The Herald Bulletin

July 21, 2013

Going for the wow factor

High school students learn at AU filmmakers camp

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

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ANDERSON — Making a movie, even a five-minute one, isn't about just pointing a camera and shooting. It takes technique, battling Mother Nature and finding the right people to put it all together and fund it.

"So many things can go wrong, but so many things go right, too," said Brenton Adcock, 16, of Fishers.

Adcock was a participant in Covenant Productions 2013 Filmmakers Camp that wrapped up Saturday, soaking up all the lessons he could in his quest to become a better filmmaker.

Classes at Anderson University included screenwriting, camera operation, editing, lighting, sound recording and mixing, distribution and more.

Covenant Productions' Don Boggs said second-year students shot and edited their own film while first-year participants edited "The Hunt" — shot by AU students — with guidance from graduate and filmmaker Chris Witt.

Also offering student's lessons from first-hand experience was producer David Kirkpatrick, who once served as Production Chief at Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures.

Some of the students came in with a little experience while others "have never done it before," Boggs said.

Adcock wants "to focus on one thing and get really good at it" and then find other people who are good at their jobs to help him make a great product. Right now, his focus is editing.

In his second year at filmmakers camp, Adcock wanted to see what else AU had to offer.

He has an interest in horror, but isn't aiming for the gore of some modern day films. He said he's thinking more along the lines of "Goosebumps," but less cheesy.

"I want to make movies that will wow people," Adcock said.

"I think we're all going for that reaction," 17-year-old Katy Hagerman of Lapel added. "That wow response."

Hagerman said there are some great story ideas out there that are poorly executed.

Jeffery Shawn Rhoads II, 18, of Indianapolis, said he'd like to see "less trash" in films. The three aspiring filmmakers then delved into profanity as an example, stating it doesn't always need to be used to get a point across.

As intermediate students to the camp, they've been working on a film together tentatively titled "Steve the Undead Teenager."

The students were assigned the theme of redemption, a tree as a prop and a high school character to run with. What developed was a short about a high school student who is turned into a zombie and, as a result, becomes popular — since zombies are pop culture icons — and abandons his friends.

They received hands-on experience and learned how to work as a production team.

"That's why this camp is so awesome," Rhoads said.

And it not only helped them gain experience, but make some big decisions.

Hagerman came back for a second year to "build on" all the lessons she'd learned the previous year, but still a high school student, she also wanted to see if filmmaking is in her future.

"I wanted to test the waters, see if it's the right thing," said first-year student Courtney Stone, 19, of Michigan.

She has plans to start with photography and then move on to filmmaking, "one step at a time." And while she'd like to make an action movie one day, she'd like to make one "with a deeper meaning" and relatable character.

"I wanted to come where (other students) had the same aspirations," said Von Storm, 16, of Indianapolis.

He said he'd learned about editing, how to properly write a screenplay and "how to tell better stories."

Movies are telling of today's society, he added, and the attention spans of many are shrinking.

So he's aiming to make compelling drama and thrillers, mentioning AMC, with shows like "The Walking Dead," as a source of great storytelling.

His favorite part of camp, he said, was listening to the lectures and learning from those with filmmaker knowledge. And meeting a producer like Kirkpatrick left him "speechless."

Last year, Rhoads got an autograph from director Cory Edwards and became a "nerd and framed it in my room."

He's all for rooting for the underdogs, like teenagers who weren't ever really thought of as heroes until the "Power Rangers."

Or teens who have big movie ideas they'd like to see become reality.

Like Dani Palmer on Facebook and follow her @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.