LAYTON -- Digital media students at Layton High School were literally paid for a job well-done at their sixth annual film festival Wednesday night.
The end-of-the-year videos designed by digital media students were submitted to a panel of judges prior to the festival, and the best videos were put on display during the festival, with winners from each category receiving cash awards and gifts donated by local businesses.
The night is the highlight of the year, according to their digital media and video instructor, Eric Scholer, who started the film festival when he began teaching at Layton High School six years ago.
"It really gives them an opportunity to show what they've learned, and it's fun to see what they come up with," Scholer said. "Everybody is a storyteller, and this is one way for them to tell their story."
Senior Tanner Spencer has been taking the digital media class for two years and for his project produced a documentary film about skiing.
"I wanted to showcase my passion, because skiing is what my friends and I do on the weekend," Spencer said. "I liked the satisfaction of putting together something that was unique, but I learned that it's a lot more work than it seems."
Putting together a video can be time consuming, their instructor explained. Students first have to write a script to guide them through the process of the story. Then they have to shoot the film using different camera angles, then add color correction to the video, and then sound effects.
Students had seven different categories from which to choose to make their films: animation, five-second comedy, commercial, documentary, music video, public service announcement, and short film. This year 40 entries were shown to the crowd of students' family and friends.
Senior Riley Hunsaker has been an artist for as long as he can remember. He says the digital media class gave him the opportunity to apply his art skills to an actual profession rather than just a hobby. He plans to continue with digital media when he attends the University of Utah this fall.
"I've been shown that there's a lot to do in this field, and you can do pretty much anything you want to by learning all of the technical aspects behind the art," he said.
Some of the students take the class because they would like to pursue a career, while others are in it just for fun, said their instructor. Scholer has seen one of his students open a video and production company and one of his current students plans to go on to film school. Whatever they decide to do with their future, he said, they have learned some valuable lessons.
"We are getting more digital these days and such an online presence, so the things they learn here will directly translate into their future jobs," Scholer said.
Barry Harris, a parent at the film festival watching his son's video, was impressed with the experience his son has gained in the program.
"It gives him an opportunity to work for something that can be productive later in life," he said, "and it's good for them to see that it's more than just a classroom kind of thing."