Just west of The Dell Diamond in Round Rock, stop-motion films have been made, short movies have been edited, and makeup and costumes have been designed. Students age 6 and older, including adults, can learn the basics of film production at 4Reelz School of Film.
The film school opened in February 2015 and offers classes, such as acting, singing, filmmaking and 3-D printing. Owner and Director Nicholle Walton-Durban said the school covers both the creative and technical work of filmmaking.
“We try to offer classes for the front side and the back side of the camera,” Walton-Durban said. “Our goal is that someone who goes through all of our classes could be prepared to go straight into the industry.”
Having studied theater in college and gained business skills while living in Los Angeles for 10 years, Walton-Durban said she was ready to combine art and business. She created Edgen Films, a production company, in 2010. After seeing a need for a film school in the North Austin area, she opened 4Reelz.
The name 4Reelz stands for Walton-Durban’s four keys to success: creative talent, technical skill, business knowledge, and networking and marketing.
“Our goal is to create authentic, fun training,” she said. “We learn by doing.”
Walton-Durban gives her editing students experience working with short films from local producers, which provides editing for low-budget productions.
After a summer hosting 130 children for camp programs, 4Reelz will begin focusing on its after-school programs with Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD. The school will also be sharing space and partnering with E.S.T.E.A.M Academy, an Acton Academy Affiliate, for the first time this fall.
Walton-Durban said anyone is invited to audit a class at 4Reelz for free.
“Whether someone wants to end up in the film industry or not, [they are invited to come],” she said. “Anyone can walk away from these classes with confidence, poise and an ability to engage people.”
In 2010, Nicholle Walton-Durban opened Edgen Films with her husband, Justin Durban, a director and composer, along with screenwriter Leah Weinberger.
Walton-Durban said the company has produced six feature films, several short films and commercials, and various YouTube series. Though they have worked with companies throughout the nation, she said they enjoy keeping their work local and focusing on companies based in Central Texas.
Edgen Films offers complete production packages as well as a la carte services. The company has also worked with several nonprofits, providing free production services to organizations such as SafePlace.
Three tips for starting in the film industry
After six years running a production company and nearly two years operating a film school, Nicholle Walton-Durban said she has seen how to be successful in the industry. She offered her top tips for starting in the industry.
Get an education: Walton-Durban said starting at a film school like 4Reelz provides a strong foundation. “Be in the business of art,” she said, encouraging people to take it seriously.
Get to know the industry: “So many people walk through [4Reelz] doors and don’t realize the building is owned by a production company and a casting company,” Walton-Durban said. “It’s so important to actually take the time to get to know who’s here in the industry. Do your research.”
Constantly train and refine your skills: Walton-Durban said the industry grows and changes quickly, so it is important to continue to refine skills and train in one’s chosen craft.
2851 Joe DiMaggio Blvd., Ste. 13, Round Rock