Two Jamestown High School students may eventually find themselves working behind-the-scenes on the silver screen.
This is because Nigel Eastman and Brayton Lydell, sophomores in the JHS VideoWorks curriculum, have been invited to attend the 2013 Summer Media Arts Video School at the State University at Oswego.
The video school is hosted by the New York State Summer School for the Arts, which selects 15 students throughout the state to participate. This is considered a high honor for Nigel and Brayton, who had to submit a video work sample, written essay and undergo an interview process to be considered.
Nigel Eastman, left, and Brayton Lydell pose for a photo while watching one of their short films entitled, “Common Sense.” Nigel and Brayton were selected as two of 15 students to attend the New York State Summer School for the Arts’ 2013 Summer Media Arts Video School at SUNY Oswego this summer.
"It is a huge honor," said Brayton.
"It feels really rewarding, and I'm grateful that I was chosen out of this group of talented people to go to this program specifically for that reason," said Nigel.
Sam Qadri, the technology teacher associated with VideoWorks, said the production talents of Nigel and Brayton are admired by the teaching team.
"These two have developed a great sense of artistic video production skills. Their ability to conceive and tell a story-one of many English Language Arts integrated connections-through the lens of a video camera has surpassed anyone's expectations within their grade level, as well as the teaching team," said Qadri.
Although he was accepted into the video school at Oswego, Brayton said he will not be attending the NYSSSA program, but has opted to attend the New York Film Academy for a week in New York City. He said he will be doing essentially a condensed version of what he would have been doing at the NYSSSA video school.
The summer program stresses creative production, exploration, experimentation and discovery. The curriculum will include an introduction to the specific facilities, a review of fundamentals, an exploration of new techniques and processes, an overview of aesthetics, surveys of contemporary work, trends, and ideas and extensive production work that emphasizes individual or small group projects. The program culminates with a final show and screening of participants' films.
Nigel, who will be attending the video school, said he is looking forward to the experience.
"I really want to be pushed out of my comfort zone when it comes to (certain) things," said Nigel. "I'm not the greatest writer, and I'm not the greatest at coming up with ideas. So if they push me more toward that, to strengthen my weaknesses, then I feel like I could come out as a better filmmaker."
Both Nigel and Brayton have been interested in filmmaking from a young age, having made their own independent films prior to being enrolled in VideoWorks. Beginning with their collaboration in the classroom, they have since formed their own production group, outside of school, called GorillaSharkPictures.
It was in this group that the films selected by the video school were filmed and produced by Nigel and Brayton. The submitted films are called "Common Sense" and "The Confused Hero," and were submitted by Nigel and Brayton, respectively. Currently, the films can be viewed on YouTube on the GorillaSharkPictures channel.
Despite receiving positive feedback on the films, Brayton said there is still more to learn and improve upon.
"These films are not our best," he said. "Both of them still have things that we wish we had done differently and done better. That's why we want to continue on, and use what we've learned from past projects as a learning experience to make future videos better."
Aided by their aptitudes within different areas of filmmaking, Nigel and Brayton said they intend to continue making films together throughout the remainder of their school career-hoping to have completed a fully produced short film by their senior year-and beyond. Nigel said his career interests in filmmaking lean toward the technical aspect-such as directing, directing photography and editing-while Brayton's strengths lie in storytelling, writing and visual presentation.