They're all stars at Cub Scout day camp

Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2003

The film director plunged her hand into a plastic bag and pulled out a mask with feathers erupting from it like flames, but the young actor wasn't sure he wanted it. Ditto the big, furry bearclaw slippers.

"I'm just saying it's kind of weird and neat," director Rebecca Mass said Saturday morning as she tried to interest her Cub Scout charges in the costumes.

"Cow? Cow, I have this turtleneck that has cowlike spots on it. Are you interested? I'm just giving you options," she said to a boy shrinking from her.

Fifty-four Cub Scouts age 7 to 10 attended the three-day camp on filmmaking, Camp Hollywood, held at the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints on Glacier Highway.

The Cub Scouts usually hold one summer day camp and one winter day camp a year. Past camps have dealt with stage magic, or outer space, pirate and Wild West themes.

"We try to do a variety of activities from crafts to skits so they're always learning new things," said Lane Stumme, scout executive for the Southeast Alaska Area Council, which includes Cub and Boy Scouts.

Camp Hollywood culminated Saturday evening with the showing of digital films of the children's skits. The Scouts were grouped into eight "studios" for the three- to five-minute films, which were shot and edited by adults.

On Saturday morning, organizer Kris Kearns filled in the children on how to behave on a movie set. First, don't chew on your backstage passes.

Second, "when you are filming, the only thing we want to hear on the film are the lines you are supposed to be reciting. Everyone else has to be quiet," Kearns said, before turning the boys loose to make posters of the film's credits, put on their costumes and rehearse.

Mass, who worked with a studio of nine boys for the whole three days, said she now believes teachers deserve $5,000 raises.

On the stage of the building's theater and gym Steve Martin, a Pack 9 parent, was holding up a billboard-size backdrop children had painted. He was the set master for all the films.

"So I was covered in paint yesterday, and I didn't even do any painting," he said.

"This is the inside of a castle," he said of the seeming abstract set for the film "The Knights of the Pizza Table." "Chandelier, window, window, window, dragon in the window, brick wall."

In the film, three knights ate the pizza without the king's permission and were beheaded, which gives you an idea of what an 8-year-old boy considers true horror.

"They have sauce on their lips," the jailer noted as he dragged the knights away.

During the first run-through the boys were nearly inaudible.

"When you're talking up there, you don't talk like you're whispering to your friends in class," Stumme advised. "You talk like you're talking to the teacher."

Scott Allan, 7, said afterward he liked the day camp "because it teaches me how to act on TV."

Meanwhile, back in the rehearsal room where Mass' actors prepared for "Jack and the Ogre," Chris Stumme, 10, was on all fours wearing his cow costume and mask, Jesse Miller, 8, was shod in furry bearclaws and other ogreish accessories, and everyone else was in costume and relishing their roles.

"Remember, the camera is here," Mass told three actors practicing a scene. "You want to be playing to the camera. And action!"

Aidan Sabety-Mass, 9, playing a hunched-over old man, recited a long, involved speech. At the right cue, the cow mooed.

"He does that so well," Mass said.

"I can't see," Chris the cow told her.

"Cows are notoriously blind. Why do you think they follow the butcher?" Mass said with the practiced air of a director soothing temperamental actors.

"Kids like to be proud of what they're doing, so I'm just trying to get them to the place where they can be proud," Mass said about the energetic rehearsals. "The kids added a lot of fun stuff."

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