In my senior year of high school I took Mr. Hall's Media/Journalism class. Our final for the media part of the class was shooting a video and that experience changed my life. If you have a teen interested in film or video, they have an opportunity to shoot and enter a short film that just might be their life changing event.

Produce Iowa-State Office of Media Production is running "The Film Lounge: Student Challenge". This contest challenges Iowa students in grades seven through twelve to shoot a short film based on a theme set for the contest.

According to Produce Iowa, "The 2018 project theme is “After Hours”—what happens after the last school bell rings in your community? We want teenagers to tell us about some unexpected people, places and moments in their lives. Entries can be in any genre including documentary, narrative, animation or music video."

There isn't much time left for your teen to film their entry. Entries are due January 18, 2019. That said, channeling my inner teen, I suspect a creative teen with an interest in film or video could come up with a pretty good concept for their film and shoot it by the deadline with a little bit of hustle.

Juried films and their filmmakers will receive statewide recognition and inclusion into The Film Lounge Academy complete with a red-carpet premiere screening and workshops with industry professionals this spring.

For my class project in 1990 I chose to do a documentary on my guitar teacher's band, which was one of the local hot rock bands in the Chicago area. Members went on to be in Loudmouth and Disturbed and all have had successful music careers on their own terms. It's fun to brag about that, although that's not what was life changing.

What was life changing was the entire experience. It was the first time I was out late, on my own creating something. I got to be a small part of the Chicago hair metal scene. I got a taste of creating something from start to finish. I got to take an idea from my brain, put it on video, and then make that video tell the story I wanted to tell. It's the friendships I made, the experiences I had. In short I learned that I wanted to have a career that allowed me to create.

Who knows what life changing experience awaits the young filmmaker in your life if they enter this contest.  All the details can be found here.