Lights! Camera! Action! Youth Media Camp (ages 13 – 17)

Every year, Houston teens learn to think critically and creatively about the films and digital videos that surround their everyday lives.

Young film enthusiasts learn how to make movies, communicate clearly, and also how to resolve differences through collaboration. In a safe and fun environment, and with their parents joining in to screen their completed project, teens enter into a new, more critical understanding of what it means to consume media and make meaning in their lives.

“…taught me the true process of filmmaking: cooperation, proper planning, and delegation.” — Gabi Chennisi-Duncombe, Clingers, Director of Photography

SWAMP offers a variety of camps (workshops) during summer break. The size of each group is between 12-15 participants. Each one-week camp (workshop) begins on a Monday and concludes on Friday evening when the teens screen their movies for all of their parents, family and friends. Campers develop the skills needed to create a movie in one short week. With carefully structured days, the week is broken down into themes:

Not only does this experience build teamwork and create meaningful relationships, it is also a time for a teenager to use their creative abilities, gain self-confidence and shine as a filmmaker.

“The skills learned at SWAMP were instrumental in acceptance for university film school.” — Neil Locken, Portlandia, Editing Dept.

Although most teenagers are familiar with shooting video and pictures using their mobile devices, the SWAMP camp teaches them the importance of lighting, sound clarity, and other technical aspects of media communication. Young filmmakers learn how to use a camera to tell a story.

Each student gets hands-on instruction in digital camera operation, lighting, sound and editing while working as a team in the production of a short film. He or she learns the importance of artistic technical skills that include:


The SWAMP “Lights, Camera, Action! Media Camp” is carefully administered by educators and filmmakers who have created their own short films and documentaries. Each instructor is chosen based on professional experience on movie sets and also pedagogical skills, with the educational goal of finding the story in each young filmmaker and assisting him or her to express it.

Some images from previous camps: