Thursday, July 9, 2015

Creative Transitions Through Film

Do you remember when you were at that transitional age of 16-22? Enjoying the freedom of youth, while considering the endless possibilities for your future? It is an important time of life that we all experience.

Opportunities outside of home life and school life are an ideal way to stretch your wings and see where you fit in the world. That is one reason we created our VSA Texas Side by Side Internships. These are opportunities for young adults with disabilities to learn about a creative profession directly from someone working in that industry.

Our most recent Side by Side Internship was a great experience for sixteen youth and four local filmmakers. This three-week opportunity started with one week of a “film school” experience. The interns learned the basics of movie making and some specific techniques for fiction films, documentaries, and stop motion animation. The group then broke into three teams for two weeks, and the real fun began! Small groups of 5-6 interns met with their filmmakers to get hands-on experience making a movie.

The documentary film team
ready to scout locations for filming

While the technical skills of scriptwriting, storyboarding, filming, and editing were a big part of this experience, I think the real learning experience was in the relationship building, the teamwork, and the working environment. Being outside of the routine of school and home can be stressful for someone who has autism, as many of our interns do. Each had to learn how to manage these new relationships in a quick time period and in a new space. And they did a great job!

The animation team storyboarding

As one parent commented about her son, “He has matured and progressed these three weeks in a different and social way that he otherwise would not have acquired at home. Thank you for the opportunity and the learning and all the good relationships [he] made with his new friends.”

The fiction film team reviewing footage

We appreciate all of the hard work our interns have put into this project, spending three weeks of their summer enhancing skills for their future careers. Maybe careers in film!

You are all welcome to attend the premiere of these three short films and see for yourself the potential of these youth with disabilities. The event will be this Sunday, July 12, 2015, from 2-5 pm at Marchesa Hall and Theatre, 6226 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752. Check out the Facebook event here.

We hope you come away from the experience with excitement about the possibilities for transitioning age youth in your community. Consider mentoring a young adult with a disability! I guarantee it will expand their world and yours at the same time.

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