East Melbourne Language Centre: Making a movie

“That’s a warp!”

I was told that’s what people say when they finish a movie or a big project, and that’s what we just did! But, honestly, before we were able to say this, it has been a long journey…

It all started with the German Cinema Melbourne. The German Film Festival, that we, as the German Language Centre, support, is a great opportunity for people in Melbourne to have a closer look at a variety of German Movies. And of course, for everyone who wants to learn German and take German classes in Melbourne, this is a perfect way to improve your language skills.

By becoming a sponsor of this event, the East Melbourne and German Language Centre was offered some screen time for a short advertisement, which would be shown before every movie. Having me, as a volunteer who is interested in movie making and a friend, who just finished his media studies and has a lot of ideas, we decided to shoot a short movie about our school. The film doesn’t just support the German Cinema Melbourne, it also shows how useful it is to learn a new language.

A lot of coffees, some food, a couple of brainstorming sessions later, and with the help of everyone who is related to the East Melbourne & German Language Centre, an idea was born: a short video representing every language that we have lessons for in our centre in Melbourne. Ending with a punchline, the film points points out how important it is to learn a new language, which could be not just German but also Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Indonesian, all available at our language centre here in Melbourne!

The next Step was to write a script and to get together one teacher of every language at the same day. Mission Impossible. But this was our mission and as Tom Cruise would have done it, we choose to accept it.

After deciding what our language teachers would discuss in their native tongue, we were able to write a script, which points out the typical peculiarities and clichés of every country and shows a conversation in each of the different languages. I have to confess, after listening to the teachers I was definitely in the mood to learn a new language while I’m in Melbourne.

“And … Action” on a Saturday we started filming. Gathered at the East Melbourne & German Language Centre, we did some warm up with the slightly nervous actors, who just became aware of the fact that they will be in an advertisement to be shown in a cinema.

But with the warm and trustful atmosphere, which makes the East Melbourne & German Language Centre something like a family, a lot of snacks and a lot of laughter we managed to seat everyone around the table and get started.

A few trial shoots later, everyone was ready for the serious takes and I can just express my respect for everyone who was brave enough to be in front of the camera. I, at least, was glad to be able to stay behind it and just helping to direct.

And not just the courage to be in the movie but also to have the strength not to eat all the snacks, which served as props during the movie, was a real challenge. But as hard as the beginning might has been for some, in the end, I think, everyone felt quite comfortable in front of the camera. So that day was definitely a new, exciting, but also good experience for all of us at the German Language Centre.

But this was not all of it, not yet. Now the editing began, but luckily, we had an expert on our side and, honestly, he did most of the work.

The true challenge we faced during the editing was to add subtitles for the languages we didn’t understand. So, we were pretty much guessing what our Russian, Mandarin and Arabic teachers were saying. Clearly, we should have taken some language classes at the East Melbourne & German Language Centre to improve our knowledge about these languages.

But with the patient help of our teachers and hard-working hours in our Language Centre in East Melbourne, we finished the movie and were even able to test our draft version in a real cinema. Satisfied with the audio track and the quality of the movie, we can’t wait to see our video on the big screens. And we can’t wait for you to see it too.

“And cut!”

Our short movie: