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



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.
 “The transition from nursing to directing, for me anyway, was scary but exciting,” Austin said. “I’ve always been a quick learner, but in order for me to learn quickly I have to be extremely hands on.”

Film School Graduate Amie Austin

A Film Connection student in Dallas, Texas, Austin apprentices under Jason Van Sickel at Black Olive Media. Van Sickel, whose primary productions are with the American Heart Association, encourages his students to think of their own material to shoot and helps make sure they can see their visions through. Amie’s vision currently resides in the horror genre where she recently shot a teaser for a script she’s currently working on. It was her first experience in the director’s chair.

“Jason has been extremely supportive of my vision for the horror film, and when I approached him about possibly making a short teaser using just surreal imagery, he jumped on it right away. He says he likes the way my mind works,” Austin said. “The fact that Jason has been in the industry since he was practically a kid has helped immensely when it comes to finding resources to get my horror film teaser done.”

Austin describes the teaser as a short, surreal piece that is meant to provoke a tone of terror and sin while leaving the audience wanting more. But it’s not only the audience wanting more. Austin herself seems to have validated what she feels to be her true calling: filmmaking.

“It was almost like someone flipped a switch on me, and I realized just how much it felt normal and fulfilling to be directing film,” Austin recalled in a recent interview. “It was always a dream of mine to make awesome movies, but I lacked proper resources, so now it feels like I can finally fulfill my dreams.”

As someone who has traveled the trampled path of the standard classroom-centric undergrad program, Austin relishes the opportunity to take a hands-on, mentor-apprentice (extern) approach to education.

“I already have a bachelor degree, so I wasn’t interested at all in sitting in a classroom. I get to basically do my own thing, learn from Jason, and get to have my dreams realized quicker than I would if I had to study literature every day and sit down at a desk to take a written exam,” Austin said. “Plus, by meeting other professionals in the field, I have received genuine tutelage like on-the-job training. It has given me a more realistic view of what I can expect from a career in the film industry.”

Once the teaser is done, Austin plans to finish her script and will be flying out to Los Angeles to pitch her material to a producer – another perk of the program. In just a few months, Austin has gone from carving incisions in patients to carving a niche as a writer and director. Keep an eye out for Austin’s teaser trailer at the RRF Student Services YouTube Channel.