Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Creative, It's Spooky

In Australia, we have a TV show called Spicks and Specks which is one of the few I watch. It's a quiz show about music. It's also much more than that. Last night, they introduced me to my new favourite choral group: The Spooky Men's Chorale.

"What has this got to do with literacy?" I hear you cry. Not much...except that the Spooky Men had a contest where they invited people to make a video clip using one of their songs. I want to show you two of the video clips. They have inspired me to make more of an effort to learn to use video to tell a story.

First place in their contest went to Ghost Riders.

I love those muppets, and the skill with which they did the scene transitions. It remained true to the song despite Australian landscape and mastodons.

Second place was actually my favourite: Don't Stand Between a Man and His Tool. The creator drew his pictures in Paint, and animated them with Adobe Premiere. It's a deceptively simple but clever rendition. You might want to check it first before your kids see it, but it didn't offend The Book Chook. I love the humour in this, and the way it stays true to the song, but also adds quirky details. The drawings might not be fine art, but they are certainly a fine example of communication that works.

I also love the Spooky Men version of Not Pretty Enough.

Music is such a powerful tool to spark creative activities like writing and art. Maybe your animation skills are on a par with mine, so you could settle for the easier path and help your child create a story with one of the many online story makers I mentioned this week. They will still be learning lots of skills - writing appropriate captions, choosing music, experimenting with order, titles and extras.

But if you have a video camera, why not explore some ways of creating a story with it? Ever since cavemen sat around a fire and told yarns, humans have been preoccupied with story. Aren't sculpture, dance, comics, poetry, photography, and book trailers all ways of transmitting some kind of story? Involving your kids in something like this allows them to experience the creative process as apprentices, and may very well lead to a deep and abiding love for all types of story later in their lives.

Meanwhile, I'm off to buy a Spooky Men CD.

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