Santa Lucia Middle School children got an up-close and personal taste of the media they love so well — Internet videos; more specifically, YouTube, on Wednesday, May 16. Guest presenters Zach “Final Cut King” King and Aaron “FX Pro” Benitez came to Cambria to share their story about making a living from their short films.
Dan Hartzell, who runs the YMCA after-school program at Santa Lucia, found a “viral video” that the kids were all excited about, “Jedi Kittens Strike Back.” Because 23 computers at the middle school have the “Final Cut Pro” program used to create the videos, “Hartzell contacted Coast Unified technology guru, Henry Danielson, to see if he could contact the videographers to come to Cambria.
“Zach and Aaron were thrilled to come up and talk to the kids. We were excited because it gives so much more credence to what we’re trying to do for the kids by providing them this type of technology and software. Here are guys making a living at this — this is what we want kids to learn, the possibilities!” Danielson said.
Hartzell continued, “With this software, we’re starting to form a strong foundation for a digital arts program here. Long Beach has a teen-run production group, Youth Work Force that makes $400,000 revenue each year making instructional videos, magazines and more including for international clients! That’s what we’d like to shoot for!”
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King and Benitez attend film school at Biola University. They started making videos for YouTube just for fun. But when they started getting international recognition, they applied themselves more seriously. “We’ve gotten invited to film festivals all over. We also started making these instructional videos about using the software so any of you here in this audience can do this too!” Zach King told the enthusiastic group of kids.
“Find what you are passionate about and go for it! Our parents told us to do that and even though they thought we were crazy for making videos, hey, we’re making a living at it! Do what you dream of doing, guys!” Benitez chimed in.
The young filmmakers get their income from advertising on the site. “We have got 170,000 subscribers to our site. Jedi Kittens alone garnered 6 million hits! Think about that number compared to how many people are in this room right now!” Afterwards the kids got autographs and photographs as well as hands-on lessons in the classroom with the editing software.
Check out their videos at YouTube.com/finalcutking.