Local filmmaker Khalid Naz gives a lecture to a group of students interested in making film. Naz’s class instructed the students how to make quality videos by using apps on their cell phones.
(Stephen Montoya/ Rio Rancho Observer)

Nineteen local teens met the challenge of using only their cell phones to create a professional-looking video earlier this month at The ASK Academy.

This workshop, hosted by the nonprofit Rio Rancho Creative Crossroads, was the first in a series of summer art programs in which industry professionals teach teenagers about filmmaking techniques and other artistic pursuits.

Rio Rancho filmmaker Khalid Naz, who has 14 years experience in the film industry, was the instructor for the first four-hour class.

“I’ve done a lot of music videos, commercials, and now I am working on a couple of projects with Price Hall (film coach and trainer),” Naz said.

The purpose for the workshop, he said, was to teach kids who have a passion for filmmaking but cannot afford expensive equipment that they can make quality videos on their cell phones.

Rio Rancho Creative Crossroads workshop attendees Dax Martin, left, and Brandon Cochrine, both 12, work on post-production techniques after filming a subject June 22 at The ASK Academy.
(Stephen Montoya/ Rio Rancho Observer)

“This workshop really focuses on how to film on a phone and what to do on the post-production side of it,” Naz said. “It’s not just kids; most people in general can’t afford professional camera equipment, so I am here to show the class they can use what they have and still create something professional.”

Naz said it comes down to how a subject is filmed and how much time each student is prepared to spend in post-production.

“I have made professional videos just using my phone that look better than some of the local commercials being filmed with pros behind the camera,” he said. “They charge a lot of money to do these videos and they come out looking tacky. I want to show these students that with the proper app and some preparation, they can go out today and shoot something of quality.”

Neal Shotwell, president of Rio Rancho Creative Crossroads, said this workshop is the first step to offering students an entire summer camp that provides art training.

“We figured if we started small, we would have a better idea of what would be successful,” Shotwell said.

For this workshop, students paid an early fee of $35 each or $50 the week of the class. Shotwell said the students ranged in age from 12-18 years old.

“I think out here in New Mexico, a lot of the people that work on films here in the studios are all locals,” she said. “These kids have a lot of opportunities out here to make a career out of film, and Khalid is right: You can do it with a cell phone now.”