Look! My son and I built a giant green-screen. Why? No reason at all. OK. There’s a reason. Back when I was doing alot of writing, I bought myself a writing desk and a very nice and fast computer. I put that writing desk and computer in my bedroom (so I’d have a retreat where I could write away from everyone). The computer is still there …in my bedroom. It’s a nice computer. All the kids use it for homework. I use it for all my music and family video files and fast Internet computing. And my son uses it for gaming (and when I say “gaming”, I mean for Minecraft). Playing Minecraft and watching others play Minecraft. If you know a boy somewhere between the ages of 8 and 14, you’ll know the second best thing to playing Minecraft is watching videos on YouTube of other people playing Minecraft and making all sorts of funny comments. If you’re over the age of 20, you and I both think that’s ridiculous.
But …stay with me. Sometime around Thanksgiving I saw J.J. Abrams (director of the new Star Wars and many, many other awesome things) and he talked about being young and “not much into sports” but rather into making skits and borrowing his parent’s video camera and making funny movies. At the same time, my son was asking, “how can I make a video of my screen,” and, “can I have YouTube channel to make Minecraft videos?” Now, some parents would say, “no, get outside and run around,” or they might laugh off the whole thing and call it, “too much video games and computer and screen time.”
I’m choosing, instead, to look at it as my son exploring his creative side. I asked him what his vision for the YouTube channel is. Why he wants one? And then asked, “how can I help?”
Back to what I was saying . . . he has a webcam and he Skypes with his friends and my bedroom is in the background, so the green-screen was sorta born of the idea I don’t want to have his friends looking in on my bedroom. But the other thing is, it’s allowed us …together …to build it, figure out how to layer video-image sources, take out the “green” and do all sorts of fun things. We worked together to figure out how to properly light it so his bedroom is like a little mini TV studio. Yes. Last weekend we went to a fabric store and hardware store and for $13, got everything we needed to build the green-screen.
*** Note: There’s a sinister motive behind this, too. It’s my idea that the computer should be downstairs in our family room in a little area that is set-off from the rest of the room and makes a nice little office. My wife disagrees. Perhaps having to navigate around a giant green-screen in our bedroom will change her mind. Heh, heh, heh. I’m a jerk.
We did it! 2016 is already a success. Look at my son’s first attempt. I hope the Golden Globes are paying attention. This kid is on his way.