EAST COUNTY — Months before the Inspired Minds student filmmaking camp began in July, Carrie Dutting had more than ideas for the group’s next short film.
Dutting had already crafted a 10-page script for a sci-fi drama, complete with characters and a plot with conflict.
But, she didn’t know if Inspired Minds co-founder Heather Manley would bite on her script, named “Alike.”
“I’d never written a full script before, so when I was trying to talk about my ideas, they sounded confusing,” Dutting said. “But, after (Manley) read the script and we talked about it, she started to really like the ideas.”
Dutting, a Braden River High freshman, wrote the 12-minute movie in a week. She also co-directed the film alongside Manley. The film will have a free showing 9 a.m. Oct. 18, at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
Although the group asks for student participation in generating ideas for short films and crafting a plot with characters and themes relatable to other students, no student has written a script completely on his or her own.
“Alike” tells the story of Jaime, whose mother sold her to Gemini Labs — a government program that uses ethically questionable methods of building an army, such as cloning people, Manley explained.
After meeting her clone, Jordan, Jaime, played by Dutting, questions the agency and its practices, and must make a choice.
“Alike” was filmed at Gene Witt Elementary School.
Select camera angles hid the school’s outdoor covered area and classrooms used as scenes in the film, Dutting said.
For Dutting and Manley, the film addresses a range of topics, such as ethical practices in science and technology. “Alike” also tackles the moral issue of not taking advantage of other people, Dutting said.
“We want to support students in expressing their thoughts, views, and feelings through filmmaking,” Manley said.
Manley will submit the film for consideration at various local, statewide, national and international film festivals, as she has each of the four years students have created films at the summer camp.
Dutting, 15, said the target audience of “Alike” is middle- and high school-aged children.
Although Dutting co-directed two scenes in the camp’s 2013 film “Safe,” she found telling her peers what to do to be harder than she expected. But, after staying up late a few nights before shooting the film in late July, and storyboarding — sketching out scenes and describing specifics for each, such as camera angles and where the actors should stand — she became more comfortable in the director’s chair.
Dutting also starred in the film, alongside 19 other students, from schools such as Haile and Nolan middle schools and Lakewood Ranch High School.
Dutting has become more serious about becoming an actress after she graduates.
She may even move to California to pursue an acting career, but for now she’s ready to watch her film.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see the film on the big screen,” Dutting said. “It’s weird to think about my words coming to life on screen, but I’m really excited.”
The East County student laughed when she described how she came up with the idea for “Alike.”
“I was looking in the mirror in my bedroom and randomly was thinking how weird it would be to have a twin,” Dutting said. “Then, I started writing about that and the idea turned into the government using twins for unethical reasons, to accomplish things by making clones of people.”
In her words
What makes a good short/full-length film?
Camera quality is a big pet peeve of mine. Make sure you have a good camera that takes good shots. It’s also important to have a strong plot that’s interesting. If it’s a full-length movie, don’t drag it out; keep things exciting by staying true to the genre. If it’s a silent film, don’t have too many captions, then the movie becomes more about reading than watching.”
How do you write a short film?
For me, it was easiest to write the general plot, and then break it down into beginning, middle and end. Then, I would go in and break those sections down into scenes. Splitting up the movie was the best way for me.”