We are proud to present this guest post by Buddy Calvo, founder of Alamo Arts Academy, about their multimedia education programs and events.
Multimedia technology is infused in our children’s lives. This generation more than any other is mastering life in a digital world, and careers in this field are here to stay. But what happens when there is not equitable opportunity and resources in audio/visual education for our underserved communities and charter schools? We continue to see extremely high barriers to entry for students interested in these career fields. Because multimedia education is an expensive and highly technical road to navigate, there is a gap in the curriculum and program quality that schools can offer. Alamo Arts Academy, a new multimedia education program, seeks to solve these problems and to do it with gusto.
Alamo Arts Academy, founded in San Antonio, provides students the opportunity to study in fields of Digital Film Production, Digital Photography, Audio Engineering, and Graphic Design. Founded by feature filmmaker and certified teacher Buddy Calvo, the year-round program brings a unique perspective to how middle school and high school students are taught multimedia education. “Alamo Arts Academy was initiated as a response to the overwhelming need for multimedia education for middle school and high school students in and around Bexar County. I have seen first-hand what the multimedia industry can offer and the type of curriculum our students need to be successful,” Calvo explains. By working together with industry professionals, certified teachers, and community partners, students have the opportunity for real world experience, preparing them for careers outside the classroom. Alamo Arts Academy challenges students both academically and creatively, helping them acquire a personal responsibility for life-long learning.
Multimedia Curriculum That Is Aligned with State Standards
Alamo Arts Academy curriculum is aligned with the state standards—the TEKS—within the Career and Technical Education (CTE) guidelines of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The curriculum was researched and developed over the course of a decade and created specifically for the Alamo Arts Academy program, implementing the knowledge and experience of industry professionals, educational experts, and certified instructors who have a combined total of over 100,000 hours in the classroom and on the job. From CTE instructors to certified teachers, Grammy-nominated engineers, and award-winning filmmakers and photographers, their team has designed a simple yet effective curriculum that serves as the core component for successful education.
How the Alamo Arts Academy Program Works
Students first choose from four career paths: Graphic Design, Audio Engineering, Digital Film Production, and Digital Photography. The instructional portion of Alamo Arts Academy is delivered through online learning modules with video lessons and assessments. Post-lesson projects and regular Zoom check-ins with an instructor reinforce the lessons taught and guide students down a path of self-discovery and development of technical skills. Each semester’s learnings build the foundation for in-person events and workshops where students come together to participate in fully scaled projects in their field of interest.
Real World Experience
Perhaps the most compelling reason for students to engage with this program is the unique practicum opportunities in the form of workshops, assignments, job shadowing, internships, and project-based learning. Students will experience rigorous course content, log community service hours working with local non-profits, and earn national certifications from AVID Pro Tools, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, and Adobe Photoshop. This provides students the opportunity to dive deeply into areas of interests. Upon completion of the program, they will leave with certifications, resumes, portfolios, and ultimately job opportunities.
Resources for Schools and Students
Alamo Arts Academy overcomes school funding challenges by providing the equipment and resources needed to help students be successful. Through grants and strong community partnerships, supplemental media kits are provided to each school enrolled in the program. That means schools are outfitted with audio engineering and graphic design equipment as well as film production and photography gear, all made available for students to practice their craft.
Now—the fun part for students! For each lesson and project, students have an opportunity to earn “Alamo Points.” Every school year, they can redeem their points for awesome prizes and rewards like headphones, gift cards, sports tickets, laptops, and other great incentives. Alamo Arts Academy recognizes online learning fatigue is real and staying motivated isn’t always easy. They wanted to reward their students for staying on task, creating awesome projects, and exploring their creativity and technical skills.
Unique Events to Showcase Students’ Multimedia Skills
Alamo Arts Academy has a unique network of resources, community partners, and industry professionals. Each summer, their ten-day Come and Make It bootcamp provides a workshop environment with real projects and real professionals to demonstrate how the tools and equipment students have been learning about are used in the field. They’ll be a part of an actual production and special guests from around the country will be working side-by-side with students on productions, providing live demonstrations, and engaging in Q&As.
Each spring, their 48 to Create competition gives students 48 hours to write, shoot, edit, create a movie poster, and deliver a three-minute short film. Their project will be screened at the end of the 48 hours, followed by an awards ceremony to celebrate their work. The hurried style of production is meant to be fun and challenge students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.
Impact of Alamo Arts Academy
Ultimately, Alamo Arts Academy saw a need for schools to have the resources, equipment, instructors, and practicum opportunities to reach students in the particular area of audiovisual education. Schools are aware and studies have shown that engaging students in artistic expression will equate to better results in core curricula. While that’s true, it’s not always easy for a school to internally build a program like this with the kind of resources, instructors, and network that AAA has. Buddy Calvo and the team at Alamo Arts Academy have been passionately focused on delivering a turnkey, high-quality multimedia educational program that schools and communities can get behind. In fact, they’re doing just that. In their 2021–22 pilot program year, AAA has garnered attention and support from national companies such as Hulu, Disney+ as well as a glowing endorsement from Texas State Representative Diego Bernal, member of the Public Education and Urban Affairs Committees.
As this organization rolls out in San Antonio and beyond, they are bringing a big vision and plan for expansion. They’re currently looking to partner with schools and are actively enrolling for the 2022–23 school year. If you’re interested in bringing this program to your school, please contact Community Outreach Director Joe F. Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They’re also looking for businesses and organizations interested in sponsorship opportunities. Please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Patrick Calvo at email@example.com for more information.
Introducing the Alamo Arts Academy: developed by teachers, taught by professionals, and made for students.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Buddy Calvo, Creative Director at Machina Cinema Industrial, and Sarah Patterson, co-founder of Pendant, speak with Inga Cotton about Alamo Arts Academy on Charter Moms Chats on March 30, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Mauro Buddy Calvo is a creative professional based in San Antonio, Texas. Buddy was born in San Antonio and attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where he participated in theater arts and gained his love for production. Upon graduation in 2001, he attended UTSA to study International Business. After three years at UTSA, Calvo realized filmmaking and storytelling was his true passion and he began to pursue his writing/directing career. Calvo attended San Antonio College where he began taking courses in the Radio, Television, Film department and wrote for The Ranger. In 2006 Calvo wrote and directed his first film and begin to work steadily in the production industry, learning from seasoned professionals and perfecting his craft. This began Calvo’s career in film as he worked on short films, music videos, and feature films, and produced many projects alongside filmmakers in Texas. In 2007 Calvo, his production partner Joe F. Gallegos III, and his now wife Perla Rivera, started the production company Machina Cinema, and the three began to produce projects under this name. In 2012, Calvo worked as DIT/Dailies editor on the feature film Champion, directed by Robin and Kevin Nations and starring screen legend Lance Henrickson. That same year, Calvo began working at the San Antonio School for Inquiry and Creativity (SASIC), teaching students film production, screenwriting, and video editing. Under Calvo’s supervision, the students created their own film crew, The Urban Film School’s “Mustache Films”, produced multiple music videos and short films, and entered multiple film competitions, including the San Antonio Neighborhood Project, for which they won with their project featuring highlights from the East Side of San Antonio. In 2014 Machina Cinema was invited to co-produce the feature film The Adventures of Pepper and Paula with Robin and Kevin Nations. Calvo not only spent a year on this production but Machina Cinema was able to get Calvo’s students to intern on the film set. The year 2015 was very busy for Calvo as he and longtime producing partner Perla River got married days after the completion of Calvo’s latest feature film, Stage V, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story set in San Antonio. The film was released internationally in 2018 and is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. In 2016 Calvo left the San Antonio School for Inquiry and Creativity, but still lectures and visits schools today, speaking to students about film production and distribution. In 2017 Calvo joined the board of nonprofit organization The Right Light Productions and has played a small part in the successful high school film festival, BexarFest. In 2018 Calvo became the board president for BexarFest and he currently serves as the Creative Director for Machina Cinema Industrial.
Sarah Patterson is the co-founder of Pendant, serving as the lead photographer and creative director for the Texas-based creative collective. With over a decade prior experience shooting internationally as part of a husband-and-wife wedding photography/videography team, she has developed her camera and lighting skills, ability to perform under pressure, and unique perspective from behind the lens. In 2017, she took her passion for storytelling and detailed photography from the wedding industry to the commercial world by opening Pendant to focus on telling a brand’s authentic story. Specifically, she has extensive background shooting architectural, editorial, industrial, product and retail, as well as food photography. Over sixteen years of marketing industry experience combined with a love for photography allows her to bring a wide range of support for her clients and deliver unique custom images. Sarah specializes in shooting with Canon digital equipment, utilizing both natural and professional studio lighting. Alongside shooting, she is an expert in editing, color correcting and color grading in Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. Over the years, she has had the privilege to lead, train, and mentor photographers and cinematographers, many who have gone on to start their own successful studios. Her passion projects include anything community-building, especially in support of music, local artists, and nonprofits.
Read More About Media and Arts Education
- “The New Digital Parenting: Connections Over Conflict,” Emily Daniels and Lindsay Durham, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 1, 2020
- “Film Studies,” Nathan Cone, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 3, 2020
- “Creative of the Month: Buddy Calvo,” Get Creative San Antonio, August 5, 2015