by Marcelo Teson, Teaching Artist
Youth Arts Festival 2011 Featured School – Del Valle Middle School
My film class at Del Valle Middle School has taken a huge leap forward with The Queen, a mockumentary-style comedy about two girls vying for the Valentine’s Day Queen crown. The fun thing about this film was that all the dialogue was improvised based on a basic plot skeleton. Shooting days consisted of:
- A quick review of what we were filming that day
- Several exploratory rehearsals of the scene, and
- Shooting in several takes to achieve the scene.
It’s been so awesome seeing the characters take shape as the students work with them and explore them.
By the end of shooting our actors were so comfortable with their characters and the process that they could comfortably improvise any kind of scene with them. We even hit a zone where actors were offering different improvisations and jokes per take, allowing the editors to choose the funniest bits and maximize the comedy of the film, something that is rare even on professional shoots. I have seen shy and nervous students become fearless with their explorations as actors and that fearlessness has carried over to the rest of their lives.
The Del Valle class has been a truly special group, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.