Munich in a Minute
by Chris Schuepp, UNICEF, Germany
20 children and teenagers, 5 days, 20 films: The OneMinutesJr project stopped in Bavaria in March 2008. Young people from Munich and surroundings spent the second week of their Easter vacation in a video production workshop organized by PRIX JEUNESSE, IZI, UNICEF and the One Minutes Foundation from Amsterdam, and supported by the City of Munich.
The workshop topic was “Building bridges – This is my Munich,” so participants were asked for creative ideas about the city they live in, that could be shaped into very short movies. Every single film had to be exactly one minute long.
On Day 1, the trainers presented examples from other countries to put participants into the right mindset and demonstrate what is possible in just 60 seconds. The children learned different fi lming and editing styles and how they change a story. The next step was an individual “mind-mapping“ in which participants developed the basic ideas for their own films. They then presented their ideas to the trainers, who gave advice on giving the stories a different spin, making the visuals more intriguing, arranging the shots and fi nding the sounds they needed. This is the most important step in the process, because unless the idea is well drafted and clearly defined, it is hard to tell a compelling story in only 60 seconds.
Day 2 was spent arranging props. Imagine recreating Oktoberfest in the middle of March! Teens Franz and Justus organized their Lederhosen and Weisswurst, then set up in freezing cold and snow in the deserted “Wiesn.” Munich’s “Isar Monster” – truly a rival to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster – now exists in a OneMinuteJr video, but first it had to be bought at a local toy store. Next came arranging the participants into groups, accompanying them to the set, and supporting them with camera work to make sure that everything on the shot list is done and can be used in the editing process.
The trainers worked to ensure that the children did as much as possible by themselves. OneMinuteJr is not just a participatory process; the children are encouraged to take charge, motivate and help each other. As a result, the two filming days were packed with action, trying to get as much as possible done despite the bad weather, and before editing started.
The trainers did the editing, but the young producers were always nearby to make sure their ideas, best shots and story-boards were followed. It’s impossible to teach editing in such a short time, so instead we provided insight into how things work and how pictures are assembled, enough for children to follow up the workshop with more fi lming and editing later on at home. The films were completed just in time.
A minute before Maya Goetz – head of PRIX JEUNESSE - began the workshop’s closing ceremony, the trainers ran into the screening room with all the films assembled on a laptop. The participants and their parents and friends, city officials, TV producers, PRIX JEUNESSE staff and even the trainers were stunned when they saw the full package for the first time. The city of Munich was revealed from many different angles, funny and serious, all produced by the children themselves in just 5 days. Bayerischer Rundfunk’s youth programme sent “talent scouts” to meet the young filmmakers; city officials promised to show the films at Munich’s 850th anniversary celebration.
The films are all available on the OneMinutesJr website.