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.