Filmmaker Byron Camacho’s upcoming workshop on writing and directing short films is aimed toward adults who want to study the fundamentals of screenwriting and directing but have no background in film. Camacho said he hopes the workshop will provide a jumping-off point for aspiring filmmakers in T&T.
The programme consists of a three-hour class on Saturdays for eight weeks, beginning on March 11, and ending on April 29.
Camacho, who has a bachelor’s degree in film and television production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has also studied at the New York Film Academy.
Camacho has himself written and directed short films, including the ten-minute horror Less of You. He interned at Andrew Lauren Productions (The Spectacular Now, The Squid and the Whale), and The Weinstein Co (Lion, Django Unchained). He said both schools placed an emphasis on learning all aspects of filmmaking. The internships allowed him to get an inside look at what goes into larger studio filmmaking.
Interning contributed to his writing proficiency, too, as he was in the development department.
“I’d read scripts and books and whatever materials they would get in to be considered for actual projects. There was no discrimination in terms of material: we literally read everything from comic books to scripts that were clearly written by people who never took a script formatting class in their lives. I really enjoyed that experience and it definitely, 100 per cent made me a better writer.”
He said his recent experience volunteering with a non-profit organisation in Los Angeles, 826LA, where he helped elementary and high school children with writing short stories daily, also prepared him for putting on the workshop.
Camacho said the workshop course would focus heavily on writing and directing. “There will be a class dedicated to talking about what goes into creating a character and their backstory and how you incorporate a character into a story. Another class will deal with writing dialogue that sounds natural but at the same time isn’t expository and filled with backstory.
“The students will write their own scripts and we’ll workshop and critique them, then at the very end of the course we’re going to do sessions dedicated to actual production, just to give them a taste of what it’s like to be on set, basic three-point lighting, where to position a camera during a scene and directing actors, etc.
“I’m going to be having guest lecturers, other local filmmakers come in and help out with that.”
Camacho said the creative scene in T&T inspires him because he sees young people creating films and music videos despite a lack of resources.
“I’ve been living in places like LA and New York where there is an overabundance of resources, and so the thought of finding a way to actually create more opportunities for filmmakers here came to me.
“We would have an amazing industry, I see the potential for it, because people have the drive, the interest and the passion and once we are able to just create more opportunities for people to actually do what they want to do, I think it could lead to something huge. It’s definitely there, it’s just not being nurtured.”
Camacho said that based on the success of this workshop he would continue to offer others on different areas of film production.
He may, for example, hold workshops for teens in July/August which would be more production-oriented, as well as others in production design and editing.
“Ultimately I just really wanted to create something that was fun and challenging that would excite people about film and empower them to continue pursuing it as a creative means of expression. I would really like to get people inspired and get people motivated. I hope it can lead to bigger, more exciting things in the future.”
More info: Find: Paradise Film Workshops on Facebook.