So "Earth to Echo" becomes the latest entry of the "found footage" style of filmmaking — a handheld-camera format familiar to horror films, like "The Blair Witch Project," but not often used in a family-friendly movie.
"We wanted to give the found-footage genre a bit of a kick in the pants," Green said.
Unlike a horror movie, where the people who "shoot" the footage are usually dead by the end, Green said that "the people who shot the footage [in 'Earth to Echo'] also cut it together. What that lends us is a lot of flexibility, and a lot of playfulness in the way the movie is shot and told, because it's from a kid's point of view."
He said he was also inspired by the movies he grew up with, like "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "The Goonies" and "Stand by Me."
"Those were movies that centered around kids, and were kids' stories exclusively," he said. "As a kid, you have a certain kind of ownership over those stories. They're your stories. They're not told from the adult perspective. They're told by seeing the world through a kid's point of view."
Young people today, Green noted, "shoot everything they see and do. … Part of being 12 or 13 right now is seeing the world online, and seeing the world through your list of followers and friends."