OMG Everywhere Is Music Video Summer Camp for Kids and Filmmakers Alike

It’s been the case from Paul Thomas Anderson to Hiro Murai, but some of the best, and IndieWire’s favorite, filmmakers come out of making music videos. The short space and heightened expression of music videos allow for the kind of scrappy innovation, formal experimentation, and energetic construction that isn’t often allowed to exist in other visual forms. There’s maybe only one group of people in the world with more unbridled creativity, ready to push visual storytelling into places none of us have imagined yet: Kids.

Luckily, there’s a place where, for over a decade, music video makers — including The Daniels, Hiro Murai, Sandy Honig, Demi Adejuyigbe, and many others — have teamed up with L.A. County school kids for a weeklong summer filmmaking workshop, creating both original music videos and official ones for bands as wide-ranging as Daft Punk, Camila Cabello, ISLANDS, Diplo, and St. Vincent. It’s called OMG Everywhere, fully run by and supported by music video makers, and is now fundraising to solidify its operations and expand its capacity to run filmmaking workshops in the future.

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Founded in 2011, OMG — originally OMG Cameras Everywhere — has been, in the words of CFO and music video producer Doug Klinger, a rite of passage for LA-based music video makers of the last decade and a huge source of community. It’s where the Daniels met their now Academy Award-winning “Everything Everywhere All At Once” editor Paul Rogers, for instance. “A lot of folks getting their career from L.A. are transplants, so to provide something back to the community is a lot of what drives the folks that volunteer and the folks that run OMG,” Klinger told IndieWire.

That participation is bound up in the drive to have fun and make art, too, of course. Like every great arts summer camp experience, OMG shows kids what’s possible for them to make and reminds the counselors why they wanted to make things in the first place.

“We called it OMG Everywhere because we wanted to infuse it with the idea that there is art everywhere, cameras everywhere, [that there are] so few barriers for entry these days,” current OMG board member Daniel Scheinert told IndieWire. “This is not a camp about gear, technique, art theory, etc. It’s about making stuff! Anyone can make something incredible and share it with the world.”

While some lights are handled just by the adults for safety, and only the counselors stay up for the overnight editing sprint/dance party at the end of camp, OMG is about as hands-on as it gets for someone interested in filmmaking, whatever their age. The camp has used an actual production studio in the last couple of years so that campers have access to green screens, many different types of cameras, and a menagerie of props and costumes. It offers, in many ways, the best version of filmmaking.

“Camp flattens everybody’s rolls in a lot of ways,” Klinger said. “Suddenly, it’s not this director-DP hierarchy. Everybody’s there to help support the kids’ ideas [and] there’s no better way to really see what someone’s about than to see them teach a child how to operate a camera or teach them how to work collaboratively.”

“I think pursuing the arts can be demoralizing, competitive ,and money-focused. We started the camp back when we were all hustling to book the next music video, competing with each other. So we selfishly built a camp that would be pure, fast-paced, collaborative creativity and it was more nourishing for us and the kids than we ever expected,” Scheinert said.

That sense of collaboration and coming together has been increasingly necessary as the number of community spaces for music video makers has shrunk, especially since COVID. The camp took a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021, and it was a very open question whether or not it would return. But a new set of leaders ultimately decided to keep OMG going so that art that comes out of camp can keep nourishing both the kids and the adults. “I’m so grateful to the OMG camps,” Scheinert said. “There’s so many memorable aspects: the chaotic dance parties; the red carpet premiere for the kids which always ends with hilariously awkward audience Q&As; the manic all-night editing parties with the counselors before the screening.”

The current fundraiser is aimed at costs associated with confirming the camp’s administrative status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit post-pandemic and, hopefully, working towards expanding its offerings across the year. “We realized last year that we can’t get much bigger [for] the single week in the summer. We’ve maxed out both the amount of kids and the amount of counselors,” Klinger said. “For as many schools and educational partners who ask to partner with us, we get just as many requests from our fellow directors and our colleagues in the music video community. There’s a need to come together and do this impossible task of running a camp.”

“I hope the current gang running the camps gets plenty of money from this fundraiser, ” Scheinert said. “But I also hope this article inspires people who don’t have money to spare, who don’t live in L.A., who are craving a burst of creative energy, to go make something with some kids. There’s cameras everywhere.  You can start your own OMG-style camp right now wherever you are. Let’s go.”

You can support OMG Everywhere’s 2024 fundraiser on their website or on Classy. 

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