing and showing her grandparents the story and describing it to them. It was fun to see how she told the story differently to each person and all the little details she included when asked about different parts of the drawings. Back at school, I scanned her drawings in and printed out copies that I then animated to her narration. My dorm room was a giant mess of paper and a camera for about a week. It was a blast. I showed her the finished product over my winter break and she loved it. I would’ve loved to involve her more in the actual animation process, but my school was too far away.

Getting kids involved in rendering their stories and ideas in a more permanent, “high-bandwidth” way, is a great way to bring a sense of importance to their ideas, get them making and being creative, and just a fun way to engage with them. Or as Angela put it: “This project is part documentation, part observation and interest in children’s imagination, and part sisterly bonding.” And you have an awesome keepsake when you’re done that you’ll all cherish as they grow older.

To create The Three Girls, Angela used paper cutouts, animated using iStopMotion, with animated text and compositing in Adobe AfterEffects, and editing in FinalCut Express. [Thanks, Angela!]

The Three Girls

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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