Instead of updating you on the goings on of Hollywood, this week we turn to something in our own backyard. But first a little back-story: When I started my college career almost 5 years ago, I was surprised by how many of my peers had already had a good amount of experience in what we were learning in class. Some even got to pass over our intro classes because of it! I had friends who were part of live broadcasts of their high school sports’ games and some were morning news anchors for their high school’s morning announcement shows – something I only dreamed about in high school. Who knew it could actually be a real thing? Don’t get me wrong I’m very proud of my education and my school (Shout-out to the HFL Class of 2011), but a part of me was jealous of my new friends. How would my life have been different if I got involved in my new-found passion earlier? Would I be a different person than I am today?
But enough about my existential digression. It’s not entirely apropos to this article, aside from the fact that I have certain feelings. And for a long time I worried that future students would have this problem. I feel that we as a school had ignored a huge part of the job market (and to be honest, a whole lot of fun learning, which we don’t get enough of.) However, I’m excited to say my worries are over because starting this summer students can be a part of the Greater Western New York (GWNY) Film Academy! The GWNY Film Academy is launching its pilot program this summer and I spoke with the one of the founders/artistic director, local teacher Andrea Borrelli about this one-of-a-kind program:
Q: What is the GWNY Film Academy?
AB: The GWNY Film Academy is a 5 week intensive workshop that develops the desired media skills for film making and editing. Each week students will create a 5-8 minute film. Students will benefit from hands-on experience in pre and post production editing – and a great portfolio of work to show for it! If the individual participates in all 5 weeks of the workshop, they will have five 5-8 minute films that they have contributed to and can add to their portfolio. They will have been immersed in a professional atmosphere that will give them critical real-life experience. It’ll be fun while educational at the same time. And there’s a bonus (for those keeping score): The program is Common Core friendly as it integrates the Common Core Curriculum by connecting the technical part of media with the linguistic part of media literacy.
Q: What can participants expect to do during each of the 5 weeks?
AB: Each week participants are given a task that builds on the previous week. The first week will be primarily focused on the importance of the camera shot, developing cohesive, strong, storylines, and editing. From there students build upon that foundation by incorporating special effects, discovering production design elements and an even a more in-depth concentration on creating dialogue. Each week also includes the production of a video for the “series” that touches upon the new skill they learned that week. Each week will also include at least one guest speaker from the industry. We’ve scheduled a retired ABC correspondent, a NYC make-up artist, and a guest speaker from a popular TV series among others. Our series this year (Foggy Bottom’s Diner) follows the trail of a group of high school students who, in the course of trying to figure out where to hang out for the summer, stumble upon an intricate mystery. Each episode will solve one clue, only to reveal another.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the GWNY Film Academy?
AB: I hope to create a place where people of all ages can learn about film, create a professional product, and make their dreams become a reality. I would love to have a permanent location in Mendon and our primary backer would like to one day see a Hollywood-quality film studio right here in the Greater Western New York region.
Q: How much do you need to know about the film/production process to be a part of it?
AB: You can have as much or as little experience as possible. This is a course for all levels.
Q: Who is eligible to apply? Does everyone get accepted?
AB: Students in grades 8 -12 can apply. There is an application on our web-site (GWNYFilmAcademy.com) so that we can place each participant based on the interests they have.
Q: When and where will the program be held?
AB: The program will be located at the Grange Building in Mendon 3894 Rush Mendon Road, Mendon, New York. The program starts on Monday, June 28 and will continue until Friday, July 25. Participants can join for all 5 weeks or any combination of weeks.
If you are interested in signing up or would like more information on GWNY Film Academy please Contact GWNYFilmAcademy@gmail.com, or go to the website GWNYFilmAcademy.com. Who knows, maybe yours truly will get to be a guest speaker if they let her 🙂