Spencer Stuard just starting down a filmmaking road
When Park City High School student Spencer Stuard entered his five-minute-long trailer, "Kidz," in The White Room film festival, he didn’t expect to win.
So when, he did, the award caught him a bit off-guard. He wasn’t even around to pick up his prize.
"I actually left early from the place," he said. "So I was definitely surprised I won."
While the rest of the film festival’s winners hailed from the Salt Lake City area and brought films shot in the Cottonwood Canyons, Stuard stayed local, shooting his film, a jib flick, in the parks and pipe at Park City Mountain Resort.
However, he said, the film came from several winters past.
"I’m actually a senior in high school this year," he said. "I actually made this when I was a freshman for a project for the film class I was taking."
The film includes some noted local athletes like Stephen Thomas, Tyler Battersby and Max Peters but Stuard said the shoot wasn’t a huge deal. He and his friends simply set out to do the project.
"We just went out to go film a movie," he said.
At the same time, between the editing and the camera work Spencer did say that he could see what set his film apart from others.
"I did put a lot of work into it," he said. "I put a lot of work into everything I do."
Making movies is nothing new for Stuard. He said his history with the art form goes back to middle school, when he was in fifth grade.
"The day of my fifth grade graduation, my mom bought this camera," he said, "and that summer my friends and I just made the goofiest movies."
From there, he simply kept going, learning how to shoot, edit and create movies.
These days, Stuard said he focuses less on action-sport films and more on narrative projects. Currently he is working as a student at Spy Hop Productions in Salt Lake City, making bigger, better films and trying out different roles in the filmmaking process.
"Just about two months ago I finished up a film that premiered at the Broadway in Salt Lake City," said Stuard.
The 18-minute-long film had a $4,000 budget and was called, "Forget About It." It was directed by fellow student James Berecee. Stuard earned credits for writing and cinematography.
"I’ve always been working with cameras," he said, "so I’m used to it."
While Stuard focuses on cinematography, and some of his greatest talents lie there, he said he has also been exploring other areas of filmmaking. In the past, he has directed, and now he’s working as a producer to learn the business end of filmmaking.
Stuard’s latest project is one he’s doing with his Park City High School classmates.
"At the high school, I started a club called the VA club," he said.
Sponsored by film class teacher Chris Maddox, the club focuses on filmmaking. In the coming months, it aims to produce a film for the Miner Film Festival. Currently, according to Stuard, the group is in the script-writing stage.
In the future, Stuard said he hopes to make a career as a filmmaker.
"I’d like to continue it as a lifestyle," he said.
While many have warned him about the difficulties of the film business, Stuard said wants to stick with it. In the fall, he hopes to attend Chapman University, a film school in California, to further his education. From there, he just wants a chance to work his way into the business.
Stuard said he simply planned to start at the bottom and work his way up. With almost seven years of filmmaking already under his belt, and as of The White Room film festival some new recognition for his work, he seems to be well on his way.
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