Amy Hesketh is professor of digital filmmaking. Olympic College/contributed

Olympic College offers BA in digital filmmaking

‘Lights! Action! Camera!’

BREMERTON — Enroll in Olympic College’s new digital film-making program and your professors will be an actor who has appeared in film with the likes of Gene Hackmanand Barbara Streisand; a screenwriter whose first script was optioned for $1 million; and a producer/actor known for such films as “Olalla” (2015), “Le Marquis de la Croix” (2012) and “Bluebeard” (2012).

In addition to the experienced faculty, the OC Film School’s new home in the new College Instruction Center will feature a professional production studio with a sound stage, media production studio, editing suites, screening theater, production equipment, Mac computers with industry standard software, and prop and costume shops, according to the school.

Best of all, the OC Film School program is less expensive than other film schools, according to program founder Timothy Hagan.

Making a living

According to Hagan, the media market in the early 21st century is the equivalent of the regional theatre movement in the 1960s.

“It’s where the money is at,” he said. “In the ’60s, it was all the corporations [movie studios]. The entry level is lower now thanks to the digital revolution.”

Without the corporate middlemen, it’s now possible for knowledgeable film makers to produce micro-budget films and then deal directly with audiences for their product.

A visionary and driving force behind the new program, Hagan said, “It’s a program whose time has come … Those who are talented can move ahead very quickly … Our program is designed with today’s film market in mind, where new media distribution platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube Red are seeing exponential growth.”

To help prepare students to make a living at their craft, Hagan said the program includes an emphasis on producing: “the business of show business: agreements, costs, contracts.”

Developing craftsmanship as a group art

The program emphasizes a holistic approach; students participate in all of the roles involved in film-making: producing, directing, designing, cinematography, editing and acting.

“The first day, we started a project,” student Nick Zacovic said. “You’re learning film language and theory with a camera in your hand,” unlike some film schools where students may spend the first two years learning theory before they can get behind a camera.

Jennifer O’Brien added, “The professors are trying to create a creative collective.”

Part of that creative collective is exposing students to the full range of responsibilities before they settle on a specialty. According to OC, students at other colleges and universities are required to pick an area of specialization, which limits their exposure to the other skill areas.

Teachers who can do

In addition to professional equipment and facilities, the courses are taught by film professionals who have “been there and done that.”

Hagan has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. He is a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and guest starred in TV shows in the 1970s and ’80s. He has directed theater in New York and Los Angeles, worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter, and taught and built film programs at several public colleges and private conservatories before coming to OC in 2006.

Screenwriting and production professor Aaron Drane has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. His latest film, “The Charnel House,” premiered in theaters in October 2016 and is currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Born and raised in Bremerton, he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in filmmaking. He sold three feature-length screenplays in different genres to 20th Century Fox, and wrote and produced the FEARnet web series “Fear Clinic.” Drane is a member of the Writers Guild and Producers Guild of America.

Professor of digital filmmaking Amy Hesketh has written, produced, directed, and acted in more than nine feature-length films. Her honors include the Reconocimiento Award for revitalizing the Bolivian cinema industry, according to her resumé.

It’s affordable

According to Hagan, the OC Film School is the most affordable program of its kind in the country. According to program materials, at $3,056 per year, the OC Film School is a bargain compared to other schools that can charge up to $35,000 a year. The OC film school features a “2+2 model,” where students first complete their associate degree then go on to enroll in the bachelor’s program.

The college is now accepting applications for the Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Filmmaking program for fall quarter. Email thagan@olympic.edu or call 360-475-7315.

— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tasla@sound[publishing.com.

Faculty members discuss a scene with a student. From right, Amy Hesketh, professor of digital film making; Timothy Hagan, founder and director of the OC Film School; and Aaron Drane, professor of screenwriting. Olympic College/Contributed

The business of show business. As part of the learning experience students have to design posters that “sell” their stories. These posters decorate the Film School’s old offices in the Music Building. The department will move to the new College Instruction Center this fall and the Music Building will be torn down. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Film School founder Timothy Hagan sees digital media as the “vehicle of drama today” when it comes to professional opportunities to make a living. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

“The professors are trying to create a creative collective,” said film student Jennifer O’Brien. Part of that creative collective is exposing students to the full range of responsibilities, before they settle on a specialty. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Faculty observe while students rehearse a scene. Olympic College/contributed

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