About this project
The essence of PLAY is perspective. If a child’s view of playtime can evoke a memory, could a whole playground at play -- simultaneously, from every point of view -- recall, in the adult heart, a personal history of youth?
PLAY aims to conjure (not merely capture) our shared memories of playing together by creating a pastiche of experience. A dozen children will play in a New York City playground, doing whatever they like, however they please, and with whomever they wish to play. Each child will wear a GoPro camera recording what she or he sees and does and hears; more perspectives will be gained from static cameras inside the playground, camera operators outside the grounds, and perhaps even an aerial view.
The resulting footage will be combed, grouped, combined, split, and recombined into PLAY, a short film exploring the themes of childhood play, curiosity, friendship, estrangement, competition, physicality, triumph, frustration, and genius.
Many narratives will weave inside, throughout, and out of PLAY, just as they do in the lives of children. No matter how grand or complex the ideas, PLAY will remain grounded in the real: kids having fun together. And kids and adults alike should experience PLAY as a reminder of that pure joy, from any perspective.
Risks and challenges
The first major challenge we'll face in making PLAY will be the complex logistics of arranging an efficient, secure shoot on a New York City playground with dozens of children. Some will wear cameras, some will just play, and all should have fun and act as naturally as possible. In addition to numerous support and technical crew, we'll also have parents and guardians on set, not to mention interested passerby. Maintaining good relations with the community while taking over their playground for a day is absolutely critical to our success, so we'll spend a lot of time on outreach and informational work in addition to planning and setup for the shoot itself.
Fortunately, Chris Mohney has extensive experience managing complex projects, including photo and video productions on set and location. (In fact, his first scripted short film had a cast of 40 children.) Sky Dylan-Robbins is also an accomplished documentary filmmaker, skilled in producing and shooting freelance and commercial productions. Months of planning and tests have already been logged to make sure PLAY's shoot day runs as smoothly as possible.
The second major challenge will be refining a vast amount of source footage into a coherent, compelling, and entertaining short film. In addition to her talents in production and directing documentaries, Sky is an exacting editor whose high standards of quality will insure a sharp edit for PLAY's final cut. Both Chris and Sky are narrative and visual fanatics of the first order, so the prospect of working with many hours of video excites us tremendously. We're looking forward to sculpting PLAY out of such excellent raw materials.
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We have a very detailed budget for PLAY. To make shoot prep efficient and safe, we plan to purchase the GoPros (as well as the cases, mounts, extra batteries, and memory cards) as well as some large-capacity storage for backing up and working with the footage. All the other equipment and accessories will be rented. We'll be hiring freelance production staff in terms of assistants, a location manager, and a camera operator (for non-GoPro coverage), plus a logger to help in post-production. Finally there will be some expenses related to permits and insurance for the shoot day.
Our plan is to acquire a filming permit for a New York City public playground, allowing us to control the location for the shoot. All the kids -- wearing cameras or not -- will be volunteers for PLAY, and will be participating with their parents' written permission. Kids from the neighborhood will be especially welcome! No one will be filmed who doesn't want to be, and we'll be working with the community to make sure everyone's happy with the project before we begin.
Absolutely! We've already had a number of intriguing sponsorship/patron conversations about PLAY, and we'd love to hear your ideas. Drop us a line at email@example.com and we'll discuss how we can work together.