We recently had the chance to watch DreamWorks Animation’s “Puss in Boots” with our two preschoolers.  Like so many, we could not wait to see the cat that stole our hearts in the Shrek movies star in his own show and the show did not disappoint.  For those of you that have seen the show, I’m sure you’ll agree one of the very best parts of the movie was a scene where Puss and Kitty Soft Paws are doing a dance and sword dueling.  Whether it’s Darth Vader and Yoda wielding light sabers or Indiana Jones dodging a giant rolling ball, we love the thrill of great action and stunts.

Ever wonder how those stuntmen become masters of those adrenaline rushing skills?  Well, if they are lucky, they stumble upon an organization like the Movie Institute that opens the door for young people to come explore their future in the business of the moving image.  The Movie Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based out of Irving, Texas that mentors and trains young people of all backgrounds  to lead more successful lives – AND – the really cool thing that sets them apart from other nonprofit organizations that provide youth services – they do this through the discipline and techniques of the moving image.  In other words, they are giving young people an opportunity to develop their character and life skills while teaching them how to work their magic on a real, live movie set complete with Hollywood grade equipment and instructors.

Coming up on April 21st, the Movie Institute will host a one day young stunt players workshop, Falling for Dollars, for 13 – 19 year olds on teaching the art of doing stunts and making them look REAL.  The workshop will include mentoring by veteran Hollywood stuntman, John Cann, who has performed stunts and coordination for popular movies and shows including Walker – Texas Ranger, Miss Congeniality, Machete, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many others.   The workshop will provide participants with all kinds of cool training – from film combat and working with camera angles to using the force to become your own Luke Skywalker.   (After having the chance to meet the talented team at the Movie Institute, those of us here at Sunshine Avenue are wondering if Puss got his training here too….)

For more information on the Movie Institute and the great work they are doing to help equip and prepare young people for bright futures, check out their website at www.movieinstitute.org.   And for those of you that have always wanted to learn how to duel (or at least look like you know how), it’s time to throw down the gauntlet and join the stunt fun!


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