OGDEN -- The moral of the story: Attend college now, because those who delay enrollment until the zombie apocalypse will find it much harder to move safely between classes.
"I was always fascinated with making movies," said Tristan Palmer, 14, of Ogden. "And everybody loves zombies."
Weber State University this week opened its Performing Arts video editing lab to 16 aspiring filmmakers. The teens took a five-day workshop, sponsored by Weber State and the Ogden School District as part of the GEAR UP program, to get young people planning ahead for college. The students got access to cameras and editing bays, along with instruction from professionals.
The assigned theme: Go to college.
Besides the zombie short, the five groups made short videos using themes including "Star Wars," a dream, and the regrets of a high school drop out.
"I have always loved movies, and wanted to learn how they make them," said Savannah Deichmann, 14, an Ogden Preparatory Academy student, and video teammate of Ogden High student Tristan. "I learned a lot about editing, and we are all big fans of 'The Walking Dead.' Who doesn't love zombies?"
"Zombie" teammate Sarah Barowski, 14 and from Ogden Prep, said she learned a lot.
"The skills and experience I got here can be used in the real world, plus it was a lot of fun," she said. "I learned lots about filming, and I learned to do zombie makeup. The secret is the shadows on the cheekbones. I think the camp also taught us to get along with others, and respect other people's ideas."
Novice videographer Star Kearl, 14, is a student at Mound Fort Junior High.
"I signed up because I was interested in how they create movies," Star said. "I learned that technology can change the way we see stuff."
Star said she already plans to attend Weber State and study criminology.
"I want to work for the FBI," she said. "I'm sure that being able to use technology will help me in the job."
Mark Maxson, who manages the video editing lab used by Weber State's Performing Arts students, said the students arrived pretty tech savvy.
"And the technology is pretty friendly," he said. "The students get to use the same tools that professionals use. This is a great group of kids."
Also instructing the students was Joe Crnich, who has taught drama and video production at Ogden High and the DaVinci Academy. Crnich now teaches at a Salt Lake City high school.
"The kids are doing a great job," Crnich said, while advising on final edits. "There's been a lot of creativity, and the kids have been all over the campus, shooting their video and getting a look at Weber State and what a college campus looks like. It was fun to walk around campus and see students in costume, working on their projects."
Carrie Maxson, who is married to Mark, directs the Ogden School District's GEAR UP grant project.
"We interviewed all the students to find out what their interests would be, to try and get them engaged during the summer," she said. "Brenda Burrell, our Weber State GEAR UP coordinator, organized all of it."
Ogden GEAR UP is also behind the NUBOTS camp program, hosted by WSU and by Ogden-Weber Technology College, Carrie Maxson said.
"The video production class is especially dynamic," she said. "They are able to do not just filming, but planning of steps and strategies. These are skills they can use in their futures."
GEAR UP stands for Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Ogden's program serves about 1,000 students per year -- all scheduled to graduate in 2017 -- in a variety of programs, Maxson said.
"We try to find programs that will meet everyone's needs."