My 8 year old's newest obsession is making movies, so I was super excited to find the Saratoga Film Academy, our area's only program that offers hands on training in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, and more, letting kids become the storyteller and teaching them how to create their own movies.
Jon Dorflinger, the Founder and CEO of The Saratoga Film Academy is a writer, filmmaker, and teacher, and a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) who has worked in production for six years in the Hollywood film industry on films including Seabiscuit (hello Saratoga!), The Terminal, Team America, and Memoirs of a Geisha. Jon has worked with award-winning actors, writers, directors, and producers including Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Tobey Maguire, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (co-creators of South Park).
While working for a production executive at Warner Brothers Studios, he learned the Hollywood business through his training in production management. As the personal assistant to writer/director Tom Brady, he was involved in the creative process of writing, casting, producing, and post-production of The Comebacks starring David Koechner (Anchorman). He completed the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA, and is currently in midst of several writing projects for books, movies, and TV. This former “Teacher of the Year” taught high school English in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and holds a Masters Degree in Teaching and teaching certifications for both California and New York State in 7-12 English Language Arts.
Now entering it's second year of operation, the Saratoga Film Academy offers programs for kids ages 8-18 like Stop-Motion Animation Classes where kids will build claymation characters, write their stories, build their sets, photograph their movies, record voice overs, and edit their short films, and Creative Filmmaking classes for grade schoolers, middle schoolers and high schoolers. The new classes are designed as 24-week programs that run the entire school year. Although, if a student doesn’t want to commit to a year long program, the classes are broken up into 4 six-week phases where a student can pick and choose the classes they want, if availability permits.
Each six-week class focuses on a different phase of the production process:
- Screenwriting/Development – PHASE 1
- Pre-Production/Planning – PHASE 2
- Production – PHASE 3
- Post-Production – PHASE 4
This new program design provides students with more in depth knowledge, more hands-on technical training, and most importantly, more time to cultivate and develop higher quality projects. The advantage for students committing to the full 24-weeks is the opportunity to work on and develop the same core projects that they write and develop in Phase 1 throughout the duration of the program.
No matter what phase the students choose to enroll in, they will be working with cameras, creating, and producing smaller video projects that support their growth in the disciplines they are engaging in. Half of the class time will be dedicated to working on the core projects, while the second half of class will be devoted to video production exercises.
Engaging in these classes provides the students with a fun and exciting opportunity to develop their creative voices. Additionally they will develop higher level thinking skills including but not limited to: problem solving, collaboration, communication, leadership, time-management, strategical planning, and organization.
Classes are limited to 8 students and are currently located at the Saratoga Independent School. Classes will begin 4pm on October 19th, to register and to find out more, click here.