By Laura Christman
“Females in Filmmaking,” a three-week class powered by a $9,500 grant from The Women’s Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation – explores scriptwriting, filming, editing and more.
Will one of the six participants in the Redding summer film camp go on to become a big-name director or producer one day?
Perhaps. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy grew up in Redding, after all. Or maybe the camp will spark interest in a career in video production or the launch of a production company. On a more basic level, the knowledge gained could be used to create a video for a college application, a YouTube film promoting a cause, video clips announcing school events or an online tutorial teaching a talent.
Digital arts come into play in a lot of different ways.
“There is a huge demand for visual content,” says Debra Lucero, executive director of Shasta County Arts Council, the nonprofit that received the grant and is offering the class.
The North State isn’t Hollywood, but filmmaking skills can lead to jobs in the region, says Joy Thayer, class instructor and executive producer of Speropictures, a Redding film production company.
“We employ people all over Redding … Video editing is something we need in abundance around Redding,” Thayer says.
The class was designed for female students because women are underrepresented in the film industry, both in front of the camera and behind it, Lucero says. Film industry jobs offer creativity and good pay, she notes. Digital-media skills also are becoming more important in many professions and for businesses large and small.
The three-week class begins Tuesday. Students will get an overview of storytelling, script formatting, production scheduling, sound design, lighting, editing and marketing.
“After three weeks, they will walk away with a general idea of what it takes to make a film,” Thayer says.
Learning will be hands on. Students will create short films to be shown July 8 during Firereel Film Festival’s Film Gala Costume Party at Old City Hall. The students use iPad Minis, which they can keep if they attend all class sessions (three hours a day, four days a week) and complete assignments.
Cost is $125 per person. Scholarship assistance is available for those unable to pay. Costs to put on the film camp are $19,000. Expenses beyond The Women’s Fund grant are being covered by Arts Council funding and in-kind contributions.
Lucero originally targeted 16- to 24-year-olds for the class, but received a lot of interest from girls 12 and younger. The age guidelines were reconfigured, resulting in a mix of girls and women. Younger students will be paired with older students, and Lucero expects mentoring to go both directions.
Digital media instruction is a good fit for the arts council, Lucero says. Filmmaking is an art, and films and videos increasingly are used to watch and share the arts.
“A lot of people are getting culture through an iPad and phone,” Lucero says.
The arts council has been focused on visual communication through its contract to run Redding’s public access television channel at Old City Hall.
“The TV station has everything to do with the arts,” Lucero says.
Public access television can showcase local arts and artists, as well as train people in digital arts. Public access channels across the country are being used as digital arts training centers, Lucero notes.
The summer film camp is part of a larger goal to offer more training in filming, production and other aspects of digital arts to the community, Lucero says.
The Women’s Fund grant to the Arts Council was announced in October. Four grants totaling $40,000 were awarded to nonprofits for projects in 2016 aimed at fostering economic opportunities for women and their families.