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August 25, 2009

Indiana Alasdair and Lilith Croft, Tomb Raider (Making a history adventure movie with children)

My two eldest grandchildren are with me for their annual summer week with Grandma and Grandpa. This is when we enjoy genealogy treasure hunts, Cemetery Hunts, Genealogy Crossword puzzles and other fun Genealogy activities such as playing Ancestor Cards. My grandson, who is 11, is a history buff. He loves all things historical and genealogical. How great is that for a passionate genealogist to have a grandson she can pass the torch to!

We planned a Genealogy Time Capsule for this year's big event but we are not sure now if there will be time. Since we always make a movie with the kids (their choice) with Grandpa filming and offering suggestions to help them keep their thoughts organized, my role is usually during the brainstorming sessions. That's where I encourage them to write down their ideas for the plot, characters and costumes. It doesn't have to be lengthy, a page of jotted notes usually does the trick but they seem to enjoy it and it helps them stay on track.

This year we've decided to do a historically based adventure movie. It's based on the TerraCotta Soldiers found in China. These soldiers guarded the Emporer's Tomb. So the plot this year involves my grandchildren being archeologists who dig up a TerraCotta Army which is guarding a Chinese Emperor's Tomb. There is of course a curse attached to the disturbing of this Army and there will be many dangers facing the archeolgists.

Luckily I happen to have a Terracotta Army of Chinese soldiers (doesn't everyone??). I purchased them at various stores one summer to use for chessmen on my outdoor chessboard! They aren't full size but are about 2 to 3 feet tall. Making this movie will allow us to talk about history, about archeology and about China. We can even talk about different burial customs, so it touches on genealogy.

Our working title is Indiana Alasdair & Lilith Croft, Tomb Raider: The Army of Death This morning we are going to come up with ideas for the various scenes, the overall story line and costumes. I always get a small role in these movies, so am not sure what they will come up for me this year! Last year I was a grandmother who was turned into a zombie by a zombie dog (our dog Barley), but saved with a magic potion by a little girl (my granddaughter). The part required me to have fake blood dripping from my mouth and to stumble around our living room doing a zombie walk a la Michael Jackson. I hope this year my part will be a little easier and require less messy makeup!

This afternoon Grandpa will film them. This usually lasts several hours, there is lots of discussion on location, costumes, dialogue, etc. Often it extends to 2 OR 3 days of filming, then trying to keep the grandchildren entertained while Grandpa uses his computerized editing program to edit, add sound, credits and titles, then burn the movie to a CD ROM. The grandchildren take that home with them to show family. All in all it's a fun way to spend time with the kids, to talk about history or genealogy, and to introduce many educational aspects to a fun activity.


GeneaDiva said...

Very Cool Idea!

Ann said...

Awesome idea! Glad to see people are still engaging with their children and trying to challenge them rather than dropping them before the tv!

Shall we get to see the film too?