As a father, I make it a priorit to actively involve times that require me to bond with my family. I make it a priority to make myself available and to come up with things to do that require interaction, conversation and working together. Families don’t get close by chance or by happening to have children who all want to be close. They get close because someone actively encouraged that closeness.
With that said, here’s an idea that will be a blast for our family. Try making a movie together. Don’t worry, you shouldn’t aim for Gone with the Wind or Citizen Kane your first time out. Just have a lot of fun, and don’t take it too seriously.
First, everyone should decide what kind of movie to make. You could choose a comedy, action movie, monster movie, or anything you like.
The preparation you need, as well as the division of labor for movie production, is mostly dependant on the age and ability level of your kids. The younger they are, the more you will end up doing. Remember to keep the complexity of the movie appropriate to the age of your children. For the youngest kids, you may want to keep the plot really simple, and plan to film the story in only one or two scenes. Another good idea with young kids is to film a story that they are already well familiar with. You could do a film adaptation of a nursery rhyme, or a fairy tale. You could do Little Red Riding Hood, for example. If your child knows the story well, then you can film each scene with just a simple reminder of what comes next in the story before each take.
If your children are older, they may want to try writing their own movie. They can write a simple script, and cast the family members into the different roles. They can even begin to direct the performances of all the actors. (A fun thing to do can be to intentionally botch the performance and let little Spielberg correct your error)
After you’re done filming, you may need to edit the bad takes out (if you’ve taken multiple takes of the same scene). Your kids can help by choosing which take to keep for the movie, and which to omit. After this has been completed, you can transfer the film onto video, DVD, or onto your computer’s hard drive.
Remember, the older your kids are, the more responsibility they can take for the film.
Have fun, and see you at the Academy Awards!