Let's Talk About Art: Take a break and pick up film skills

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

Gap year alternative

The idea of a gap year is tantalizing. Think of the possibilities.

The term is used for the time a student might take between high school and college. It began in England where students of "the upper crust" had nine months between taking their entrance exams and beginning school at, say, Oxford or Cambridge. Typically they'd use this time to travel the world.

The idea of a gap year is popular in America, too -- but with a twist. While many still feel the need to get out of the classroom, some are using the time to hone a skill or pursue a new interest, even if it means getting back in the classroom.

Either way, a gap year promises to get you out of the drudge of your routine. It's even spilling over into the world of adults with well-established careers. Some are taking time -- a sabbatical, a leave of absence, a long stretch of vacation -- to learn a new skill.

"More and more students are interested in taking a year off to expand their wings a bit," says Dory Perry, admissions officer at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' School. And parents like the idea of their teenagers setting a goal, working toward it, while gaining skills they later can leverage in the job market.

This fall, Pittsburgh Filmmakers begins a full-time, hands-on, eight-month program called The Filmmaking Intensive. It was created, Ms. Perry explains, to meet the needs of those who want a career-preparatory program in film production -- whether they are high school grads taking a gap year, college grads looking to expand their skills, or those who want to make a career change.

"Students can look forward to learning multiple skills currently used in the film industry today," says Ms. Perry. This includes producing, lighting, writing, shooting, directing and editing. "They will leave the program with a diploma and the training necessary to take on a variety of jobs in the industry, such as grip, boom operator or script supervisor," she says.

In fall 2014, Pittsburgh Filmmakers will offer a similar program in photography. For more information about these new programs: dory@pghfilmmakers.org or www.pittsburgharts.org.


First Published June 18, 2013 4:00 AM


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