DMA Success Stories

There’s a difference between just shooting footage with a handheld camera and really making a film.

On an end-of-camp survey, Carter awarded DMA the highest score possible for “overall camp experience.”

For Carter Kaess, one of our 2015 filmmaking camp students and our most recent DMA Success Story, that difference was what drew him to Digital Media Academy.

Fifteen-year-old Carter spent part of his summer with us at DMA. In early July, he attended one of our great tech camps at UC Irvine.

Here’s what he thinks about his experience:


Carter, what did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
We split up into small groups. My group created, recorded, edited and presented a short film about five HS students breaking into a school to get test answers. A sort of Mission Impossible theme.

Cool! How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
Accomplished!!! It was a great feeling when we finally completed our short film project and it actually wasn’t just filming friends skateboarding, but something you might see in a movie.

So what were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
Using the high-tech cameras, learning new software and making new friends.

Did you make new friends at DMA camp this summer?
Meeting new friends was one of my favorite things. I became close with four new people. We all had a lot in common after we got past being shy.

DMA was really fun and I would love to go back.
– DMA Filmmaking Student Carter Kaess

Do you think you’ll use what you learned at DMA back at your regular school?
I’m in high school now, a freshman and am applying for the HS TV class called “MHSTV” (Marina High School TV) next year.

Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
DMA was really fun and I would love to go back.

And would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Yes, I would recommend camp. It’s great fun if you’re interested in filmmaking and meeting people with your common interests.

This summer, let DMA help you discover your talent for filmmaking.


Digital Media Academy is a great place to learn about making movies. Whether you want to be part of a movie production crew or focus on some other aspect of filmmaking, DMA has you covered.

More and more people are starting to realize that documentaries are cool (especially documentaries streaming on Netflix).

Maybe you’d like to learn how to make documentaries?

Or perhaps you want to make visual effects for amazing blockbuster productions?

We’re only a couple of months away from DMA’s biggest camp season ever! Demand has been staggering, so we’re encouraging students and parents to go ahead and consider their summer options and register with us as soon as possible.

We’ll see you this summer at the movies. The movies you shoot!

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

It’s a common theme, and one we never get tired of hearing.

Our latest DMA Success Story, Paul Fedor, is a 15-year-old from Sechelt, British Columbia. This past July, he attended DMA’s tech camps at UBCfor his third year in a row!

After his 2015 session, Paul awarded DMA the highest score possible for overall camp experience.

He’s into game design and much more, and he loves the subjects he’s discovering at DMA. This past summer, he set out to learn java for game development.

Here’s what he says about his DMA experiences:


What did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
In my first year, I made practice levels with Unreal Engine 4. In my second year, I practiced making humanoid models in Autodesk Maya. The third year, I practiced using many scenarios in Java (Eclipse).

How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
I felt like I had achieved something and like I had opened up a whole new world. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of being good in math and science.

What were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
The great relatable counsellors who put on fun and educational activities. My camp mates were fun.

The work habits I learned have been very useful.
– DMA Unreal, Maya and Java Student Paul Fedor

Did you make friends at DMA camp this summer?
I made five friends at camp.

Are you using what you learned at DMA now that you’re back at your regular school?
Yes, because the work habits I learned have been very useful for the later years at school.

Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
Of course.

Would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Of course.

Were your parents pleased with your DMA experience?
Yes, they noticed great improvements in my school work.


Summer’s only months away, and it’s time to stake your claim on the perfect summer. Make it happen at Digital Media Academy summer tech camps, where kids (ages 6-12) and teens (12-17) get deep into the hottest tech subjects going.

At DMA, campers build their personal confidence by mastering exciting new technologies, including cutting-edge topics like 3D printing, virtual reality and wearable tech.

With new campus locations and new DMA courses, this is going to be the greatest summer yet at DMA. Come be a part of it!

DMA Winter Savings are now in effect. Find out more online.

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

Next week: Digital Media Academy’s tech news page will feature a week’s worth of DMA Success Stories.

Each day, we’ll give you an encore look at a kid or teen whose life was changed positively and dramatically this year by attending one of DMA’s tech camps, courses or academies.

Melanie had a great summer at DMA. Discover what she discovered at DMA!

You’ll read impressive stories of young people getting inspired and mastering today’s hottest tech skills.

At DMA, you’ll find cutting-edge subjects – including wearable tech, virtual reality and 3D printing. Plus great camps in app development, robotics, filmmaking, music production, animation and more.

And if you’re a girl into tech, DMA has you covered with its Made by Girls classes that are specially designed for female techies.

Join us this coming week for interviews with DMA students, and discover how you (or your child) could really benefit from DMA!

What led this teen to take three DMA courses this past summer? Find out next week!

We don’t know if Eric Flocke is a coffee drinker, but we do know he got his fill of Java this past summer, when he attended DMA’s Academy for Java Programming.

In an end-of-camp survey, Eric Flocke awarded DMA five stars for overall camp experience.

Eric’s a 12-year-old from Chicago, who attended DMA’s University of Chicago tech camps in mid-July. Here are the results of our interview with him:


What did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
Two different games, using the Java coding language. The first one was a dodging game, and the second was replicating the scary maze game.

How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
I felt like something shifted into place…like accomplishment or pride.

What were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
The projects, and the satisfaction of having something you made work, and understanding why.

Are you using what you learned at DMA programming camps now that you’re back at your regular school?
Java is a very universal coding language. I can apply it to solve all sorts of computational problems. I think especially in mathematics it would be very useful. It also helped me think more critically.

Did you make friends at DMA camp this summer?
Yeah, I made several friends.

Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
Yes, definitely.

Java is a very universal coding language. I can apply it to solve all sorts of computational problems.
– DMA Programming Student Eric Flocke

Would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Yep, I think they would enjoy it and they would learn a lot from it.


The best savings of the year on DMA tech camps will soon disappear. If you want to save money on next summer’s tech camps, like our two week Java courses, you’ve got to act this weekend or Monday.

Our Holiday Savings Season discounts are in effect through Dec. 21st. You can save $100 on each Summer 2016 camp registration you make.

Plus, we’ve just added cool new DMA courses and locations, so now there’s more great tech instruction available and more prestigious university locations to enjoy.

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

“I would definitely and highly recommend DMA for other teens who are passionate about filmmaking. I’m hoping to go back again this summer, both as a TA and to take a class.”

Name: Ben D.
Age: 15
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Future Occupation: Filmmaker
Course: Visual Effects for Filmmaking
Campus: Filmmaking Camp at Stanford

When did you start making movies?
“The first real live-action film I made was when I was nine. At this point I’ve posted slightly more than 80 videos on my YouTube Channel, with more ideas in the works.”

So DMA helped build upon your early filmmaking?
“I first attended DMA in Summer 2011 when I took Visual Effects for Filmmaking with DMA Instructor Travis Schlafmann at Stanford. His class expanded on what I already knew and I got a chance to create films with teens from all over the world. I made friends that I still keep in touch with today.”

But your DMA experience didn’t end there, did it?
“At the end of the class Travis recommended that I take a DMA Pro Series course in After Effects® the next summer and that I apply to be a Teaching Assistant. I went back to Stanford last summer to do both of these things. I was a TA in Digital Filmmaking for Teens – Beginner, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then took the Pro Series After Effects® class (After Effects CS6 Studio – Advanced Techniques) where I learned a lot of new techniques, all of which I still use today. I also use After Effects® much more frequently than I did before I took the class.”

What’s the single most important thing that DMA did for you as a filmmaker?
“To meet me at my own level with filmmaking and help me go further. This boosted my confidence in myself as a filmmaker. At DMA I was consistently challenged to learn or try something new.”

What do you consider the best part of your DMA experience?
“The ability to work with other teens who are also interested in filmmaking, along with knowledgeable, skilled and fun instructors.”

Is your goal to eventually be a professional filmmaker?
“I do envision myself becoming a professional filmmaker. My dream job would most likely involve cinematography or editing. In a way I already am professional in that I’m being compensated for film and editing work on a fairly regular basis now.”

Thanks to his natural talent and DMA training, Ben is making a name for himself as one of the finest online film directors now emerging. Check out Ben’s website for links to his films and music.

Aspiring filmmakers who want to learn how to shoot professional-quality video footage don’t have to wait to be old enough for film school. Digital Media Academy’s digital filmmaking camps give youngsters the chance to sit in the director’s chair, call the creative shots and try their hand at becoming the next Spielberg.

Ben used his love of running-jumping-rolling Parkour to inspire one of his liveliest short films yet.

Name: Koa L., Kaipo L.
Age: 10, 8
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Future Occupation: Scientist, Musician (drummer), Architect or Designer
Course: Adventures in Science & Engineering
Campus: UCLA

Summer camp is an experience that only gets better when you bring family and friends along. Take, for example, these two brothers who attended Digital Media Academy’s tech camp at UCLA in 2012.

Koa’s parents know that investing in their kids at an early age gives them a head start on tomorrow.

Koa and Kaipo both spent a week at a brand new kids camp based around science and engineering. DMA’s tech camps support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) skill sets, and that’s great news to parents since the Department of Labor estimates there will be 1.2 million STEM jobs available in the next 5 years.

What isn’t such great news is that there aren’t enough skilled graduates to fill those jobs!

This is where DMA comes in. We help provide kids and teens the tools to make STEM subjects not only interesting but a possible career path. For kids like Koa and Kaipo, they get the real-world experience—and get to show off what they’ve learned to friends and family at the end of the week. We caught up these two aspiring engineers after their DMA summer:

What do you want to be?
Koa: “When I grow up, I might be a drummer, an architect or a designer.”

Kaipo: “Someday I want to be a scientist because I want to create something useful.”

What did you learn at DMA and what did you enjoy about the Adventures in Science & Engineering camp?
Koa: “I learned how circuits work, Bernoulli’s Principle of Flight, and Programming. You know, science and stuff. I also learned cartooning, like how comics are set up and how to create basic animation. Another thing I learned was architecture, where I did stuff like make a bridge out of popsicle sticks and design my dream house on a website.”

Kaipo: “My favorite part was solar energy because we got to learn about how sun beams power solar panels.”

How did DMA inspire you?
Koa: I play with LEGOs (at home) and build on Minecraft®. I got inspired by designing my dream house. I want to be an architect some day.”

Kaipo: “DMA inspired me to be a scientist because I did a lot of fun stuff in science and engineering.”

DMA’s Adventures courses lay the groundwork for students to develop a passion for subjects they experience in places outside of the classroom.

What was your most memorable camp moment?
Koa: “My favorite moment was when we built solar-powered cars and we learned about solar energy. It was really fun and I especially enjoyed racing the solar cars!”
Kaipo: “My favorite time was when we built water rockets. It was fun to make them and shoot them.”

DMA inspires students in the classroom to make each activity an enjoyable experience. Launching bottle rockets is a perfect example of having fun while learning!

Are you interested in attending DMA camp this coming summer?
Koa: “Yes!”

Kaipo: “We want to come back to UCLA.”

What DMA program will you take this time?
Koa: “I want to take the Adventures in Science & Engineering program again.”

Kaipo: “3D Video Game Creation.”

We’re excited that Koa and Kaipo are returning to DMA. Concepts like solar-powered cars and engineering don’t have to be out of reach to kids. In fact, they’re more accessible than ever. DMA offers a variety of STEM-related camps and courses that will inspire the future engineer in your home.

Name: Dhruva S.
Age: 6
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Future Occupation: Artist, Scientist
Course: Jr. Adventures in Art & Digital Photography
Campus: UCLA

“Digital Media Academy inspired me to be creative.”

What do you want to be?
“I want to be an artist and a scientist someday. I want to be the one who discovers things that we don’t know yet!”

What did you learn at DMA?
“I learned about abstract art, how to use water colors, photography, editing and enhancing photos.”

What was your most memorable camp moment?
“I really liked painting, sketching, coloring and making interesting photo edits, like upside-down pictures.”

Are you hoping to attend DMA again next summer?

Dhruva’s favorite artist? Georgia O’Keefe. He loves her 1928 work “Calla Lilies with Red Anemone.”

For budding young artists who want to learn how to paint (both on canvas and the digital screen) at a next generation art camp, DMA offers a variety of cool courses.

My son and his friend took the digital filmmaking course last summer at the Digital Media Academy and had a blast. They loved the camp, the food, the instructors. Plus, we let them loose with a digital movie camera on a school assignment this Fall and they came up with an amazing little film. Thanks, DMA!

Last summer I signed my my son up for 1 week at DMA.  He ended up going for 3 weeks.  He loved the sessions and kept wanting to do more.  The staff was so friendly that my son couldn’t wait to get to camp in the morning.  He has been talking about his DMA experience ever since and can’t wait to go back this summer and learn more.  This was by far the best summer program that my son has ever had!

What do you do with 2 pre-teen girls during summer that is fun, challenging, not academic, yet a learning experience? You enroll them in Digital Media – Hands on filmmaking class, that’s what! My girls had a blast at the camp, they were not very eager to go on the first day, but from the second day on, they were getting up early and waiting to go to the camp. The entire experience of being at Stanford University, learning about different techniques in film editing and enhancing was excellent.

The teachers were great – kids learned about group participation, leadership, acting, script writing all in one class.  The kids had to make a 10 minute movie and an ad, had to come up with their own script, act, and edit their films. For my kids it was a real eye opener and got them to realize the effort behind movie making. I doubt if they will view movies the same way again. Who knows, maybe they might even pick it as a career.

Definitely worth the time and money invested!