Mitchell Adams, 9, fine tunes his film at an editing bay in a classroom at Southwestern Elementary School. Mitchell and other students at the “Lights, Camera, Action!” videography camp produced their own short films and debuted them for their families this week. Each camper developed an idea, wrote a screenplay, chose actors, directed and edited their own work with the help of camp leader Shannon Dattilo. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Mitchell Adams, 9, fine tunes his film at an editing bay in a classroom at Southwestern Elementary School. Mitchell and other students at the “Lights, Camera, Action!” videography camp produced their own short films and debuted them for their families this week. Each camper developed an idea, wrote a screenplay, chose actors, directed and edited their own work with the help of camp leader Shannon Dattilo. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
"Quiet on the set," Shannon Dattilo announces to her small class Thursday at Southwestern Elementary School. "Here we go."

Seconds later, she clicks the computer mouse and Trenton Albus launches into a series of voiceovers for his short, how-to film about making a paper airplane.

"Step 1: Fold the paper in half," Trenton says, projecting his best narrator's voice.

The voiceover marked the final preparations for Dattilo's summer two-week film program. In just an hour, her classroom would transform into a movie theater - stocked with popcorn and drinks - as her students held a special premiere for their families.

"The parents kept saying it's all they're talking about all day at home," Dattilo said after the showing.

Dattilo, a Southwestern elementary teacher, created Southwestern Jefferson County School Star Production program two years ago to introduce students to video and editing programs, but this is her first summer camp.

The program included eight students from Hanover, Madison and Trimble County. Each child created a 2-5 minute film, controlling everything from the script to the final editing tweaks.

"That gave them each the opportunity to be creative in their own way," Dattilo said.

Did they ever.

The films included how-to tutorials, cooking segments, a comedy covering the debate between books and movies and funny parodies about the well-known character Frankenstein.

The students all were third-through-fifth graders, and each of their videos has been uploaded to the SWJCS Star Productions YouTube page.

The class began two weeks ago with lessons on basic film and writing techniques. Each day, the students spent three hours learning about film and editing and how to write screenplays.

"Basically, I was able to teach my 9-week course in nine days," Dattilo said.

The students also were treated to special activities like creating their own Hollywood Walk of Fame in the school hallway and taking a field trip to WAVE 3 studios in Louisville.

For the projects, once the students completed their scripts, each had to cast actors, memorize lines and direct the entire production - from the set makeup to the actors' line delivery.

Colin Foy's movie "It's Alive," is a comedy twist on Frankenstein, with some elements of Star Wars. Colin played the character of Frankenstein, who awakens surrounded by his master. But Frankenstein is not nearly as terrifying as his reputation would suggest.

Another summer camper, Mitchell Adams wrote a script called "Terrible Test," which follows a student's journey to pass an exam for the ultimate reward of recess.

Mitchell, an E.O. Muncie Elementary School student, wrote the script in Dattilo's camp and set up every camera shot in the film.

He said his favorite movies are from the Star Wars franchise. "I have seen all them quite a few times," he said.

Mitchell acted in some of the films but said he enjoyed directing a bit more.

"I liked the behind-the-scenes stuff," he said.