On his way

SLT Academy internship leads to New York Film Academy workshop

Photo submitted to Times Observer Sean and Melanie Booth peruse the New York Film Academy website.

Thirteen-year-old Sean Booth enrolled in SLT Academy last summer to learn stage combat and lighting design, but a lunchtime conversation lead to much more.

“I like to speak with every student to find out what the Academy can do to help them realize their goals,” said Artistic Director Chuck Gray. “Sean had a passion for film. To help turn that passion into practical experience, Sean was offered a video internship at the Academy where he learned voraciously. By the end of his internship, Sean’s deep intellectual love of film was forged into a focused desire to pursue a career in directing.”

“Sean’s internship at SLT Academy was a turning point,” said his mother Melanie Booth.

After Sean’s time behind the camera, he gained confidence and a drive to take the next step.” And that next step is a big one. “Sean was accepted to the New York Film Academy’s summer program and will be filming on Disney’s back lot this July. None of this would be possible without Sean’s internship at SLT Academy last summer.”

“I think the Academy helped me understand more about the industry and what it is like,” said Sean. “My lighting and stage combat classes taught me that creating art is a collaborative process and storytelling is the most important element in making a great movie or play. I now understand that to make something extraordinary, all the elements need to work together. My video internship taught me about angles, pacing, cuts, lighting and working together with class instructors’ to get the best shots while documenting rather than taking over the class.”

Sean’s internship was key when completing the exhaustive application to become one of the students coming from around the world to participate on New York Film Academy’s intensive one-week training. Sean is thrilled about the prospect of working twelve-hour days in the classroom, learning everything from camerawork to script writing on the back lot at Disney World in Orlando.

Every student arrives with the concept of the short film they want to create and then are paired with set designers, costumers, actors and everyone with whom they will need to collaborate to write, shoot and edit their films in preparation for a weekend screening.

“I’m really excited about going and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Sean. “The hardest part is coming up with a film idea. But I know I can do it because it is what I want to do.”

“It is hard to know what you want to do when you’re 14,” said Melanie. “But film is what Sean has been taught and what he’s talked about for years. This is the next step in the right direction.”

The sacrifice necessary to get Sean to his next step seems a joy for his mom, Melanie, who is confident of Sean’s success in whatever he ultimately decides to do. Still there maybe some perks. “Sean told me that when he wins his first Oscar, I get to be his date,” shared Melanie.

“No matter the outcome, this is great preparation for the future, even if film ends up not being Sean’s chosen field,” said Melanie. “No matter your profession, collaboration is key. You can’t do it all by yourself.”

Doing things together is elemental in the Booth family. Melanie and Sean have been watching and analyzing films for years, since he first showed an interest.

“I like all genres of film,” said Sean. “If I had to choose, I would say I most enjoy sci-fi and action films and that my favorite directors are Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.”

“The first scene of the film Saving Private Ryan was inspired by a battle scene Director Steven Spielberg made in his backyard with his friends when he was twelve,” said Melanie.

With role models like that, who knows what may develop from Sean’s endeavors.

“If you told me I could spend the weekend at an amusement park or watching films, I would choose the movies,” said Sean.

“He’s my movie buddy,” said Melanie, who has a film studies degree of her own.

Sean is SLT Academy’s movie buddy too. In fact after his training at the New York Film Academy this summer, Sean will be returning to SLT to share his newest movie with the rest of the students.

Sean will also be returning to undertake a second internship at the Academy. In his new internship, Sean will be creating video footage that will be used in SLT Academy’s December 1st rock musical of A Christmas Carol.

“We will be forever grateful for the influence the Academy’s internship had on Sean and I know it will resonate with him for years to come,” said Melanie.

Experiential and professional internships at SLT Academy are available during each trimester session. And SLT Academy’s Summer Improvisation Camp runs June 19-23.