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Promoted to Full-Time at Huntington University!

Promoted to Full-Time at Huntington University!

As many of you know, I've been working at Huntington University for the past several years wearing many different hats. While my part-time position was as Studio Supervisor for the Digital Media Arts department, taking care of department workflow, equipment, and other logistics, I also acted as director of the Fandana Film Festival for two years and have taught several film classes on an adjunct basis. With so many spinning plates, my work at HU always felt like full-time, but my hourly time-card showed otherwise. 

Well, I'm happy to announce that, starting in June, I'll be promoted to full-time as Studio Supervisor! As a part of my new duties, I will be heading up Huntington's first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (commonly called drones) classes - a partnership between HU's new Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies and Digital Media Arts. The use of UAV's is cutting edge and has dozens of applications, including field and ranch observation, crop data collection, and, for DMA, video work that would have once been filmed by helicopters. I'm honored to be given the chance to spearhead such new territory. 

Another wonderful aspect of my full-time statues is that I will be teaching at least two classes per semester, giving me the ability to mentor students more fully in all aspects of filmmaking. It's truly a blessing to be able to influence and mold the minds of the next generations of filmmaking. I've always said that, while I could fully pursue a Hollywood career in hopes of making films that would change people, I'd much rather teach hundreds of students who, like a wave against rocks, could truly make a cultural impact for the better on a grander scale. This position will allow me to continue to make that dream come true and I'm really grateful.

Thanks to Dr. Lance Clark, President Emberton, Mike Wanous and Julie Hendrix for making this opportunity a possibility. I can't wait to see what is in store for Huntington University in the future!  

Wes Anderson's 2001: A Space Odyssey

Wes Anderson's 2001: A Space Odyssey

Visionary directors don’t come around every day. In fact, true auters rarely do. They redefine the medium for themselves, playing on inspirations that proceeded them, but moving forward into dark artistic corners not previously explored. This is what makes them unique. This is what makes them who they are.

So what happens when you smash a few of them together?

A few months back, I ran across a trailer that mashed-up Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with the film aesthetic of Wes Anderson, entitled “2001: A Space Comedy.

After multiple viewings, I realized that my attraction to the trailer pushed past just the outward humor such a combination proposed. The editor, M. Deicke, had hit on a weirdly perfect cocktail of two filmmaking visonaries, whose styles are almost immediately identifiable.

Kubrick and Anderson are known for their visuals. See a screenshot of either and its easy to recognize, but the key is their adamant and meticulous nature towards their camera framing. It is a defining characteristic of both directors and an area where each bleeds into the others preferences.

Beyond just the visual aspect, both Anderson and Kubrick also define themselves with the sound and music choices in their work. Who hears Blue Danube without thinking 2001 or The Kinks without remembering Royal Tenenbaums? This trailer mashed the memorable visuals of Kubrick with the song selections of Anderson and found a brilliant middle ground, where each artist shines bright, but in a hue we’ve never seen before.

So what happens if it’s taken even further?

I was curious to know. Could Anderson and Kubrick be mashed up for an entire film? Could they dance together for that long? For me, it was worth exploring, if only for the sheer fun of it. So I recut 2001: A Space Odyssey into a Wes Anderson picture entitled, Wes Anderson’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Playing with the visuals in Kubrick’s masterwork, 2001 allows for an easy editing template. Long on shots and short on sound, cuts could be put together rather seemlessly. Suddenly, the Dawn of Man sequence is scored to Mark Mothersbaugh tracks from Rushmore, spaceships fly to The Beach Boys, and a two-and-a-half hour film is cut down to an hour-and-twenty-minutes.

Here’s a clip…

To some, I might as well be ransacking the Vatican with such blasphemy, but I found the experience liberating. The process of understanding both directors and attempting to serve both equally is probably an impossible task, but a challenge I enjoyed balancing.

This, for me, is less “filmmaking,” but “filmplaying” — akin to having GI Joe invade a Barbie’s play house. It’s pushing past what’s expected and finding something new, opening opportunities to discover what makes certain artists unique and what they might do together if given the chance. I think creatives can learn a lot from such projects and, beyond, everything else, it’s a ton of fun.

I’ll be premiering my full cut of Wes Anderson’s 2001: A Space Odyssey soon and am excited to see what sort of experience it brings for lovers of Anderson and Kubrick alike.

Accepted to Grad School

Accepted to Grad School

This morning I received some excellent news. National University emailed and said that, after being reviewed , I’ve been accepted into their MFA Screenwriting program! This a monumental step forward in furthering both my career as a screenwriter and film educator, giving me insight and experience I’d never receive otherwise.