Moon McMillan is a quick study. Growing up in Compton, she decided to be a filmmaker early on and graduated from high school at just 16 years of age.
After enrolling in a filmmaking class at her local community college, she decided to start a film class of her own and to share her knowledge with students in grades 5 through 8.
“Guys, remember the most important part about putting up the light?” said McMillan to a classroom of students.
“You have to have the sandbags,” answered one of the kids.
“Exactly. So where they at?” she responded.
“We have a workshop on every aspect of filmmaking from sound, to the camera, to directing,” says McMillan.
“And so the kids get to try out everything. And that's really how they find their niche.”
They’re called Young Moviemakers of America and this is McMillan’s third session and her third documentary.
“So the documentary is about really following your dreams and being able to accomplish things in life. So it's called 'Light at the ‘End of the Tunnel.’ And the kids are going out and interviewing people that are doing exactly what they want to do in life,” said McMillan.
One of her students, a shy young kid named Alex Thompson, found out he enjoys audio. He appreciates learning how to use the gear and understanding the technical side of filmmaking.
“The first time I did a documentary and I used sound effects and all that and it just felt right,” said Alex. “Every time I use it, I just thought that the better I did it, the better I was at it, the more I could do it.”
Audio is something Alex can do for the rest of his life. To McMillan, there are other important skills to learn here too. Fundamental skills kids addicted to screens miss out on.
“They really learn how to talk to people. I think that's really something that they've been able to take away from the program through the interviewing process is really how to sit down and have a conversation with people,” said McMillan.
With the support of The Healthy Housing Foundation and her parents, McMillan is able to share her knowledge and provide these kids with an experience they can take pride in.