It Factor Studios' film performance and industry workshops unfurl under the leadership of Hollywood directors and professional actors from the American Film Institute. Founder Ryan McKinney and coach to the stars Steve Whittaker apply their workplace experience to create a safe and progressive learning environment and help actors to prepare for industry difficulties such as auditioning, resumé writing, or staring contests with Jack Nicholson. The results-driven team mentors budding performers of all experience and skill levels in a wealth of techniques, including Method and Meisner, with many courses designed to complement each other.
To enable instructional shoots and commercial productions, the studio boasts full capabilities for film preparation, shooting, and editing. Students interested in the back side of the lens can sign up for instruction in film shooting, editing, and screenwriting, enabling them to stage scenes and reboot old home movies under professional conditions. In addition to workshops, events such as guest-speaker series with working or retired film professionals help pupils to garner real industry connections.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
If you've ever tried to beat rush-hour traffic by tethering your car with helium-filled balloons, then you know that hot-air flight should be left to the professionals. The Federal Aviation Administration–certified pilots at Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning embark on journeys from the Sierra Nevada foothills daily, and their company has been named one of the 10Best attractions in Sacramento. Whether piloting a small group or private flight, the balloon captains show passengers a bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills, winding rivers and finely crafted comb-overs whose majesty can only be truly appreciated from above. Their aerial transports also play host to weddings in the sky and can provide a lift to those who enjoy BASE jumping from the clouds.
The FAA-certified instructors at Future Eagles Aviation put clients behind the controls of actual aircraft as they teach them the ins and outs of aviation. Students amass skills such as navigation and cockpit familiarity on the ground in adventure flight school before lifting off in a Cessna 172 training aircraft for 30 minutes of flight time. Kids can also take to the sky during Future Eagles Aviation’s youth aviation summer camp, a weeklong foray into the world of cloud skimming and Peter Pan mimicry during which kids aged 10 and older practice on simulators and log real flight hours in training aircraft.
Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race sends runners into an obstacle-filled odyssey of muddy endurance. The 5-kilometer course features more than epic 25 obstacles, with participants scaling towers of stacked shipping containers, crawling through underground tunnels, and leaping over fire. After the race, live music and cold beer invite triumphant runners to unwind. Those with excess energy can head over to even more kinetic activities such as mechanical bull riding, beach volleyball, and adult-sized bounce houses.
Since 1981, Sacramento State Aquatic Center has rented fun and educational water vessels to local aquaphiles looking to skitter along the surface of Lake Natoma. Choose from several options for your hour of water-top fun: enjoy the natural landscape at a leisurely pace by cruising out onto the lake in a person-powered canoe, or opt for a tandem or cabo kayak rental for a slightly more X-treme canoe-like experience. If a missed morning spinning class has your legs feeling underworked and lazy, launch onto the lake in a hydro bike and ride over the waves on the pedal-powered pond skimmer.