For many, summer is often associated with camp and quintessential camp activities like swimming, making s’mores and telling ghost stories.
Last week, a group of nine students in Pocahontas County took telling ghost stories a step further, by learning how to make short, animated films at Monster Movie Camp.
On the last day of Monster Movie Camp, the students were standing at their workstations, hurriedly putting the final touches on the illustrations for their film. Molly Cook was drawing the shape of a funny looking monster with a magic marker.
“I just like drawing. I’m only 10. I’m the youngest person in this class," she said. She made a short, animated film, about a legendary cryptid from Braxton County, known as the Flatwoods Monster.
After drawing the images, or creating a set with sculpture, the students used iPads to film their movies. They spent days working on their small sets and filming their stop-action animation.
Many of the students said they signed up partly because they like to draw. Jesse Kelly said he likes theatre, and performing, and he wanted to learn to make movies as another creative outlet.
“I think I surprised myself on some of the things that I did because I didn’t think I could do it that good," Kelly said. "Like, once I watched it, it was better than I thought it would be."
The Pocahontas County Opera House hosted the five-day Monster Movie Camp. Artist Bryan Richards and writer Howard Parsons also helped teach the students how to animate stories.
On the final day of camp, the students showed their parents their films, which were projected on a big screen inside the Pocahontas Opera House.
In the interest of full disclosure, Roxy Todd, who reported this story, is friends with Brooke Shuman, who organized the camp.