Star Wars and Bullying: The Makings of an Educational Film

For several months, I have been in talks with the folks at [Motivational Productions](http://www.motivationalpro.org/about.htm), a Texas-based company that is the largest producer of Character Education videos in the U.S.

They are in the process of shooting a new video called Stand Together about bullying prevention, and the video will be seen by school children across the nation. Katie's story is one of three children's true stories that will be featured in the upcoming video.

Yesterday, Colin Bressler flew from Texas to Chicago, and he and his assistant, Caesar Rivera, spent the day filming at our house. The morning started early with Colin shooting HD video of Andrew and Katie making Star Wars pancakes.

We gave extensive interviews, as did Katie and several of her friends, and we re-enacted multiple scenes involving the Star Wars bullying that Katie experienced and the aftermath.

It was fun; it was exhausting; it was fascinating. I saw a side of Katie that I have never seen before. My first grader, who is quick to complain to me that she is tired after ten minutes of homework or five minutes of putting away dishes, patiently shot take after take, hour after hour, without a grumble. She was patient and focused, shockingly agreeable - it was a big relief!

The night before Colin and Caesar arrived, I had trouble sleeping. I knew that Katie could occasionally be reticent in front of the camera, and I was worried that the filming would be a disaster.

As I was putting Katie to sleep, she confided in me, "I am nervous about tomorrow."

I felt my stomach knot up, and I was afraid she was going to tell me she didn't want to do the filming. Andrew and I had agreed that we would never make her do an interview or a public appearance if she didn't want to, and the only reason I agreed to do this film was that it would be shot in our own home instead of in a studio.

What would I do if she asked us to cancel it? So many plans had been made for the filming; Colin had already flown here with all his equipment.

"What are you nervous about, Katie? Telling your story?" I asked gently.

"I'm nervous that Daddy will mess up the pancakes. What if they don't look like Darth Vader and Yoda?"

Fortunately, Daddy did a masterful job with the pancakes. They came out looking perfect. Katie and her friends did an incredible job with the interviews and the re-enactments. Colin and Caesar were great at getting the kids to respond and cooperate.

They asked us and Katie to talk about everything that happened when Katie was taunted for being a girl who likes Star Wars. They asked how Katie responded, what she has learned, what she would do in future bullying situations, what helped, what didn't-- they covered it from every angle.

Katie dressed up in a Princess Leia costume that Kathy van Beuningen from the [501st Legion](http://www.501st.com/) made especially for her, and she performed some slick moves with the light saber that [ThinkGeek](http://www.thinkgeek.com/) sent her.

One of her friends came dressed as Darth Vader, and when Colin asked him his name at the beginning of a recorded interview, he responded with, "Darth Vader." Colin proceeded to address him as "Mr. Vader" in their interview.

Motivational Productions produces movies on three screens, so three different images are rolling at once. As a result, Colin and Caesar had to shoot a lot of background film in addition to the actual interviews. We even went to the playground at Katie's school to get footage there, and fortunately it was Spring Break, so no kids were around!

We are so glad that we could help [Motivational Productions](http://www.motivationalpro.org/about.htm) with this important project, and we look forward to seeing the final result.

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    Carrie please drop me an email, I would love to touch base with you and I think Katie's story is great. It is one I think I would like to add to my list when I speak to students about bullying. All it takes is one person to stand up and it happened here.
    I am a father who has lost a child to bullycide and have spent the last 10 years talking about this issue at schools and conferences from a parents perspective. Check out our web site
    www.mattepling.com for more information.
    We can make things better we just have to do to the hard work. Just tell Katie to remember the "Force" flows within all of us, and she has shown many that it is alive and well.

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