Jeff Hunt probably understood the trajectory of his career path in a way most people don't. With an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin and experience working with Tracor Aerospace after college, he is very familiar with how things move forward. Though most aerospace engineers are focused on building spaceships and watering blooming stars, Hunt chose to focus on hang-gliders. Over the past 25 years, he has competed in cross-country hang-gliding competitions and become a USHPA-certified advanced tandem instructor. At Fly Texas and Fly Mexico, he shares his passion with students during half-day and daylong hang-gliding classes or shuttles more experienced gliders on flights.
A public extension of The Griffin School, an arts-focused college-prep high school, Studio Griffin immerses students of all ages in multidisciplinary-arts education and art-based events. Expansive studios filled with easels and stacks of storage boxes host classes of children, teenagers, and working adults as they hone skills in painting, sculpting, and tricking still lifes into moving. Art camps instill basic skills in adolescents and teens during a three-week intensive course. The studio also hosts communal Art+Wine Nights, where guests fashion paintings inspired by a historic or famous piece of art and lubricate their creative chops with wine and other libations.
Texas School of Bartenders pours knowledge into students’ brains with in-depth, personal instruction from experienced bartenders behind fully operational bar stations. The school’s award-winning classes, taught at six locations in Texas and Oklahoma, place students in a real-life environment as they introduce concepts such as operating point-of-sale terminals, handling several orders at once, and dodging tennis balls fired by American Gladiators on their night out. A computerized job-placement program provides assistance and leads for graduates as they seek employment.
It’s sometimes incredible to fathom just how many people are behind one movie: you need a group to write a script, draw up storyboards, direct, act, hold the camera, do makeup...the list goes on. Casting all these roles is a familiar task to Suezean Matarazzo and Nicholle Walton-Durban, both veterans of the film industry. At Austin Film and Arts Academy, they teach elementary- through high school-aged students how to collaborate on a short movie of their own.
In the academy's main digital filmmaking course, students go from developing their ideas to shooting and lighting each scene on location. While they focus on the bigger picture, other participants refine more specialized skills, such as choreographing stunts, creating horror makeup, or keeping the crew away from craft service before lunch.
Classes stay small, so the academy's roster of instructors and guest speakers—such as casting agents and stuntmen—can grant each student personalized attention. Every session culminates in a final project, such as auditioning on camera or, in the case of digital filmmaking, receiving a DVD of your movie along with a customized poster.