Anderson, Indiana

High school students develop skills at filmmakers camp

Tue, 2013-07-23 08:39 -- univcomm
David Armstrong of Covenant Productions
July 23, 2013

Making a movie, even a five-minute one, isn't about just pointing a camera and shooting. It takes technique, battling Mother Nature, and finding the right people to put it all together and fund it.

"So many things can go wrong, but so many things go right, too," said Brenton Adcock, 16, of Fishers.

Adcock was a participant in the Covenant Productions® 2013 Filmmakers Camp that wrapped up Saturday, soaking up all the lessons he could in his quest to become a better filmmaker.

[Photo: David Armstrong answers a question during the Covenant Productions® Filmmakers Camp at AU.]

Classes at Anderson University included screenwriting, camera operation, editing, lighting, sound recording and mixing, distribution, and more.

Covenant Productions®' Don Boggs said second-year students shot and edited their own film while first-year participants edited The Hunt — shot by AU students — with guidance from graduate and filmmaker Chris Witt.

Also offering students lessons from first-hand experience was producer David Kirkpatrick, who once served as production chief at Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.

Some of the students came in with a little experience while others "have never done it before," Boggs said.

Adcock wants "to focus on one thing and get really good at it" and then find other people who are good at their jobs to help him make a great product. Right now, his focus is editing.

In his second year at filmmakers camp, Adcock wanted to see what else AU had to offer.

He has an interest in horror, but isn't aiming for the gore of some modern day films. He said he's thinking more along the lines of "Goosebumps," but less cheesy.

"I want to make movies that will wow people," Adcock said.

"I think we're all going for that reaction," 17-year-old Katy Hagerman of Lapel added. "That wow response."

Hagerman said there are some great story ideas out there that are poorly executed.

Hollywood Producer David Kirkpatrick at Covenant Productions' Filmmakers Camp at Anderson UniversityJeffery Shawn Rhoads II, 18, of Indianapolis, said he'd like to see "less trash" in films. The three aspiring filmmakers then delved into profanity as an example, stating it doesn't always need to be used to get a point across.

[Photo: Hollywood Producer David Paul Kirkpatrick talks to students during the Covenant Productions® Filmmakers Camp at AU.]

As intermediate students to the camp, they've been working on a film together tentatively titled Steve the Undead Teenager.

The students were assigned the theme of redemption, a tree as a prop, and a high school character to run with. What developed was a short about a high school student who is turned into a zombie and, as a result, becomes popular — since zombies are pop culture icons — and abandons his friends.

They received hands-on experience and learned how to work as a production team.

"That's why this camp is so awesome," Rhoads said.

And it not only helped them gain experience, but make some big decisions.

Hagerman came back for a second year to "build on" all the lessons she'd learned the previous year, but still a high school student, she also wanted to see if filmmaking is in her future.

"I wanted to test the waters, see if it's the right thing," said first-year student Courtney Stone, 19, of Michigan.

She has plans to start with photography and then move on to filmmaking, "one step at a time." And while she'd like to make an action movie one day, she'd like to make one "with a deeper meaning" and relatable character.

"I wanted to come where (other students) had the same aspirations," said Von Storm, 16, of Indianapolis.

He said he'd learned about editing, how to properly write a screenplay and "how to tell better stories."

Movies are telling of today's society, he added, and the attention spans of many are shrinking.

So he's aiming to make compelling drama and thrillers, mentioning AMC, with shows like The Walking Dead, as a source of great storytelling.

His favorite part of camp, he said, was listening to the lectures and learning from those with filmmaker knowledge. And meeting a producer like Kirkpatrick left him "speechless."

Last year, Rhoads got an autograph from director Cory Edwards and became a "nerd and framed it in my room."

He's all for rooting for the underdogs, like teenagers who weren't ever really thought of as heroes until the "Power Rangers."

Or teens who have big movie ideas they'd like to see become reality.

— Dani Palmer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission. Photos: Don Knight/The Herald Bulletin.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.