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Workshop Syllabus

Workshop: Special FX Filmmaking

Length of workshop: 2 Hour (VAC Syllabus)


This incursion will introduce the basics of filmmaking while adding the exciting element of special effects. 

In 2 hours, students will work in groups to create a short film in 3 shots. They will learn how to add a special effect using the app Super Power Effects and add it to a story with a beginning, middle and end that they’ve created themselves.

Hollywood Films amaze us with their special FX… and now you can too! StarTime’s SPFX Filmmaking workshop will give you the ability to make your own special FX action sequence. Our professional filmmakers will show you how to use Hollywood techniques and motion graphics to create fireballs, laser shots, explosions and more.

Teams will create imaginary characters and thrilling stories that include their favourite special FX!

Kids will weave their dynamic action sequences into an engaging story using team-based scripting and storyboarding techniques. They will then take on various roles alongside their team members to bring their story to life including film crewing, director, actor, editor and more…

As with all StarTime workshops, the day will be punctuated with fun creative games linked to the purpose of the day.

Participants will:

  • Understand that using special effects is to heighten the drama of your story and engage the audience. 

  • Have fun!

  • Learn fundamental filmmaking techniques in: story, characterisation, green screening, editing

  • Learn how to utilise special FX softwares to create dynamic action scenes 

  • Take on roles such as camera operator, sound designer, director and more

  • Develop bonds through sharing achievements within a team

  • Develop their ability to think innovatively and solve problems creatively and collaboratively

    Links To Handouts:

    Links To Video Resources:

    Scene/Movie Structure

    Always default to a 3 scene structure – Beginning, Action (use of effect) and conclusion – keep kids strict on this to avoid long and confusing films.

    Group Roles

    In order to maintain efficiency and ensure that things keep on tracks it is usually a good idea to ask groups to assign roles to themselves at the begging of the session that they are in charge of. For every three kids there should be – Actor, Camera-Man and Director

    Sound Management

    For shorter workshops we are unlikely to be using sound equipment – Try and limit speaking as much as possible in the films. If dialogue must be recorded ensure that the group is distanced from other groups in a quiet place to lessen background noise. In general, emphasise the importance of emotive acting performance over dialogue and focus on using sound effects and music to create the film’s mood.


    Assume that venues will not have internet – either use Dongle provided by StarTime but mostly try and pre-download materials you’ll need where possible.

    iPad Allocation Form

    It’s important these are filled out accurately so that videos can be found and sent off to venues efficiently if needed. Make sure to record the name of the kids.


    Familiarise yourself with the app prior to the workshop. Make yourself an ‘expert’ on at least 3 effects that you feel confident teaching – you’ll likely only have time to demonstrate 1 or 2 but this way you can structure the workshop around these.

    Using AirDrop

    How to change AirDrop settings/Make sure it is on
    Go to ‘Settings’
    Scroll and select ‘General’
    Scroll and select ‘AirDrop’
    Ensure ‘Everyone’ is selected – this should have a tick next to it

    To AirDrop a video
    Go to the video in your camera roll
    Select the icon that is a box with an upward arrow through it
    Find ‘AirDrop’
    Select the device you wish to AirDrop to (sometimes you have to wait a few seconds for it to appear as an option)
    Make sure you click ‘accept’ one the receiving device so that it sends through

    Mini Film Festival

    The showing is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the day. You should leave at least 30 minutes for this in order to ensure you can get through every film in it’s entirety and account for any technical issues.

    Timing Activities

    Follow the suggested timings, however you’ll quickly develop a sense of how long things will take and can adjust accordingly. It’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and be conservative with the time provided for activities – you can always find fun games to play with kids at the end but any activity that doesn’t get finished at the end of the day will upset kids.

    If the Venue Wants Copies of the Films

    Where possible StarTime will endeavour to provide you with a USB and Laptop as a back up to smooth this process. However if we cannot you will have to AirDrop the film’s the the venue’s chosen device. If AirDrop is not possible acquire contact details from the venue and let know the situation and we will attempt to send out the films in the week post the workshop – use this as a last resort.


    Oscar to go to stand out kid as an individual award – the child that best and most consistently presents the StarTime Values throughout the day.
    Wristbands x3 – Go to group members of the winning film

    StarTime Rituals

    With VAC it’s particularly important to leave an impression of StarTime and what we do – make sure you allocate enough time to complete the StarTime rituals including running through our values at the beginning of the day and ending the day with Oscars ceremony and StarTime whoosh!

    Child is Sick/Injured

    Report to VAC Staff/Venue contact immediately. They will have their own protocols and paperwork to follow which you will need to be prepared to assist them with. This may involve remembering details of any incidents resulting in injury. They should also be the ones to contact parents if necessary.

    Fill out the StarTime incident report form.

    Session 1

    Warm Up Session – Introduction

    WHAT: Introduce coaches and Students


    • Name and Action Game
    • Poison Hand (if time permits)

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Become familiar with each other and the coaches 
    • Understand this is a safe space and feel comfortable and welcome
    • NA

    Head Coach:

    • Direct children through activities

    2nd Coach:

    • Crowd Control and Behaviour Monitoring
    • Participate in games to model what is being taught

    Not at the moment.

    Warm Up Session – StarTime Values


    • Introduce the StarTime Values, Way and rules for the day


    • Teach kids the 4 C’s
    • Outline expectations and rules for the workshop – including any COVID19 safety information

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Understand the StarTime way, understanding the importance of collaborating and helping one another. Understanding that these values will help them do their work more effectively and enjoyably.
    • Understand how to earn Stars for the StarChart and the StarTime Values
    • Understand the value of the equipment and therefore understand the precautions they must take to ensure nothing is broken.

    • Understand the importance of COVID19 safety procedures
    • StarTime Rules
    • StarChart
    • Hand Sanitiser

    Head Coach:

    • Runs through values making sure to engage students so they understand their importance.

    2nd Coach:

    • Crowd Control and Behaviour Monitoring

    Add some content to your accordion item here.Session 2

    Video Example and Tutorial on SuperPower FX App 

    WHAT: Introduce StarTimers to SuperPower FX app and demonstrate how to film sequence (15 minutes)


    • Coach will begin by showing students an example (provided) of the type of films they will be making. A short film consisting of three shots:
      • 1st shot introduces a supervillain who vows to do something evil
      • 2nd shot introduces a superhero who vows to stop them
      • 3rd shot a special effect that shows the superhero defeat the villain
    • Explain to them that two of those shots were filmed using the camera and that one used the Superpower FX app. Then explain that they were edited together using iMovie. 
    • Tell students that they will be breaking into groups and coming up with their own story that will be told using 3 shots (Allow 4 if any groups ask)
    • Introduce them to the Superpower FX app. Show them an example of how to use it by using a couple of volunteers.
    • Reiterate to them the difference between just filming an effect and placing that effect inside a movie to enhance its storytelling.
    • Example video will be done as a silent film. Tell students that they may speak in their films if they wish but warn them that with no microphone and lots of background noise it may be hard to hear. So encourage them to also make their movies in the style of Silent Film.

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Understand the task for the day
    • Understand how to use Superpower FX app
    • Understand that special effects are there to enhance the movie.
    • Insert Example Video Here
    • iPad
    • Super Power FX App
    • TV Screen and apple TV connection

    Head Coach:

    • To run demonstration and tutorials


    • Allocate stars on Star Chart for commitment, focus, courage, etc

    • Assist with crowd control

    • Assist with logistical tasks

    Session 3


    WHAT: Allow StarTimers to split off into their groups and film their special FX sequence and surrounding scenes (40 minutes)


    • Coach instructs students to break into groups of 3 or 4. 2 students to be the actors and one to hold the iPad and film.

    • Coach to encourage students to come up with their own original superhero characters and fun storylines. But KEEP IT SIMPLE!

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Broaden their understanding of the SuperPower FX app by doing

    • Create their own unique Special FX sequence embedded into a simple story 

    • iPads
    • SuperPower FX app

    Head Coach:

    • Float around and assist kids in creating their scenes
    • Give advice where needed

    2nd Coach:

    • Add challenges for any outstanding students who find the work very easy

    • Float around and assist kids

    Session 4

    Editing Tutorial and Editing


    • Editing Tutorial

    • StarTimer’s edit their films together


    • Coach gathers students back from filming to demonstrate on the television screen how to edit their film using iMovie.

    • Coach shows how to export video filmed in Superpower FX to the camera roll.

    • Coach shows how to split clips and add them into the correct order on the timeline.

    • Coach shows how to add music and sound effects if any students wish to do so.

    • Coach to tell students to start editing their films. Any students that haven’t finished filming can do so, but tell them to finish quickly or they’ll run out of time to edit.

    • Coach to give time warnings before deadline to make sure all groups finish in time.

    WHY: Participants will :

    • Get hands on experience with editing

    • Finalise and polish their finished films into a cohesive piece 

    • Student’s learn about structure and how it can interact with forces like gravity.
    • iPad
    • Tv Screen and Apple Tv Connection
    • iMovie App

    Head Coach:

    • Run Demonstration

    • Float around and assist kids

    2nd Coach:

    • Assist Head Coach with behaviour management and crowd control

    • Float around and assist kids
    • Look for students to earn stars

    For any groups that finish early – show them how to use the app Intromate to create an opening title and credit slide for their film.
    Micro Film Festival

    Micro Film Festival


    Student’s get to watch their own and their peer’s films in a mini showcase


    • Coach to get groups to name their films in iMovie and export the project to the camera roll.

    • Coach to play all movies and give constructive and positive feedback.

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Have a sense of achievement
    • Learn from the constructive feedback given to themselves and their peers
    • iPad
    • Tv Screen with Apple Tv Connection

    Head Coach:

    • Play films

    • Provide constructive feedback

    2nd Coach:

    • Airdrop films to venue if requested – while the films are playing

    • Pack up and make sure everything is ready for a quick departure
    Wrap Up The Session


    • Give out awards
    • Perform StarTime Whoosh


    • Give out the Oscar to the child who most consistently demonstrated the StarTime Values throughout the session. 

    • Present Stickers to all students

    • Run Through StarTime swoosh!

    WHY: Participants will:

    • Be satisfied they had a fun and productive day!




    Head Coach:

    • Run Awards

    • Wrap up session and thank venue staff

    2nd Coach:

    • Finish cleaning up space and packing away StarTime resources & equipment

    • Help to hand out stickers.
    • Ensure everything is ready for quick departure.