Letter from Mother of 14 Year Old Filmmaker

I received this great email from Kim W. of Florida, who homeschools her daughter. Thought I would share it with y’all.

Hello Seth,

I am the homeschooling mother of a 14-year old aspiring filmmaker.  Interestingly, I stumbled upon your website while researching film schools the week after we participated in a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of Full Sail University in Orlando, FL.  As we embark on the high school years, homeschooling offers us the flexibility to not only obtain college credit simultaneously, but cultivate the interests and talents of our child.  Thus, I began researching the education needs for a filmmaker.

I must admit Full Sail University was an impressive campus.  The state-of-the-art facilities and equipment combined with the accelerated degree program (24 months for a bachelor’s degree) was attractive.  However, it comes with a price, $80,000 + lodging + the cost of a MACBOOK PRO laptop.

Since taking the tour, researching film schools and the film industry, as well as subscribing to your blog, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the filmmaking trade can be self-taught and cultivated by networking.  After all, “it is not WHAT you know, but WHO you know,” and this applies to filmmaking and the entertainment industry, in general.

I thought I would share some of our testimony on the filmmaking journey for the purposes of echoing your sentiments and hopefully to be an encouragement to other families with aspiring filmmakers.

Here is a movie trailer by our 14-year old daughter for her most recent short film (and a sequel), created in Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5.  Keep in mind that she has had no formal training in photography, videography, filmmaking, or post-production/software editing!  The trailer was created in Final Cut Pro X after only a week of downloading the software (but based on experience with iMovie).


The following suggestions have worked for us and echo your sentiments on the film industry:

1)  Providing the tools (cameras, gear, computer, software) she needs for pre- to post-production to the best of our ability.  The trailer was shot with an iPad2, iPod touch4 and GoPro Hero2 camera.   Start simple and work up to more expensive gear as your budget permits.  The fundamentals of film making can still be learned with basic gear.

2)  Networking in the industry.  She took an audition workshop with an Orlando casting director last summer.  Through that connection, she has been in 3 commercials which has provided an income for purchasing more film gear.  This experience has also given her perspective in front of the camera.
Most importantly, we have gotten to know the directors/producers on the commercials and plan to “shadow” them this summer on some of their projects.  One of the directors is big time in the Orlando area with 30 years experience and has a real heart to mentor aspiring filmmakers.  We are very excited about this opportunity!

3) Providing examples of excellence.  She loves to read and watch behind-the-scenes commentary books/DVD special features for her favorite movies like “Star Wars” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”  You learn a lot by listening to the experts in the field discuss the details of their films.

4)  Providing opportunities and experiences.  All of her spare time is spent filming or editing.  We always have a camera with us and do our best to make the story lines and images that she sees in her head a reality.  We learn something new every time we are out filming and her movies get better and better with each one.

Lastly, I’d like to share a website that the Orlando director, who we hope to work with this summer, recommended to us.  It is for the George Lucas Education Foundation and is about what works in education.  The public school system and universities are geared for left brain learners.  Most aspiring filmmakers are right brain learners whose innovation and creativity is squelched in this learning environment.   http://www.edutopia.org/mission-vision

Thank you, Seth, for providing another perspective to the film industry.

Kim W.


  1. Hi!!
    I’m also 14 years old and I am an inspiring filmmaker!
    This site is pretty cool!

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