A backyard movie-maker films his guest star for Tampa Theatre’s summer camp.

By Lily Belcher

Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s best efforts to dim the lights on Tampa Theatre’s anticipated summer camps, young directors will attract audiences via virtual auditoriums to view the products of this year’s unique summer film camp.

The Backyard Movie-Maker summer camp, partnering with the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT) and the Tampa Electric Company for the 20th year, is part of Tampa Theatre’s Education and Outreach program and welcomes students in grades 3-12 and their families to learn the basics of cinematography and directing.

The camp gives participants an opportunity to learn the techniques needed to create an at-home film for only $125 per family each week.

“When the ongoing COVID-19 closure made it impossible to move forward with Summer Film Camp this year, we all agreed immediately that we wanted to collaborate instead on a virtual program,” said FCIT Assistant Director Nate Wolkenhauer.

After the success of June’s courses, participants will have the option to create a family documentary during the week of Monday, July 13 and create a scene in the style of their favorite director during the week of Monday, July 20.

“The instructional portion includes game show-style quizzes and group discussions, but even more important will be the periods where campers are searching their homes for props, costumes and settings,” said Tampa Theatre’s media contact, Jill Witecki. “The goal of the Backyard Movie-Makers virtual camp is the same as our regular Summer Film Camp: to foster creativity and teach children visual literacy.”

The camp gives future Steven Spielbergs a chance to put their ideas in the spotlight—teaching campers how to write a script, direct and edit short films.

While Stan Lee might not make a cameo in the at-home movies, participants will create sets in their living room and cast their family as actors. Aspiring filmmakers will need a computer or phone with a movie editing software program, such as iMovie (which is free) or Movavi (which offers a seven-day free trial), to create their at home movie.

For more information about the Backyard Movie-Maker summer camp, visit https://tampatheatre.org or contact Jill Witecki at jill@tampatheatre.org. For more information on how to register, contact Box Office Manager Dawn Kidle at dawn@tampatheatre.org.