My company recently had the pleasure of filming a promotional video for a great non-profit preschool (yes, a non-profit, actual 501 (c)(3) preschool). I had met the Director of the Adam J. Lewis Preschool, Julie Mombello, during a totally unrelated project last year. And by “totally unrelated,” I mean she was tearing up the dance floor and bringing the audience to their feet during a “Dancing With the Stars” style fund raising event.
I met up with Julie and the founder of the school, Patty Lewis, at a cozy Bridgeport, CT restaurant to go over my ideas for the video and kick off pre-production. It was immediately apparent the wealth of knowledge and passion both women have for early childhood development – it really got me pumped up. Going into this project, I had next to no understanding of what preschool was about, and certainly didn’t think it was particularly all that important. It’s just like group babysitting, right? After listening to Julie & Patty for a half hour, my mind was changed.
As pre-production quickly turned to production and we were at the school with the kids, I saw the critical importance of preschool with my own eyes. These children will be at a great advantage when it’s time for kindergarten, having developed the basics of social skills, teamwork and even mathematics. I now wonder how much faster I would have advanced in life, and how much more successful I would be now had I attended preschool and had that early jump start.
Now I had never filmed with so many little kids before, so I called upon a friend who is a preschool teacher in New Jersey, and asked for tips. I was mainly concerned with them ignoring the camera so it all looked as natural as possible. As you can imagine, when you tell a 4-year-old not to look at the camera, what do they want to do? You guessed it.
I used her suggestions, with the most useful being the line, “Can you show me how you… (Insert whatever action I need from them for the shot).” These kids were very bright, eager to learn and so cute… They made for good on screen talent once they were distracted or completely engrossed in a task. Special thanks to Pam, who is officially the “Technical Advisor” on this project.
The day and a half shoot was educational for me and my crew, as well as for the children, who leaned a little about video production. At several points I would have some honorary crew members behind me, watching the monitor and seeing how I was filming their classmates. During one of the moments, they noticed that when they were standing in front of my monitor they couldn’t see themselves on camera (because they weren’t actually standing in front of the lens). They assumed it was some kind of magic trick, and I happily played along. My Production Assistant Diana also ended up being a bit of a behind the scenes photographer that day, and captured one of my favorite photos from set:
The final video premiered at a fund raising event for the preschool and was very well received. It has since been published to the school’s official YouTube page, where it continues to educate people around the country and the world the real value preschool has on children’s development. I’m really proud to have been a part of this. For more information, head on over to https://adamjlewispreschool.org.
Check it out their video for yourself here.