DMA SUCCESS STORY: Filmmaker & Visual Effects Artist Sam Gualtieri

By Phill Powell

DMA tech camps teach amazing STEM-based skills, but we never forget it’s also a summer camp experience. And we never forget that while our teen students are techies first and foremost, they’re also still teenagers.

DMA_student_Sam_Gualtieri
On an end-of-camp survey, Sam gave DMA the highest score possible for “overall camp experience”!

That means they want and expect a little more latitude and require less direct supervision than our kid campers. For 2015 student Sam Gualtieri, it was great to get to explore his host campus on his own and with his new camp friends.

Sam’s a 14-year-old from Philadelphia who enjoyed taking one of DMA’s two week filmmaking academies. We’ll let him tell you what else he liked about his summer at DMA:

THE DMA INTERVIEW: SAM GUALTIERI

Sam, what did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
I created two short films with the entire group, and one visual-effects-based project with an instructor and a friend I met at camp.

The first short film, created in Week 1, was revised a lot during our group meetings. It was about traumatic pasts.

Hmmm…interesting. What about the other one?
I liked the film we made as a group during Week 2. This was a longer film, with a more planned-out script and shot list, about a kid detective and his sidekick going on adventures. We filmed it throughout the University of Pennsylvania campus and had a great time creating it.

And what about your visual-effects-based project?
It was inspired by my instructor’s separate, Portal-based film. (Portal is a well-known video game.) At my request, he taught me how to create a complicated effect, and I ended up creating a minute-long film of me jumping through portals. It was fun to make and I learned a lot about Adobe After Effects in the process.

Cool. So how exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
Completing the second film was great because everybody got to take part in the writing and directing, camerawork, acting and editing. We came out with a final product that I was proud of.

And how about your side project?
My visual effects film made me feel extremely excited. This was one of the highest quality shorts that I have made, and I have used it in multiple resumes for high school admission, with good results. I have enjoyed the feedback from friends, family and the online community.

Whenever I work on a video project, I think a lot about what I learned in DMA camp. In particular, the skills and the finished product helped me get admitted to my top-choice high schools.
– DMA Filmmaking & Visual Effects Student Sam Gualtieri

What were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
I made some good friends, and I got multiple filmmaking connections and tips.

Nice. Anything else you liked?
Going out to lunch on campus was cool. I got to explore my independence in and outside of filmmaking.

Sounds like you had a good time and learned a lot…
Overall, this experience has given me a better feel for what filmmaking with a group is like, and that’s important because that is what most of my future career will consist of.

And what about the quality of the teaching you received?
The instructors made learning fun and challenging.

Did you make friends at DMA camp this summer?
Although I enjoyed my time with everyone at DMA, I met four good friends, two of whom I am still in touch with during the school year.

So are you using what you learned at DMA back at your regular school?
Yes, whenever I work on a video project, I think a lot about what I learned in DMA camp. In particular, the skills and the finished product helped me get admitted to my top-choice high schools.

Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
Yes! I am already enrolled for next summer.

Awesome! Would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Yes, I have recommended it to friends who are interested in filmmaking.

And how about your folks? Were your parents satisfied with your DMA experience?
My parents were very pleased. They saw that I had fun, met nice people who shared my interests, learned great skills and had some independence in the city.

Sam_Gualtieri_2015_video_project
A screen shot from the visual effects video Sam created during DMA camp.

GETTING READY FOR MORE!

Sam’s a great student, so we’re really excited he’s returning this summer for two more courses at our Univ of Penn tech camps.

How about you? Do you have your future mapped out, like Sam? Consider starting this summer, with a week or two at Digital Media Academy.

We’ve added new DMA courses and locations for our 2016 camp season…which is rapidly becoming our biggest and best yet. The time to register for DMA summer camp is now, while course selection is still pretty good for most subjects. (Although some classes are almost at capacity now.)

Visit our website and discover what students like Sam have already learned – that for learning cool tech, nobody tops DMA.

Special thanks to DMA’s Rachelle Harding for coordinating this interview!