Students will write, direct and star in their own short films while receiving instruction and guidance from professionals in the film, music and animation industries.
Spy Hop will conduct and facilitate separate digital media classes for youth age 7 to 9, age 10 to 12, and age 13 to 16. Students will work with industry-standard software such as GarageBand, iStopMotion, Final Cut Pro and Abelton Live, Thomas said in the news release.
Each age group will learn writing styles and story structure for digital storytelling, and will create their own music and set it to animation or live action films. Each class will receive DVD copies of the finished products. Organizers are also working to create a film festival to present the students’ work to the community, according to the news release.
Founded in 1999, Spy Hop is a nonprofit youth media arts and education center based in Salt Lake City. The center’s mission is to mentor young people in the digital media arts to help them find their artistic voice, tell their stories, and “be empowered to [affect] positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world,” according to the group’s website. Spy Hop’s programming has become a model for youth development programs across the nation and the group has been recognized by the White House as a leading arts and humanities organization.
“I first became aware of Spy Hop in 2008 after I took part in a 48-hour filmmaking contest. It was such a fun experience that I wanted more. I never found anything for adults, but I came across Spy Hop and have been thinking about them ever since. It’s an opportunity I wish I had had growing up, and as a parent, I want to make the opportunity available for any kid who has a passion for it,” Thomas said. “Luckily, it turns out I’m not the only parent who feels this way.”
After another mother approached Thomas with similar interest in Spy Hop, she contacted the organization and learned it had been discussing how to reach out to Moab. Spy Hop created a proposal for three, week-long classes and Thomas volunteered to organize the project locally.
“A lot of other parents have jumped on board to help, which is what’s going to make this happen,” Thomas said. “We all want to create a situation where this can be an on-going summer offering. But our biggest hurdle, I think, is the cost of the class and we want to make it affordable to a broad range of families.”
Thomas and volunteer Natalie Grout, a mother of two and co-owner of Desert Dance Daycare, are raising funds to lower the student fee.
“Our first goal is to lower the price of the class from $250 to $175 per student and we’re half-way there,” Thomas said. “Ideally, we’d like to raise enough to lower the cost to $130 per student and even offer scholarships or financial assistance – if not this summer, then next.”
Anyone who is interested in donating money to the project should contact Thomas at 435-220-1012, or donate money directly to the Spy Hop Youth Media Workshop account set up at Wells Fargo Bank.