Film Connection's Student Success Stories

Every week, the Film Connection Film School receives dozens of honest reviews from our current film students and graduates. Regardless of location, one thing is consistent: our Film Students are getting what they paid for.

We understand that many of you want to be the next big shot film director or screenwriter. Make no mistake, that comes with time. The Film Connection is the perfect launching pad to help you realize your bigger dreams for filmmaking. You have to start somewhere. Why not start working where you live in a film company as a film apprentice today.

Our student success stories are indicative of the primary goal of the Film Connection Film Institute- The success of our students. Here’s to your success!


Former Nurse Takes Advantage of Film Connection’s Hands-On Approach

Former Nurse Takes Advantage of Film Connection’s Hands-On Approach

Amie Austin, Dallas, TX
Perhaps seeing open wounds isn’t commonplace for the average American, but for Amie Austin, that experience has followed her as she traversed career paths. A former nurse, Austin often found herself dealing with traumatic injuries; but now she finds herself creating them – for the silver screen. Read More


Zombie Madness! Graduate Ian McCamant Pitches his Movie

Zombie Madness! Graduate Ian McCamant Pitches his Movie

Ian McCamant, Elkton, MD
In his overall experience working his mentors, Ian has learned everything about film theory tempered with the tangible, hands-on aspects and technical camera work. Together, they have taken on all of the business aspects of putting together a feature film down to the budgeting of his zombie film. Check out a scene from Ian’s movie, “The End of History.” Read More


Writing a Successful Future

Lights, Camera, Chapman!

Brian Kemppainen, Atlanta, GA
Screenwriting is the first step to bringing any story to the film screen. Oftentimes the task of writing your first feature length screenplay can appear daunting! Film Connection student Brian Kemppainen had the opportunity to study under Ron Osborn, a professional Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include the Brad Pitt film Meet Joe Black and television credits such as The West Wing. Read More


Lights, Camera, Chapman!

Lights, Camera, Chapman!Peter Chapman, Atlanta, GA
What does it take to become a working industry director? Film Connection student Peter Chapman knows if you can envision a story, then you hold the power to manifest it on the screen. However, there is one attribute that all films share and that’s the passion of their creator to bring a dream into a reality. Peter was about to find out nothing worth accomplishing is ever easy… Read More


Tyler Sloan – Dallas Film Student’s Dreams Quickly Becoming Reality

Tyler Sloan - Dallas Film Student’s Dreams Quickly Becoming RealityTyler Sloan, Dallas, TX
A few months ago, Tyler Sloan was watching Youtube videos, using PVC piping to build homemade film equipment and shooting homemade music videos. Fast-forward a couple months and he is directing music videos for local rap artists and rock bands. Tyler has combined his own hard work and creative ability with the connections and one on one education the Film Connection… Read More


Sarah Birk: Focus, Dedication, Success

Sarah Birk: Focus, Dedication, SuccessSarah Birk, Nashville, TN
Sarah is a newer student to the Film Connection but she is making tremendous strides towards her goals. So we decided it was time to have a chat with her to discuss what she has been working on and what she is planning next. Read More


Learn on the Job While Working with Real Professionals

Chelsy Jensen - Film Connection GraduateChelsy Jensen, New York, NY
"The first couple weeks he (my mentor) had me right away building my website, getting business cards, connecting me with some people through email so that was a great opportunity and then he had me reading scripts and then once I really found the script that I felt really strongly about I contacted Tom, my mentor, we wrote up an auction, we had a couple of writers sign up and then from there I was posting jobs on Craigslist, on any website that I could find and he actually had another director that he had worked with so we interviewed with a couple directors… Read More


Checking in with Graduate Korey Hehn

Korey Hehn - Film Connection GraduateKorey Hehn, Princeville, OR
Right after I graduated from the Film Connection I went to Colorado to work on a series a web series, I was the script supervisor for that and I did hair and makeup as well. It was a pretty small crew and small cast but it was super fun and I got a feel for what it was like to be on a film or on a TV series but it was a tiny, tiny one. Read More


Find Work After Graduating

Stephen Blanquie - Film Connection GraduateStephen Blanquie, Portland, OR
We asked Stephen Blanquie, a recent graduate of the Film Connection in Portland, OR to share what he is doing now that his lessons in the studio are over. Read More


Learn Hands On From the People who Do the Hiring

Celisa Meals - Film Connection GraduateCelisa Meals, Denton, TX
Congratulations to Celisa Meals! After completing her apprenticeship with the Film Connection her mentor hired her to join a project with his production company! Read in her own words about her experience and the steps she took to secure this opportunity. Read More


Put What you Learn into Practice

Korey Hehn - Film Connection GraduateKorey Hehn, Princeville, Oregon
As a young girl I have also always wanted to be a writer. So as I worked my way through High School I really tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life, coming to the realization that I really wanted to be a part of making movies. You see, films have such a profound impact on the people who watch them: Even if a person does not like the movie they happen to watch, they will always remember at least little pieces of it because of the undeniable ability of moving pictures to permeate thoughts. Read More


Build your resume as you learn on the job!

Janna Russell - Film Connection GraduateJanna Russell, Atlanta, Georgia
Once I joined the Film Connection program everything for me really took off. Before I knew it, and was even a graduate of the program, I had already begun building my resume filled with production experience for several music videos, as well as actually have been paid for my work as a production coordinator! The exposure during the Film Connection course of the apprenticeship and the knowledge I acquired is invaluable. I would not have had the same experience in the classroom alone.Read More


Some students get paid work right after graduation!

Austin Willard - Film Connection GraduateAustin Willard, Brooklyn, New York
The studio hired me after I graduated The Film Connection. I was hired on as Production Manager/Studio Manager. I work every day and was fortunate enough to work many more shoots. I am booking Green Screen rentals and showing our facilities to clients. I also work as a Producer on two commercial short films, along with Production Manager for many others. I am still with the studio, and also doing freelance work as a Production Manager and as a Grip. Read More


Work with your mentor around your busy schedule:

Charla Mascagni - Film Connection GraduateCharla Mascagni, New Orleans, LA
The Film Connection provides me an affordable opportunity to work in a hands-on environment with my very own MENTOR, while offering me the flexibility to work around my job schedule! I have to admit at first, I was a little skeptical because I didn’t know what to expect. However, after meeting my mentor and going to my first television series film shoot, I knew I was on the right track and had made the right decision for my career.Read More


Learn Camera and Lighting on the Job

Derek Sorenson - Film Connection GraduateDerek Sorenson, Albuquerque, New Mexico
I have learned a multitude of skills while under my mentor’s tutelage. It started with how to utilize lighting and work a studio camera. I moved on to understanding how to set up and take the correct shots. I have also been honing my editing skills with Final Cut Pro under a professional whose expertise is editing. My mentor and I have developed a positive relationship in and outside of work. Not only have I gone on several shoots with my mentor, but he also has me actively working in his video business. Read More


Graduate Gerald Vogt now works on feature films

Gerald Vogt - Film Connection GraduateGerald Vogt, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Once I made the decision to the join the Film Connection I jumped right on in. The first course I took within the Film Connection was specifically to focus on editing. My training really developed my skills in both sides of the production by tying both pre-production and post-production together. As the course continued I began to see my skills really start to take shape, with my mentor pushing me in directions that made me stronger. Also, on the places where I was weaker, they really helped me out. Anytime I had questions, I would go back to my curriculum assigned through the program and there the answer was. Read More


Trent's mentor offered him a position at his studio:

Trent Jones - Film Connection GraduateTrent Jones, Austin, Texas
While in the Film Connection program I have had some great help from my mentor to get me through all of the assignments, and being able to work in a real studio has been amazing. Each lesson was easy to understand and I was also given many different books so if I couldn’t figure out the answer in my workbook I had a variety of resources to help me study. One of my favorite books that I was given was a Brief History Of Film. I was fascinated by how far the world of filming has progressed over the years and it really has opened my eyes to all of the different genres I had been missing out on for so very long. I began to learn the inner workings of an office and also started to get hands on experience with many different kinds of editing software. Read More



More Student Success Stories

I finished my first unofficial editing project this weekend! I finished my first unofficial editing project this weekend!

“I finished my first unofficial editing project this weekend! I put together a short video of my Godson’s first birthday party. I created something similar for my nieces a few years ago and the difference in the speed of my work on the two projects is substantial. I have been trying out the different settings over the weekend so I can figure out what works the best for me. I am looking forward to starting week three.”



I really enjoyed my first day at the studio. I really enjoyed my first day at the studio.

“Great experience! I really enjoyed my first day at the studio. The mentor was sharp and really hands on,. He made us all feel comfortable. My fellow apprentices were cool and all down to earth and friendly. I can’t wait for the next class session!”



Learn from Legendary Film Directors Learn from Legendary Film Directors

“I have to admit I was very nervous and excited to be in a production studio and learn from one of the best film directors in the industry. My first lesson was on the camera, which was very interesting and a little complicated. My mentor really broke it down to me little by little. I was able to work with the camera myself using both the techniques from the book and a few of my mentor’s techniques. I can honestly say I left our session understanding how to not only turn my camera on, but actually shoot footage!”



The only way to break into the film industry is to gain real experience. The only way to break into the film industry is to gain real experience.

“This week my mentor asked me to go through some of the footage from a show MIHP produces and put together some footage to send to a news station that is doing a piece on the show. While the clips that I cut together are just going to be looked through and then taken from, this still felt like my first official assignment. I was pretty nervous about selecting the best clips from the footage and making sure to use the shortcut keys I have learned so far. I think this was a perfect first step for me to work on!”



Real shoots, real stakes.

“We didn’t actually start shooting until almost noon. Starting so much later than I planned was very stressful, but once things got going it was actually fun. I never felt that good! Though we also wrapped later than planned, around 6pm. I look forward to the next time I get to do a shoot like that.”



Learn the film business and get your project off the ground. Learn the film business and get your project off the ground.

“I’ve also been trained on budgeting a project! Woot woot! I have been looking forward to this for some time and plan to get more out of the budgeting and scheduling of the business too.”



Learn the resources you need to get your movie made.

“This evening, I showed my mentor my footage. He gave me some feedback as well as my new assignment. Before, I filmed my wife doing her daily routine. Now, I must film just a short scene utilizing various angles and cuts. Also, he showed me how to use audio, visual and special effects in Premier Pro. I learned how to do color correction, add sound effects and transitions, adjust volume, and how to get free sound clips – they’re everywhere on the internet and free. It was great working with Dan”



Checking in with Film Connection Graduate Ruben Rodriguez Perez

Former Film Connection student Ruben Rodriguez Perez is now a current Film Connection success! After completing the program at the end of 2013 with his mentor Jae MacAllen at YoYo String Visual Media, Ruben has made the transition from apprentice to working professional. When recalling his experience with the Film Connection, Ruben notes, “Having an experienced professional invite you to gigs, explain things, and being a source of consultation was awesome. It gave me the confidence, exposure, and expertise to comfortably offer my services in other projects as well as start my own.”

Ruben also recalls how his work schedule was a bit hectic, yet he was able to balance his passion for cinema with working long weeks. “They (YoYoString Visual Media) were very accommodating with my schedule since I was a full time employee at Microsoft at the time, while still trying to kick off a documentary filmmaking career,” Ruben states. The best part about his relationship with the studio is that it continues on today with his former mentor. “I get to work with Jae every once in a while and have been doing some freelance work with other production companies and indie projects as well,” said Ruben. Look for Ruben Rodriguez Perez to go the distance as he continues to work and grow with his former mentor, current clients, and future ideas!



Are you ready to take the next step? Are you ready to take the next step?

“Today I met with my script writing mentor in addition to Eli from the film connection whom I’ve been working with. My screenwriting mentor was not only passionate and knowledgeable about movies but a wealth of knowledge (in general). I learned a lot just from a phone session with him. The business of screenwriting is not for the faint of heart believe me. I’m here and I’ve made the pledge to continue on.”



Learn how to write screenplays that get funded.

“Chapter Four in the book was all about screenwriting. It laid out what my stories need to be compelling pieces and what I need to do to be a successful writer. I feel far more confident as I begin my beat sheets and my script after this week.”



Your mentor will teach you the film-making process, from start to finish.

“I met with my mentor. We shot a twenty second-long short, and he showed me how to use Adobe Premier Pro to edit it. He shot me getting up, walking across the room, and getting a glass of water. Pretty simple, right? Not really. It was great watching Dan set up the shots and listening as he walked me through his thought process. I found it tremendously insightful. I got to take a step into his mind as he figured out the details, of which there were quite a few for such a simple shoot.”



The best place to learn the film business is on location.

“The second week started with something special. My mentor had a gig to shoot an award ceremony so he asked me if I wanted to go along. We got to the location and starting setting up the room for the interviews. Whiles setting up he went over the basic lighting kit, the position and purpose of each light, the position of the subject to the background and to the camera, the basics of how an interview is conducted. In between interview, he let me take the camera into the main room to get some creative (B-roll) shots of the ceremony. So here I am, on my third day with Film Connection, helping with interviewing foreign diplomats and VPs of major regional banks, along with great artists.”



Make the hero’s journey. Make the hero’s journey.

“One thing that I find crazy or weird is that I just recently made major changes in my life and whatever I was feeling on those days somehow corresponded to what I was reading in The Writer’s Journey. I am making the hero’s journey in real life.”



Review your screenplay with a major Hollywood screenwriter. Review your screenplay with a major Hollywood screenwriter.

“One thing that really excited me recently was my showing a screenplay of mine to a person who has been successful in the script writing business. It was really exciting for me to be able to show a script of mine to some person already involved in Hollywood, and who also has some connections to people in this biz.”



Learn what it takes to make it in one of the most exclusive industries. Learn what it takes to make it in one of the most exclusive industries.

“I am in the part of the Writers Journey where it talks about Star Wars and it’s amazing. Not that I didn’t already love the series, but all the little sub text that is going on is crazy. As I wrap up the book I am getting excited to start my own screenplay!”



Write screenplays that make the cut.

“I have finished the Writers Journey, and really enjoyed reading it. A great book. I have bought into the fact that without compelling stories and characters your film will not succeed. Watching the great films I am convincing that this is a dead on fact. I am on a mission to make sure that every film idea I come up with lives up to this.”



Give your first film project a professional’s touch. Give your first film project a professional’s touch.

“My mentor went out with me to obtain some landscape shots for my horror teaser. He has an amazing eye as a camera man and he would show me some really neat angles. I felt pretty awesome out there. I’m really excited to start shooting with the talent.”



Connections are everything in this business. Connections are everything in this business.

“I’m starting to pick up jobs outside of the program already and looking for other productions companies in the Dallas area for a paid internship once I get out of the program. To say the least I have jumped light-years ahead in my production game due to my connections I have made in this program.”



Gain the motivation required for success. Gain the motivation required for success.

“I have to remind myself that I am worthy of my dreams. See, I know I am a man on a mission and that I am capable of making things happen with or without help from others. Now that I have a nice camera I plan to write and produce something new based on the books and lessons I’ve been exposed to through my course thus far. I know and have been told I have a gift of telling stories so why not believe in myself and start doing what I want to do and love”



Get your foot in the door of a legendary film studio.

“I’ll be getting a work schedule this week at the studio. They’ve done everything from Avatar to Jurassic park. Tomorrow I’m putting on the glove that Robert Downey Jr. wears in Iron Man. So stoked! I met some incredible people and I also made another great contact. It was honestly one of the most incredible days of my life!”



Start a career doing what you love! Start a career doing what you love!

“We set up the rough draft to shoot the sequence and I found some images on the internet that were similar to the ones I’d like to take myself. I helped with the special effects I want so I can learn more about effects and Photoshop in general. My mentor compliments my creativity often which I feel is fostering more self-confidence in me. I’m very glad I chose to switch careers into something I can feel good about.”



Build your confidence with hands-on training from the experts. Build your confidence with hands-on training from the experts.

“My first production as a director in the program is a wrap! Prior to the shoot I made a visual video to shoot of a projector of my subject. It worked well and added a ton of production value to my project. The video is in the final stages of coloring at the moment and will be up soon!”



Perfect your story with the help of a Hollywood screenwriter. Perfect your story with the help of a Hollywood screenwriter.

“I’ve noticed so many small things are motivating and giving me ideas for my story and it drifts me off to la-la land to tackle how and what direction it will affect my story. Gives me so many goose bumps! I feel confident still and know that I’m now at the right pace.”



Put yourself in the right place to build connections. Put yourself in the right place to build connections.

“I did attend a screening at the Anchorage International Film Festival. While there, I was able to meet the filmmakers, ask questions, and help at a merchandise booth. I gave them my name and other info, and I let them know that I am available to help if they needed. They were great people, and it was a wonderful experience.”



Start your career in film.

“Some of my favorite scenes that we were able to shoot was the long steadicam shot of the main character running through the woods looking for the bandit. It was my first time getting to see the squibs set up on the characters to show them getting shot with the blanks and the scene turned out awesome with not many problems. And my last favorite scene had to be the main character finding the hive and uncovering it showing all the goo and breaking through the shell to pull out the resin it looked great with the lighting we had that evening.”