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Making Fun Home Movies That Won’t Bore Your Friends

Posted by on May 14, 2013

(OR How We Made An Epic Bible Movie In Less Than An Hour. Take That, Cecil B. Demille!)

The 8mm camera. My dad had one. If you’re my age, your dad probably had one. If a guy in the 60s and 70s wanted to make a movie of a party or vacation, he took out that 2 pound hunk of steel, plastic and glass. Memories captured in 5 minute chunks.

Thankfully, the 8mm has gone the way of the buggy whip. Say, “Hello smartphone movie!”

Because this blog is equal parts opining, ruminating AND autobiography, let me tell you how we made our epic cinematic debut …

David vs. Goliath (In Our Living Room)

Last Sunday (Mother’s Day), after church, we’re sitting around the house. We had planned on going to our church’s evening service, but our soon to be two year old son’s slight fever nixed that. Junior, my six year old son, was eager to do something. See the way I put “to do something” in italics? The discriminating reader has already discerned that means his eagerness was at the level that only an ALL BOY six year old can muster.

He wanted to do things like “weed whacking” or “build something” or “shoot the .22”. Those are the actual things he suggested.


* ‘merica, noun, (mair’-ick-uh)an American man’s response to another man saying something manly, uplifting a.k.a. Old School.
Example — First man, “When another kid rudely bumped into my wife, my six year old son got in his face and told him to watch his step.”
Second man, ” ‘merica.”

Wanting a calmer, Presbyterian-friendly, Sunday afternoon experience, I came up with this idea.


With four sons and a wife that indulges my goofiness, we were on our way. I decided to give my cinematic interpretation — don’t worry, I’m not going Hollywood — to the account of David vs. Goliath.

Why David vs. Goliath?
It’s from the Bible, so it’s perfect fodder for Sunday afternoon.
It’s a story the kids know.
There are enough parts for all four of my sons.
It has a giant and weapons. Boys love giants and weapons.

First step: You need a story

Because this was a spontaneous thing, writing a story wasn’t the way to go. It may be in the future, and that will make for some fun writing sessions with the kids and the Smokin’ Hot Wife.

Not writing a story obviously meant we would go with a pre-existing story. We do regular bed time stories, but Bible accounts are the stories the kids know the best. While we quickly settled on David vs. Goliath (yeah, I know it’s usually phrased David AND Goliath, the “vs.” just sounds manly) there are other stories I think would be great for future movies — Noah, Wall of Jericho …probably going to avoid Phinehas for a while.

Second step: Plan the shots aka story boarding

I made a list of the scenes in the movie.

Here they are:
1. Goliath taunting Israel
2. King Saul afraid
3. David volunteers
4. King Saul asks David to wear his armor.
5. The armor doesn’t fit David.
6. David gets fives smooth stones …
7. … and a slingshot (I was somewhat loose in my definition of slingshot and opted for a wrist rocket)
8. Goliath taunts David
9. David shoots
10. Goliath is hit (This was done by lightly sticking the “stone” to my son’s head with tape and having him jerk his hid to get it off. Then I played the footage backwards in the movie.)
11. Goliath is down and David thanks the Lord.

Third step: secure the props

You’ll see in the movie, we just improvised with stuff around the house.

Fourth step: shoot the movie

Keep it fun. Don’t care how much footage “ends up on the editing room floor”. That’s most of the fun.

Fifth step: edit a.k.a. Dad plays with iMovie.

I think the actual shoot took about 30 minutes, the editing took a little more. Simple fun stuff with plenty of cheesy sound effects.

Sixth step: Make some popcorn and watch it.

Is our “movie” a minute and thirty-two seconds of art? Will you find it boring? Maybe. But that’s not the point. The point is to get you to make your own movies with your kids. This was seriously fun, family-bonding stuff. And it sure didn’t hurt to have another way to talk about God with my kids. That’s about as Old School as it gets.

Want to see our epic?

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Keep It Old School, My Friend

The Old Man

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