Lights, camera, action. 

The sounds of filmmaking filled the halls of the Delaware County Library in Jay this summer, as students took part in the third annual film camp.

Organized by Jamie Loy and Karen Alexander with the Delaware County Library, the multi-day camp is designed to teach students the basics of filmmaking, from table reads to the finished product.

This year's project revolved around the summer reading program's theme: Build A Better World, and involved creating a "mockumentary," a documentary style film, about creating a film.

From a fashionista to super hacker, students portrayed "Kid Geniuses," all who help make the world a better place.

Using a script, created by Joshua Miller from Zenawood Productions and Loy, the students created a 15 minute film. Priscilla Wenzel assisted Loy with the filming process. 

This is the third year Loy has organized the camp. The genesis for the camp came after Alexander learned about Loy's experience as an actor.

"I grew up around here and didn't really have an opportunity for film projects," Loy said, saying she let the desire "fester" until she "couldn't take it anymore."

"That experience made we want to give kids around here the opportunity."

The camp was completed with a small budget. Miller and Wenzel donated their time and equipment for the project.

Loy said the students designed their costumes, based on clothing available from their closets. Parents and others also helped with items as needed.

"I'm a firm believer in letting my staff make me look good," Alexander said with a laugh. "I want them to use their talents wherever they can.

"I want kids here to see that there's a big, great world out there, that they can be a part of, to grow and morph into new ways. I want them to realize what the possibilities are and how they are endless if they work hard."

Alexander said some of the students, who took part in the first camp, are now joining speech and debate classes at the high school. 

"I see this as a creative outlet for them," Alexander said. "Reading [the script] is a wonderful thing. But it's one component of who they are and how they express themselves. 

"This is a collaborative effort. They learn to work together, because in a scene, if you don't hold your composure or say your line on time, it impacts others. This was a great learning experience and really fun to watch them grow."

About the project

As the students learned about acting, Loy said she grew as a filmmaker watching Wenzel and Miller do their various tasks.

"I've learned different camera angles, and learned to edit and shoot better," Loy said. "I had a vision in my head of what I wanted out of the performers. I learned what to do to get what I saw, as well as several other ways to encourage the students' performances.

"A lot of the [scenes] they did on their own, we used in the film."

Miller joined Loy in the project after he was recruited by Alexander - who learned of his filmmaking experience during a Friends of the Library program.

Miller said writing a script for child actors was different than his usual projects which involve horror and suspense, especially when it involved a variety of professions.

"I had to find a balance between reality and humor," Miller said. "Jamie gave it the heart."

Miller said he also needed to adjust his thoughts concerning comedy, especially for a student-based audience rather than adults.

"I learned what makes kids laugh and adults laugh are two different things," Miller said. 

For Wenzel, the filming experience pulled from her broadcast news reporting background, because many of the shots were set up like a newsroom.

"The kids all did an amazing job," Wenzel said. "They were easy to shoot because they were serious about their roles. 

"I was expecting a lot more goofing off, but they were serious about it."

Miller said the students provided a fun project, which he estimates took more than 14 hours to develop the script, at least 14 hours to shoot and an additional 20-plus hours to edit.

"They don't know it, because they didn't watch old slapstick comedy, but there's classic things in their acting," Miller said. "It's there and it's great to see."

Loy agreed, adding the project changed throughout the camp.

"I gave them the script a week in advance, and told them how I saw the character," Loy said "It morphed into something completely different than what I saw in my head, because of some of their performances [based on] how they would get into character."

Alexander said she was impressed with the final product.

"I never dreamed that we could get kids, who knew nothing on day one, to develop a 15 minute project in three weeks," Alexander said. "It's amazing. They all worked together to make things work."