Embrace Your Inner Filmmaker
ECAT offering free filmmaking online classes through the end of the month, excited for debut of new facility at former Wayne Middle School
Have you ever looked at an event, a headline, or an experience — whether it be someone else's or your own — and said to yourself "This could be a movie?"
If so, you may have the instincts of a filmmaker. But a good concept is only a small fraction of the equation — the rest is in the execution. To put that inspiration into motion (pictures), you'll need to write a compelling script, identify talented actors and actresses, plan and budget a shooting schedule, know how to operate a camera with intention, and be able to edit all your footage down into a cohesive document.
That may sound like a lot of work — and it is — but you don't have to be intimidated. Through May 31, the Erie Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT) is offering a free online filmmaking course for beginners, with Film Society of Northwest Pennsylvania's John C. Lyons instructing. Lyons recently finished debuting the eco horror film Unearth worldwide (and to much acclaim), so there are few better men in the region to direct your studies.
The course consists of 6 videos covering all the basics of filmmaking, including scripting, filming, and editing. They can be viewed on-demand and at the learner's pace, designed with teenage viewers in mind. After registering and completing the course, students will have the chance to share their short movies for feedback.
Lyons says he stayed away from specific prompts and themes because he wanted to inhibit creativity as little as possible. "We really didn't want to have a lot of rules; we wanted to lay the groundwork for you to tell your story and edit and deliver it."
Jude Shingle, new Arts Program Director at ECAT, encourages all interested Erie County teens to sign up and take advantage of this unique opportunity. Looking forward, he's excited for the four brand new arts instruction classrooms debuting this fall as part of ECAT's new facility located in the former Wayne Middle School (650 East Ave.), which will begin offering in-person after-school programs at no charge to any Erie County students beginning in September.
Among these classrooms:
- A main art studio room for painting and drawing classes
- A ceramics studio that will include four pottery wheels, a handicapped accessible wheel, and a kiln
- A multipurpose room for community meetings, art exhibits, and film events
The $10.3 million makeover will also feature a stunning glass entryway and water feature to reinforce the feel of a world-class learning environment.
Aspiring filmmakers take note — everyone loves a good underdog story.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org