Activity Days Idea #5

Under Learning and Living the Gospel one of the goals is to “Tell a story from the Book of Mormon that teaches about faith in Jesus Christ. Share your testimony of the Savior.” I suggested to the girls that we make a movie. They liked that idea. From this side of doing this activity there are a lot of things I would do differently, so for this post I’ll share what we did, and then outline what I would change on the next go around.

First we sat around the kitchen table and made a list of Book of Mormon stories that we thought taught faith in Jesus Christ, then they voted/debated/bargained with each other to pick which one we would do. They picked the story of Nephi getting the brass plates from Laban.

Then we got out some Books of Mormon, looked up that story in the index, and started reading through the story. I acted as scribe and led them through the process of turning the story into a script. This process probably helped them understand the events in this story better than they ever had before. After we finished making a script, I made a list of all the characters and asked them if they had any preference about who they would play. In our case there were more characters than girls so that worked out fairly well- every girl got a part and by doubling up on smaller parts all the girls got a fair amount of screen time.

There was a slightly awkward moment where one girl suggested that we recruit my sons and and some other boys to play the male parts in the story so they wouldn’t have to ‘cross dress.’ I responded, “If we did that then there would be no parts for you guys.” We then had a short discussion about the history of cross dressing in theatrical performances, and the scarcity of female characters in the Book of Mormon.

The script writing process took up a whole hour rather handily, and the prospect of them acting out the script kept them on task remarkably well. I typed up the script and passed them out copies at church for them to learn their lines. It was very optimistic of me to think they’d memorize their lines. But the way we ended up filming it (a few lines at a time) made up for the lack of memorization.

I had plans on filming the whole thing at the next activity, but weather interfered. Twice. So we didn’t start filming until a month later and lots of girls missed that particular activity, so we had to wait to film several of the scenes until later. While filming I taught them some general principles of performance (always face the camera, speak loudly, over-pronounce your words, If you aren’t on stage BE QUIET, if you are on stage stay in character!). I also taught them a few stage fighting techniques which they really, really enjoyed. (All those years of doing summer plays are paying off!)

When we finished filming I used the film editing software that came with my computer to to splice the best cuts together into a movie. If you don’t have this sort of software yourself, ask around, someone in your ward might. If not there are some open source, free programs out there that you could try.

In our case, my camera was broken and I didn’t notice until we were done filming. All the footage we filmed had no audio. So I made it sepia toned, added a piano soundtrack, dialog slides and made it into a silent film. When it was done we popped some popcorn and watched it together. Three times in a row. They liked it a lot.

All in all we used up about 5 meetings on this one project. 1 for the script, 3 for filming, and 1 for watching.
What I would do differently next time is, first make sure my camera worked before we started filming. Then I would have probably would have gone the dictator route and picked the story myself. Nephi and the brass plates wasn’t the easiest thing to script, or film. And lots of the “faith in Christ” aspects were lost in the telling. The last thing I would have done differently would be to have one (extra long) activity in the afternoon and film the whole thing in one go.

This is the activity that they have requested to do again most often.


Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. lyn says:

    What a fun idea. My son (9) received an iPod touch for Christmas and I’ve been a little surprised at how much he’s enjoyed taking videos.

    Coincidentally, my husband and I were just talking about the story of Nephi / Laban the other day. In my freshman Book of Mormon course the instructor told us that if we hadn’t struggled with that story, then we hadn’t really considered it. I was within my first month at BYU, and really took offense! At the time, I had no problem with the story (I had heard it all my life). Now looking back on it I appreciate her comments and do think it is a story we should wrestle with. Interesting that your Activity Day girls would choose that story – and I agree, maybe the dictator route is better when choosing the story 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    What a fun idea, and thanks for the ideas on how to make it better next time!

  3. EmilyCC says:

    I did some movie making activities as a YW and didn’t feel like I got a whole lot out of them, but then again, it was mostly the leaders saying, “Go…make a movie.” And, we were set loose.

    So, I appreciate how you took the time to guide them through the story reading and acted as the scribe. I think that would have helped me as a youth to see the big picture and stay more focused.

  1. February 1, 2011

    […] in a basket, by FlagstaffotosIn my last post I mentioned that, due to weather, we had to postpone filming our movie twice. Which means that […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.