Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to make documentaries, but I’ve never done any filmmaking, can I apply?

wild mind film campWild Mind Film Camp is not for first-time, beginning filmmakers. Because we’re focusing on the less tangible aspects of great filmmaking, we don’t have time to stop and introduce students to the basics of non-linear editing or to have a separate class on the importance of white-balancing your camera. However, you’re not expected to be an expert filmmaker, to have gone to film school, made a feature, or to have experience in all areas of production. If you can keep up, you’re welcome to apply. Once camp begins, all filmmakers are treated with equal respect and patience, regardless of their background.

Do filmmakers specialize in editing vs. cinematography vs. directing while at Wild Mind?

We all have specific strengths and interests, but Wild Mind is geared to develop you into a fully rounded independent filmmaker. We want you to think like a director, but be able to shoot, put up a light, record sound, and edit. Frequently we find ourselves needing to do all these things by ourselves when making docs, and the better you are at editing (for example) the better you’ll be at cinematography.

Why is it called a “camp”? Are there canoe trips, s’mores, and counselors?

wild mind film campNo, and there’s no kids either. You could also call it a lab, a workshop, or a master class. In fact, some of our graduates think it's a misnomer and suggest we drop the word "camp" to avoid confusion (and maybe we will someday). But it does feel like a camp at times because there’s a high degree of camaraderie, there’s deer everywhere, and you’re welcome to float down the Methow River on an inner tube at will. We work hard, but it’s a lot of fun, too.

Nice scenery, but are there any people in Twisp to make docs about?

Plenty! The valley attracts all types and there’s a story in every car, bar, business, home, and ranch. Last year we came up with at least 25 great local subject ideas and a dozen of them became great short films. We’ve got another 25 this summer, and you can come up with your own, too.

cascades downtown methow river

What’s the average age?

We accept all ages (so long as you’re over 21). Last summer there was a mix of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Some were students, some were professionals, some had spouses and children back home, some were locals. None of this mattered much once we began working together.

Can I bring my family and my work?

If you asked the parents who attended Wild Mind last summer, they’d insist that you’ll get a lot more out of camp if you’re on your own and able to focus exclusively on filmmaking. The same applies to outside jobs: you will have time to make calls and stay connected with your home life, but you won’t want to compromise this immersive experience with serious distractions.

I have my own editing system and an HD camera, can I bring it and use it?

wild mind film campSure, so long as it’s in good working order, you'll be responsible for maintaining it, and (if it's a camera) you’d be willing to let your fellow filmmakers handle it during the production of your own short film. Having your own equipment is appreciated, but it won’t affect your chances of admission.

Are all the teachers available all the time?

Doug Pray, Pete Vogt, and Shana Hagan are present for all 11 days and teach throughout, both in class and in numerous one-on-one sessions. During the first weekend, John Jacobsen runs his intensive two-day storytelling seminar and conducts individual story meetings with each filmmaker, which informs and inspires our work throughout the rest of camp.

Do you have dollies, jib arms, SteadiCams and cranes?

wild mind film campNone. We love using that stuff when we’re being paid to, and when there’s a good reason for it. Wild Mind Film Camp is more about storytelling and learning WHY you’d hold that camera in an exact place, rather than the technicalities of how. But don’t worry, we do have C-stands, boom poles, tripods, lights and reflectors, and we can still geek out and talk tech all you want during our free time.

Do you offer scholarships?

Wild Mind Film Camp is administered by The Northwest Film Forum and is a not-for-profit entity. Because we are so new and so small (only our third year with only 12 students), we do not have a formal scholarship program in place yet. If you are absolutely determined to apply and cannot afford tuition, please fill out the short application form anyway, and email us separately to explain your situation ( Your request will be considered and if we can put you on our wait list, or help you find financial support, we will. (A suggestion: ask your employer to consider supporting your continuing education by sponsoring your time at Wild Mind.)

Why are you guys doing Wild Mind Film Camp?

wild mind film campLike documentary filmmaking itself, it’s not for the money. We decided to launch this camp three years ago because we love nonfiction filmmaking, we love teaching, we love being in the Methow Valley in summer, and we are excited by the challenge of creating a unique experience for emerging documentarians. There are a lot of film schools, tech workshops and beginning film programs out there, but nothing quite like Wild Mind.

Thank you for visiting our website. If you’ve read all of the above and you’re still interested, please consider applying to our 2017 summer program (applications will be available here late fall 2016).
Wild Mind Film Camp 2013
Additional photography on this website by Doug Pray, Melissa Raye, and Sherry Malotte.
All rights reserved, may not be used without permission.
Northwest Film Forum
In association with Northwest Film Forum