Every summer Austin Public, a division of the Austin Film Society, puts on eight summer camps for children in Austin to learn about the film industry and create movies of their own. Each camp is one week long, has a theme, and is for a certain age group. For example, the summer starts with Music Video Camp for children ages 12 through 15. There’s also TV for Teens for teens ages 15 to 18 and even Action Adventure Camp for 9 to 11 year old kids. All of these camps allow the campers to learn what goes on in the film industry by making their own movies. The campers write their scripts, man the cameras, and edit the videos all in time for a screening on the last day of camp to show their families what they have been doing all week. I had the pleasure of helping with the last two camps of the summer, Scary Movie and Animation Creation.
Scary Movie Camp is for children ages 12 to 15. I came in on the second day of camp, when the kids were writing their scripts. Given their age, I honestly was expecting simple plots that everyone knows. Was I surprised when I started talking to them and realized that the scripts they were writing were very creative and original! Not only were the kids creative, they were also very quick learners too. Most of the campers were only at the camp because they simply had an interest in movie making, not many of them had any previous experience with filming or editing. Despite this, they took to the stage, cameras, and editing like professionals. It amazed me how the campers seemed to be just your average, everyday middle schoolers when there were really so much more. What surprised me even more than that, however, was the resilience of the campers in the next camp.
Animation Creation Camp is one of the two camps for children ages 9 to 11. After the previous week I was able to prepare myself to be surprised by their creativity, but their resilience knocked me off my feet. Stop-motion, the animation form this camp focuses on, is hard. It takes a lot of patience and hard work. Given what I know about my two siblings who are 7 and 12 years old, I thought my main job at this camp would be to motivate the campers to finish their projects. Instead I found myself telling one of them to stop trying to work on two projects at the same time! All the campers were super motivated and enthusiastic about their work. When what they were doing didn’t work just right, they tried something else instead of giving up and settling for less than what they wanted. This perseverance is a skill that some adults don’t have yet, and I don’t think these kids would have gained this skill as early if they hadn’t come to camp.
Above is the picture of all the campers from Animation Creation Camp at Austin Public 2016, including three of the camp counselors
If you are interested in going to or sending your kids to one of these summer camps, just click Here. Summer camp season is over for 2016, but be sure to sign up for summer 2017 as soon as registration opens next spring! And don’t forget to see you qualify for a scholarship to attend camp. To apply for a scholarship, just go to the bottom of the summer camp page I linked to earlier. Everyone at Austin Public hopes to see you here next summer!