LS Blog

News and updates from the Learning Studio

FilmFest brings Filmmakers to Abilene

Last week, ACU’s 12th Annual FilmFest gave students the opportunity to screen original films at a red-carpet gala at the Paramount Theatre. This year also provided students unprecedented access to training and feedback from filmmakers on campus and around the country. Production teams began work in the fall developing story ideas and technical skills through workshops led by Nathan Driskell and Mathew Bardwell in the Learning Studio.

For the first time this fall and spring, students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with returning judges to develop their films. In November, Randy Brewer, class of 1993 and founder of Revolution Pictures, came to campus to work with production teams as they began to refine story ideas.

FilmFestJudgesBrentThen in March, Brent McCorkle, whose recent work includes editing the 2015 feature Woodlawn, spent the day with directors and editors to talk about rough cuts of their films, leaving several weeks for them to fine-tune and in some cases rewrite and reshoot portions of their films before the April 1 premiere.

Again this year, the FilmFest weekend concluded with critique sessions on Saturday morning, allowing each production team to hear from judges about everything from basic story structure to the technical aspects of their finished films.

We’re grateful to the remarkable panel of filmmakers and writers who joined us in Abilene this year—including Will Bakke (director, Believe Me [2014]), Randy Brewer (Revolution Pictures), Al Haley (writer in residence, ACU), Brent McCorkle (director, Unconditional [2012]), Adrian Patenaude (writer), and Kyle Smith (writer).

If you missed FilmFest, you can see this year’s student films and a list of winners at the FilmFest Blog.

Portait Photography this Spring

This weekend the Learning Studio brought in Asia Eidson to lead two workshops in portrait photography. Asia is an ACU grad and LS alum now running a wedding photography business in Dallas. This was our first advanced photography workshop focused on portraiture, and we had talented groups of faculty and students who worked with student models to gain experience shooting their own natural-light outdoor portraits.

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One powerful part of both workshops was getting to hear a professional walk through her workflow for bringing hundreds of photos into Adobe Lightroom to organize, edit, and export high quality images for print and web. Many who picked up Adobe’s advanced image editing software for the first time were producing striking images by the end of the workshop.

If you’re looking for a way to jump-start your own image-making this spring and can’t wait for our next workshop, check out Lightroom CC Essentials on

Special thanks to the ACU student models and to Rachel and Chris Riley for a great couple days of location shooting.

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Design workshop back in LS

This last week the Art & Design department brought Andy Pratt back to campus to lead a workshop on Interactive Design. He led the workshop with ACU alum Paige Baumgartner who met Andy on a trip to New York City in 2013 led by Mike Wiggins and Ryan Feerer where...

Episode Xmas Premiere

Thanks to the ACU faculty and students who joined us in the Learning Studio last week to audition for Star Wars: The Final Exam. The #EpisodeXmas event went well and we wanted to share a quick trailer before you head to the theatre to see the actual film. The students...

Film Studies Projects

This semester Al Haley and Kyle Dickson taught Introduction to Film for the first time and students were asked to produce a major project that demonstrated their mastery of core concepts of the course. Learning Studio staff spent several class days introducing...

Coffeehouse Projects

For several years students in Dr. Kyle Dickson's Eighteenth-Century British Literature have produced research projects as a way to share key texts from the Enlightenment with a broader audience. It's easy to complete academic research for an audience of one--the...

Episode Xmas TODAY

Episode Xmas is TODAY! Take a study break at a galaxy far far away hosted by the Learning Studio. Prove your Jedi skills by taking the 2 minute Star Wars Final Exam for a chance to win prizes. And sign up to challenge your friends/faculty to a lightsaber duel on green...

Green Screen Action with Premiere Pro CC

In preparation for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, we’re thinking about ways to combine the power of Adobe Creative Cloud with some Jedi mojo to awaken your creative force. The visual effects behind the first Star Wars films were a galaxy far, far away from...

Lightsaber Magic with After Effects CC

In preparation for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, we’re thinking about ways to combine the power of Adobe Creative Cloud with some Jedi mojo to awaken your creative force. On Dead Day our #EpisodeXmas event will bring lightsabers into the library for the...

Save the Galaxy with Photoshop CC

In preparation for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, we’re thinking about ways to combine the power of Adobe Creative Cloud with some Jedi mojo to awaken your creative force. Young Padawan, in order to become an Adobe master, it’s not enough simply to download...

Episode Xmas kicks off on Dead Day

UPDATE: Watch ACU student Ben Todd create the Star Wars illustrations for #EpisodeXmas in our latest video. The wait is almost over. The next chapter in the Star Wars saga opens December 18, and the Learning Studio wants to put you in the movie! But like Luke...