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Crash Course
Wild Mind Film Camp

photoE.A. Weymuller, Wild Mind Film Camp student, takes pictures just outside the classroom. The students films will be shown tonight, Thursday, at 8:30pm at TwispWorks. Photo by Steven Foreman.

Words of insight and inspiration slipped out the classroom doorway into the Twispworks parking lot. As instruction ended, the ten students scattered in pairs, scooping up backpacks, cameras, and tripods and heading in separate directions by car or on foot to document valley life on video.

For Wild Mind Film Camp this was the students’ second to last day of a 10-day documentary production course, meaning, “They’re in hell right now. They really are. Some are struggling with stories, some with technical issues, but everyone’s struggling,” said camp instructor and documentary filmmaker Peter Vogt. The students had a day and a half left to finish their three-to-five minute documentaries, which were later shown to the public at Twispworks on Thursday, July 26th.

Vogt said, “I think there are some great projects. The one I just looked at is one of the funniest things in the world. She’s doing a short documentary on the hairy women of the Methow, which I think is absolutely hilarious. She did a great job. I just saw the rough cut.”

“Mine’s on Stuart Holm, who owns the Boulder Creek Deli,” says E.A. Weymuller, a professional photographer and film camp student from the Methow Valley. The other film topics include wolves’ impact on the valley, the cross above Twisp, a portrait of producer Ed Tennent, Vicky and Ed Welch, the owners of Sunny Pine Farm, and Sandy Butte, as a lifted ski area.

This is the film camp’s first year. Instead of taking a three-month college course, Wild Mind fits it all into 10 days. The students stay at Vogt’s house during the camp. Tuition costs $2,800. Vogt thinks about stretching the course an extra two days next year, but still needs to “iron out” some of the details with Doug Pray, one of the other four instructors. “I think the most brilliant part of this camp is inviting Doug here,” says Vogt talking about Pray’s extensive film teaching experience.

photos of four peopleThe film camp instructors, left to right: Peter J. Vogt, Doug Pray, Shana Hagan and John Jacobsen. Photos courtesy Wild Mind Film Camp.

The students began their documentaries with a topic idea. Then they built up a storyboard to keep their videos focused. Next they secured their interviews, shot sequences, b-roll and began editing. Vogt says, “There was sort of an oh shit moment yesterday where everyone completely freaked out. It was the first full day of editing and everybody thought they were not going to have enough time. They are backing down from the ledge now, and they’re getting it.”

The student’s levels of experience vary Vogt explains, but that they are all committed to bettering themselves as filmmakers.

Weymuller says, “We are trying to learn how to rely on our partners and utilize the techniques that we are learning in class, which is tough for some of us who are use to doing it all ourselves. Talking about myself of course.” When one teammate is the director, the other teammate becomes the director of photography meaning that the director must rely on his or her teammate for gathering good quality audio and video.

Asked about the potential for film in the Methow Valley, Vogt replies, “This valley is so full of stories. There are heroes and villains, and there are tragedies and comedies just like anywhere else in the world. This valley has its own unique culture.”


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