Monday, March 03, 2008

Back to school

It's the beginning of the school year, and I realized the other day that the kids in a kindergarten class I taught back in 2001, and who graduated in 2002, will start middle school today. Most of them I never saw again after they graduated. The other day I came across the photos that made up a 'silent film' I made as a graduation gift for them in 2002, and decided to make a digital copy of it.



I'd thought of trying to make a comic strip originally, mixing it with photos of the kids (which explains the black and white shots at the end), but in the end decided to shoot photos of the kids alternated with text, to make a kind of silent film. I'd made popsicles for them earlier (by putting grape juice into an ice cube tray, covering the tray with paper and taping it down, and poking toothpicks through the paper), which they had loved. I also had shots of them on a ride at an amusement park, and had photos of a trip I took to Jeju-do, so a story about a balloon ride to an island to recover stolen popsicles seemed, y'know, logical.

This was shot in between classes and practices for the big annual festival (where I had them sing and dance to "We're gonna have a real good time together," one of the Velvet Underground's more light-hearted songs) so I had to shoot it in little pieces here and there. Since I connected the camera to a VCR and recorded as I scrolled through the photos, they had to be shot in chronological order, so I'd had to plan it all out. I'm sure I still have the continuity sketches I made somewhere. The music was mixed in using a cd player and a discman connected to the VCR with a Y-connector composite cable - all very analog and lo-fi. I don't have a copy of the original video with me, so I was surprised I remembered what music I had used. This new version has one or two photos changed (one of Bucheon, and the one with Monster being zapped has a beam of light added to it), but otherwise it's the same as the version put to videotape in 2002 (barring the more elaborate transitions between photos).

Anyways, I have no idea where those kids are now; they were my favourite class at that academy, and I hope they manage to squeeze in some fun between studying and tests and hagwons over the next few years...

3 comments:

Joe in Korea said...

That was great. As a teacher, it was inspiring.

It was also nice to see Jamie's cameo.

matt said...

Ah, I never made the connection with your blog. We've never met, but if I'm right, this photo should look familiar...

Joe in Korea said...

HA--yes it does. I actually still live pretty close to there, yet so far away. If you follow that alley and jump over that apartment complex, you'll come to my apartment. Six years in Mok Dong.

You're right, I don't think we have met. I heard a lot about you when Jamie and I were living together, I did meet a few of his friends from Bucheon, but I don't remember names.
wait... Dieter springs to mind.

Small world, eh?