Movie Makers

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There is a constant rise and fall in technology, particularly when it comes to the arts.  Just as fads wax and wane, technology so quickly becomes obsolete, outdated, or unsupported.  Moore’s Law indicates that more and more transistors will be efficiently incorporated into future technology, such that the power of what we compute with today will be just a fraction of what we can compute with tomorrow…  So what to do with old technology?  Buy it up, at about $8 per Flip HD Video Camera.


When I was in high school, I made movies with my friends, as we all enjoyed creative writing and drama, and had easy access to modern film technology, through my friend’s dad, who was a photojournalism professor at Oregon State University, and later through my own camera (my “commission” for helping to sell my childhood home).  Our works ran the gamut, from slightly modified one-acts written by Shakespeare, to modifications of classic works by Kipling, to our own pieces.  We would spend hours and hours to generate a few minutes of quality work that was ultimately a smidge embarrassing but above all, something we could be proud of.  We entered a national video competition in 1991, and enacted a spoof on the then-popular Beverly Hills 90210 for our Baccalaureate in 1992.  One of my partners in creative crime went on to perform music on stage and splice print text as a newspaper editor, and another buddy has continued to write screenplays, participate in theatre and film productions, and has found great success in her nonprofit traveling summer Shakespeare company in Oregon (


I have wanted to make a Stroller Hikes promo video since seeing a couple YouTube videos on hiking with kids, on one of my rare forays onto YouTube.  Meeting an enthusiastic and very talented photographer at the recent Stroller Hikes birthday party, provided the perfect kick in the pants to try to assemble some footage.


I passed out Flip cameras to all kids three and older at our Toddler Trek at McClellan Ranch, and Swati snapped some amazing photos.  Not all kids took to the cameras – after about ten minutes, they had lost their allure, in favor of collecting sticks and looking for lizards (as it should be!).  But Maxwell Jankowski (below) took to the camera like it was a mystery to be solved, and later like filmmaking was a tool for perceiving the world, and he could gaze into the little digital screen any number of times, to capture the life around him.  He made movies of lizards, of people, and more.  And his mom, Melissa, tells me, the next day he was excited to make more movies.


I’m assembling footage and could use some help splicing it all together, if anyone has experience with modern movie making.  (If you’re interested, e-mail or apply through Serve Surfer at, using the Find An Opportunity Tool, and looking for Stroller Hikes.)  It will be nice to convey in pictures what one kind of event Stroller Hikes offers is like.  This work caused me to reflect on perception and representation, the two working hand in hand to convey meaning.  What can best convey the value of time with your kids, the Bay Area’s beautiful open spaces, and exploration and discovery?  Stay tuned, one take is in the works.


-Debbie, Max, and little Holly


p.s. Acknowledgement for the photos above and left from Swati, our very talented photographer.  We hope to be able to share the movies from the kids soon as well!

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