Camp K Announces Coaches Roster for the 2023 Competition, Including Optimus Chicago Editor Schaye

With the entry deadline for AICP’s Camp Kuleshov trailer competition approaching, the emerging creatives who are busy crafting their entries now have a great resource to turn to, as Camp K has announced its lineup of Coaches available for mentoring and creative counseling.

Serving as Coaches this year are Editors Chris Franklin and Val Lasser of Big Sky EditJen DeanJay Nelson and Robert Ryang of Cut+RunDavid Rubin of Cutters; Jenny Schaye of Optimus; Keith James of Republic; Justin Trovato of Cosmo Street; and Sound Designer/Mix Engineer Joe O’Connell of Sonic Union

This year’s coaches include Keith James of Republic, Jenny Schaye of Optimus and Justin Trovato of Cosmo Street

Camp K is designed to give emerging talent a chance to heighten their creative and craft problem-solving skills while also gaining access to invaluable mentorship opportunities. The competition challenges entrants across various post production disciplines to take existing films and re-imagine them as something new and different. The winners of Camp K on the chapter level will become eligible for a chance to win the Camp K grand prizes, known as The Lev Awards. 

Camp K participants interested in connecting with one of the Camp K Coaches should send an email to the ‘Camp Counselors’ at campk@aicp.com, and a coach will be assigned to assist them. A full listing of this year’s source films for each category in the trailer competition, as well as complete rules and objectives, can be found on the Camp K website at campkuleshov.org. Deadline for entries is Sept. 22, 2023, at 11.59 pm ET. All Camp K winners will be announced during events held in participating chapters later this fall. 

In the Editorial category, entrants must choose a film and, via a 90-second trailer, recast it as from a different genre or directed by a filmmaker with a distinctive visual or narrative style – i.e. a political thriller is transformed into a comedy. New this year is an option of doing a ‘tri-mash,’ in which entrants can now select up to three films and create a trailer for an entirely new film not represented by their source film selections. (For a more detailed description of how the rules work, check out the Camp K ‘Greetings Campers’ introductory letter here.)

In Graphics, entrants must create an opening title sequence for a movie that never had one or had a weak one, and which conveys their impression or interpretation of the film. Sound Design entrants are tasked with choosing a section of a film and creating an entirely new sound design, with their interpretation of the scene through sound design being noticeably different from the original, while still being entirely original in and of itself.

New this year is a category for music composition, which joins the Sound Design category as the second audio-focused challenge for entrants. The music brief is to score a 90-second passage from one of two films that has no music score at all. 

This year’s coaching lineup includes both veterans and newcomers to the coaching ranks, all of whom bring a unique set of perspectives to their Coaching role. Schaye, for example, has participated in Camp K Midwest competitions in the past, earning Honorable Mention and Third Place prizes. “Having gone through the competition five times, I’ll be able to offer guidance to the contestants, because I know what’s worked and what hasn’t,” she observes. “When I was participating, I always read the feedback I was given and took it to heart, which is why I think I was able to improve my placement. Also, as an assistant at Optimus, it was so helpful going through the (fun) struggle with my peers at the time. You learn a lot from each other, and it motivates you to take your trailer one step further.”

Republic’s James has judged Camp K in the past, and has had several of his assistants participate over the years, some winning on the chapter level. A fan of the competition since its inception, he adds, “This is such a great exercise because it combines creative concepting and creative execution. The majority of the work in our industry usually focuses on the latter, so I always dig seeing how up and coming talent attacks an assignment like Kuleshov. No set of boards or agency brief I’ve ever seen has the freedom that this competition does. Enjoy this liberty while you have the chance, kiddos, it doesn’t get much better than this!”

Cosmo Street’s Trovato feels Camp K can provide competitors with what he terms “invaluable experience. It allows you to be resourceful and dig into your own life experience and style, or find it. It’s just you and your ideas, telling a story. I’ve seen some really creative and inspiring pieces come out of this competition.”

The existence of the Coaches helps fulfill an important objective of Camp K, which is to provide entrants with the chance to obtain mentorship from veteran post production artists. For some of this year’s Coaches, they’ve already filled this role, in an informal way. “I’ve always tried to help out our assistants at Republic as much as possible,” James says. “As someone who loves to live vicariously through the success and growth of our people, I enjoyed helping them workshop their ideas before they started on their projects, and then did my best to stay out of their rooms until called back in.”

Schaye says the mentorship aspect of the Camp K experience had great appeal for her. “I took away so much! It definitely helped build my confidence as an editor,” she recalls. “Even the years when I didn’t place, I loved being able to make people laugh or be surprised by my creative choices. Camp K is not just about winning, it’s about loving your craft and getting to truly dive in and see what you’re capable of achieving.”

Camp K is open to junior-level creatives, as well as admin and entry-level employees at AICP member post production and production companies, as well as freelancers and support staff sponsored by member companies. Students and interns sponsored by a member company may also enter Camp K, as well as junior-level employees at music, sound and audio post companies that are members of the Association of Music Producers (AMP).

The fee for single K entries is $65; three or more entries are $55 each; five or more entries are $45 each, with the discounts applying to either companies or individuals. Any questions entrants may have regarding rules, eligibility or anything else can be directed to campk@aicp.com, and a ‘Camp Counselor’ will reply promptly. 

Supporting all Camp K competitions is Avid, which will present certificates for Media Composer or Pro Tools to the first place winners in each chapter, and Musicbed, an AICP Supporting Partner, which is making selections from its production music library available to entrants and will present each Lev winner with a $1,000 prize.

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