It’s Day Two of DMA Studios on the campus of Stanford University. Campers arrived this past weekend and they’re here for a very unique experience. Today the future filmmakers are at Stanford’s D School or the Institute of Design. They’re here to review the week ahead, but by looking at the process of filmmaking in an entirely new way.
DMA Studios is a professional moviemaking camp that not only shows you how to make a movie but, more importantly, how real movies get made.
Budgeting, planning, scheduling…they’re not only excellent life skills but incredibly important when it comes to making a movie. And campers in DMA Studios get lots of experience using those skills while learning the entire film production process.
The two-week journey of personal exploration gives campers a chance to use real Canon cinematic HD cameras, hire actors, shoot on location, pitch concepts to real media moguls and learn how they might develop a lucrative career in advertising, entertainment or the film industry. Students already bring a passion for film, they leave with genuine production skills. And a sure-footed sense of where to take their next steps as aspiring filmmakers.
The Plan Comes Together
The production plan comes together when assignments are laid out along an intensive two-week schedule which includes pre-production, production, and post-production. Then the race is on to conceptualize a short film, pitch it, hire actors for it, shoot it and edit it down into a finished product in two weeks.
The Steps of Production
1. Mining Ideas: Everything starts with the concept, which leads to a shooting script and important pre-production planning tied to that idea.
2. Production Assignments: Other key decisions are made at this point, including which production roles will be handled by which campers. (Campers typically try on several production “hats,” but concentrate their energies on one primary job.)
3. Shooting Day: Next comes the excitement of working on a location shoot, with professional actors hired to come in to shoot their parts. Campers work together in various jobs—like shooting video (with professional Canon videocameras), marking cue cards, recording sound, applying make-up, or working with lighting—to get the shots and capture the most outstanding footage possible.
4. The Premiere: When it’s all over, campers have a short, professionally-edited film reviewed by professionals. They also get a copy of the final cut to share with friends and family, or even include with a college or internship application.
Using moviemaking gear like Stedi-Cam rigs and Canon HD Cinema cameras at DMA Studios gives future filmmakers a chance to experience what it feels like working for an independent film-production company in Hollywood.
DMA Instructor Seamus Harte guides the production team, offering direction and professional advice. Seamus is himself a working San Francisco Bay Area director and editor with vast experience serving on various types of productions, from feature releases to TV shows. Having worked with professional artists with demanding production schedules, Seamus’ experience as a creative director on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus has been instrumental in developing DMA Studios. Seamus also has a very strong background in teaching and being able to relate directly to teens and help them reach their individual creative potential.
Seamus is excited to be returning to the program he helped develop and seeing what this group of filmmakers will make. As for the story…don’t worry, no spoiler alert here. That’s being created and filmed at DMA Studios as we speak. You’ll have to wait until the premiere and the film gets posted online…or shown at a film festival near you!