Making Money Making Movies: How One Woman Created a Movie Making Business with Kids as the Stars

The following is a guest post by Shelley Frost of Make-A-Movie Studios.

As a kid in the 1970’s I always dreamed of being the first woman movie director. Since that time, many other females have beat me to the Director’s chair. Not living in Hollywood put an enormous crimp in my desire to direct feature films.

But as technology matured, video camcorders became commonplace in the hands of the everyday American consumer. And video editing software such as iMovie, made it easy to transform video footage into smooth, watchable movies.

Excited about the possibilities of movie making in my own home, I rounded up the kids in my neighborhood, suggested a simple story line, then shot my first movie in about one hour. Afterwards, I was anxious to look at the footage. But my group of children actors were enjoying themselves so much, they refused to quit the set!

Hours later (and two mini DV tapes full of who-knew-what) I finally was able to launch iMovie and begin the edit process. Organizing and manipulating the images and the audio, was a rewarding creative process. I could add special effects, create titles, add slow or fast motion, audio effects and score the whole sequence with music.

I found myself so inspired and entertained that I knew I needed to figure out a way to make movies for kids full time and earn an income doing it.

I had been a writer for years, having published two books and numerous magazine articles. So, I went to work writing fun, easy-to-follow movie scripts that kids would enjoy acting in. From the scripts, I created lists of characters, costumes, and props. I visited the local thrift store, cleared out the largest closet in my house, and stocked it with my studio wardrobe.

Once my “Make-A-Movie Birthday Party” ad appeared in a local parenting magazine, my phone began ringing. Soon, my weekends were booked with Make-A-Movie birthday parties. I became so busy, that I no longer needed to pay for advertising. Each Make-A-Movie party would lead to more bookings.

Why? Because the kids at the parties loved the experience of being in a movie, acting as different characters, wearing the costumes, and having movie make-up applied. But the ultimate thrill for them came a few days later when I delivered their movie on DVD’s. Watching themselves as actors in a feature film is truly a unique experience. And the DVD’s are a keepsake they will have with them for a lifetime.

Six years later, I’ve accumulated more than just knowledge about how to make movies with kids. I’ve also written ten movie scripts for kids, each of which has been produced into movies (a few of them dozens of times!). Along with each script, I’ve detailed the cast lists, props lists, costumes and make-up. I’ve written a Handbook that details exactly how to operate and profit from a Make-A-Movie business. I even had myself filmed doing a Make-A-Movie birthday party so I could create a training DVD to help other entrepreneurs and videographers wishing to offer Make-A-Movie programs in their communities.

With well over 100 feature films under my belt, and several more scheduled as of this writing, my movie making career is thriving. I may not be the first female movie director in Hollywood, but I think I can safely say, I am the most prolific female movie director of all time!

To receive a package detailing how you can become a Movie Director for kids and begin your own Make-a-Movie program in your community, contact Shelley Frost at 650/595-0383 or [email protected]. You can visit her website at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *