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SciFriday: Filmmaking Goes Back To Its Roots

Adam Barnard will write a special summer column about his experience at USC


Beginning next week, Airlock Alpha is welcoming a special guest columnist to our ranks to talk about what we all have to have some interest in, or we wouldn’t be here: filmmaking.

Adam Barnard is an incoming North Carolina high school senior who was chosen to participate in a couple of classes this summer at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

I first met Adam a couple years ago while attending a Stargate convention in Chicago. I was quite exhausted that weekend because I had spent the week before in Seattle on-location for the filming of “Judas Kiss,” and Chicago was my last stop on my way back to Tampa (and some much-needed sleep).

I can’t even say how I ran into Adam, because I don’t quite remember. I think he may have recognized an Airlock Alpha T-shirt I was wearing, and stopped me in the hallways while I was on my way to a panel. But all I can say is that this kid impressed me from hello.

Adam was a huge fan of “Stargate: Universe,” and since I was there at the convention with my good friend Sherry Harris to see her amazingly talented son Brian J. Smith, that instantly gave us something in common.

But I meet readers and television fans all the time. That’s the nature of the business. But there was something about Adam that stuck with me — and I think it had a lot to do with not only his love for filmmaking, but his knowledge and skills behind the camera. I didn’t realize it fully until he shared this video of a local rock band he edited (and mostly filmed) that I thought was extraordinary for a teenager.

His ultimate goal is to go to USC full-time, and who knows, he may really have the stuff to do it. He has a lot of support from two wonderful parents who I have a ton of respect for, and the fact that he got in to this USC program — which is no more than 15 percent high school students — should say quite a bit.

I asked Adam to give us weekly updates right here at Airlock Alpha, sharing what he learned, what he’s getting out of filmmaking, and maybe even sharing some tricks or secrets he learns along the way. He may even share some videos from time to time as well, since this is a summer about filmmaking.

His first class is the Warner Bros./USC Producing & Directing class, where he will visit Warner Bros. studios once a week and shoot a group project on the backlot. That also includes a couple hours with Zack Snyder, the director of “300” and “Watchmen” and the director of the upcoming Superman film “Man of Steel.”

Adam’s second class will be Inside the Business of Film & Television, which includes a lot of prominent guest speakers, sharing the ins and outs of the filmmaking industry.

When I was in high school back in the early 1990s, the one special thing I got to do was something called Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, a weeklong summer program at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., where we spent a week learning how to start and run a business, and have the chance to interact with the big movers and shakers in both the business and government world.

I still have fond memories of those days. But I would’ve killed for a chance to pick up filmmaking somewhere, especially a prestigious college like USC.

So I’m sure you’re just as excited as I am to see what Adam has to share from his six-week stint at USC. And who knows — maybe we’re already getting an inside track to Hollywood’s next Joss Whedon.

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