DMA Success Story: Prize-winning Student Now DMA Teacher

By Phill Powell

DMA-instructor-Sam-Sandweiss
Seven years ago, he was taking the class; now he’s teaching it. DMA alumnus Sam Sandweiss used his vacation from USC Film School to return to DMA as a Minecraft instructor.

When Sam Sandweiss first attended Digital Media Academy he was a creative kid with lots of energy…but he seemed to lack focus.

Sam attended a DMA filmmaking camp and with the skills he learned in camp entered a video commercial contest, and won a $10,000 grand prize. And Sam had just started high school!

Seven years later, Sam Sandweiss is a DMA success story. He’s an undergrad at University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, double majoring in Film Production and Interactive Media Games.

This past summer, Sam returned to DMA — but this time as an instructor at DMA’s UCLA tech camp.

The Start of Something BIG

Great things are happening for DMA alumnus Sam Sandweiss. But once upon a time, he was just another kid. Looking back, he notes what made the difference in launching him onto an early fast track to success. It was that first summer at DMA tech camp at Stanford University.

“It was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Sam says. “DMA opened my eyes to a whole new world of creative technology, and it has influenced many of my life choices since then.”

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Sam Sandweiss in 2007 with the $10,000 grand prize check he received for winning a video commercial contest. He credits his experience at DMA the previous summer with giving him the tools he needed for victory.

He took the beginning Pro Series course on Final Cut Pro (which was brand new in 2007) and excelled under the instruction of DMA super-teacher George Mauro.

Then he started high school that fall. But while many freshmen were still busy learning the ropes, Sam was already working on bigger accomplishments that used what he had learned that summer at DMA.

“With my newfound skills, a MacBook Pro and a copy of Final Cut Express, I entered a video commercial contest…and won $10,000!” he remembers.

After having such a positive experience with his first year at DMA, Sam decided to go back for more the following summer.

During a three-week period of intense learning, he took more Pro Series courses, including Advanced Final Cut Pro, The Craft of Editing and Round-Tripping in Final Cut Pro.

Inspiring the Next Generation to Create

Sam’s a busy guy, and because of what he learned at DMA, he’s now ready and poised to achieve massive success, pursuing one or more possible careers that he loves and enjoys.

“Thanks to DMA, I was able to develop many key skills that led to my success as a video professional, before I even stepped into high school! DMA is why I’m attending college at USC for Film Production.”

dma-teacher-sam-sandweiss
Since DMA, Sam’s pursued twin career paths, in filmmaking and video game design. His starting point: DMA tech camp, where he returned to teach this past summer.

While Sam’s DMA training leads him forever forward, his fondness for the DMA experience recently called him back…to return to DMA as a teacher. He says it was an unforgettable experience.

In August he finished his first season as an instructor at DMA’s camp on the UCLA campus, and he’s still super-psyched about the fantastic time he had, as he completed a path that has taken him from student to teacher.

“Being a DMA instructor this summer was an incredibly rewarding experience. It was great to see it come full circle this summer when I got to come back and teach young kids amazing new skills.”

And when Sam stares out at a class full of eager young learners, it’s hard for him not to recognize two or three earlier versions of himself, sitting at those computer workstations. It’s his great wish that in time his creative and professional journey will eventually become their journey.

“It’s my hope that one of my students will one day come back to DMA and teach the amazing things that he or she has learned since attending,” Sam says.

Make This Summer Your Big Start
As Sam Sandweiss’ story proves, it’s never too early to get a head start on success. This summer you can jump-start your future by attending camp, at DMA tech camp locations on one of more than 20 leading college and university campuses. Pursue your passion for filmmaking, game design, app development, music production, robotics, animation, engineering, and many more great subjects.

At DMA you work on cool projects that you can take home or include on college applications. Plus, with DMA skills, you can compete in cool contests like Sam, and maybe win some nice prize money!

It all starts with a DMA summer. Register now for Summer 2015 tech camps.