Creators of original, youth-oriented television and film programming
MATA Studios is located at the Academies of Loudoun in Leesburg, VA, and operated by the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy's (MATA) Television Production and Digital Moviemaking pathway. Our goal is to create entertaining, informative, and engaging media content while fulfilling state and industry standards for workplace readiness. With an audience that reaches students, parents, community partners and the global online universe, we provide a platform for student expression as well as perspective and depth into issues surrounding media literacy, career and technical education and the greater Loudoun community.
The Academies' Television Production and Digital Moviemaking pathway functions as a hands-on classroom and fully operational studio, led by instructor and director Tara Wall. Junior and senior high school students work in teams to produce start to finish films, television episodes and live cinema productions while gaining real-world experience; learning hands-on television and film techniques; honing studio and field production skills; and exploring media industry opportunities.
The Academies of Loudoun Television Production and Digital Moviemaking MATA pathway is a one-year general studies elective course, covering Year One and Year Two competencies from Virginia’s Career & Technical Education requirements. Students who are enrolled can review the class syllabus, study guides, and other time sensitive materials required for each class session, by signing into Google Classroom.
Grades 11-12 Credits: 6
Prerequisite: Competitive Application Process; Strong communications/language arts/writing skills
Introduction to camera operation, studio safety, copyright laws, non-linear editing, extensive scriptwriting and story development, audio/video production techniques, production planning, the business of media, basic film marketing, entrepreneurship and content creation are all a part of the first semester of Television Production and Digital Moviemaking. The second semester offers students an introduction to the control room, studio equipment operation, audio/video mixing, advanced editing techniques, more complex productions, film analysis and short film competitions. Productions are created in a team setting as well as individually, with much of the second semester curriculum focused on real-world scenarios, including television writing, studio production and live cinema, as well as the culmination of a year-long feature film and television series project.
This is a rigorous program designed to help students determine what avenue of media production they might want to pursue as they complete over 200 competencies, complete a full feature film and television series, develop a digital portfolio and perform essential skills to work in the demanding media production industry. This program works well for students with a strong work ethic, exhibiting a primary interest in the planning and production side of television and film, who plan to attend college and/or intend to begin careers immediately after high school. Entry-level jobs, as well as paid and unpaid college internships exist in this field for motivated individuals with strong high school/college academic skills and technical expertise.
Upon completion of the Television Production and Digital Moviemaking pathway, MATA students are workplace certified and prepared for immediate work and/or a post-secondary degree path in a field where employment of media and communication occupations in general is projected to grow four percent between 2014 and 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, with demand stemming from the need to create, edit, translate and disseminate information through a variety of different platforms. For film and video editors and camera operators, growth is estimated at 11 percent, and growth for producers and directors is expected to be 9 percent, faster than the average for all occupations. Production companies and video freelancers are working with new content delivery methods from mobile devices to online TV, while strong public demand for more movies, television shows and U.S. produced films for foreign audiences continues to drive growth in the motion picture and video industry. This presents a strong outlook and wide-ranging opportunities for students pursuing this exciting career field.
Tara Wall leads Television Production and Digital Moviemaking at the Academies of Loudoun. She's been an instructor of the Monroe Advanced Technical Academy (MATA) pathway since 2017, where she directs and executive produces student films and television programming designed to support instructional goals.
A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications & Film, Ms. Wall earned her teaching license from Shenandoah University with endorsements in Television and Media Production, Business and Information Technology, and Marketing.
Ms. Wall has more than two decades of professional experience as an award-winning television journalist, documentary filmmaker and executive media strategist. She also owns an independent production company, where they create and distribute documentaries and digital content for a broad spectrum of clients.
“With a successful career in broadcast television and running a media production business, I am passionate about paying it forward by sharing my 20+ years of industry experience to help develop future leaders. The secondary teaching environment and Career & Technical Education (CTE) in particular is an ideal pathway for young people to take ownership of their education and set the course for their professional development.”