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Monday, September 10, 2007

...while you work!

The thing that makes all of us so into what we do for a living
is the actual "doing" of it. In deciding to take a full time
teaching position, I wanted to make sure that the
"doing" would be a large part of it.

Boy, is it ever!

Today I got to spend time with John Murray, Chair of
Recording Arts at Flashpoint Academy while he worked
on the sound design for our summer film project called
"The Collector". The film, directed by our Academic Dean
Paula Froehle, was shot in August and has now been edited
to a fine cut. It's in post, with John working on the sound design,
myself working on the visual effects, and our Chair of Game Production,
Simeon Peebler, working on a game that will accompany the film's release.

It was great sitting in the sound editing room with John today, listening
to the beginnings of the sound design for the film. It's amazing what
just a little well thought out and subtle ambient noises will do to
make a film shot on a sound stage feel like it was shot in a house
in the 1940's. John played a section of it that used to be Paula shouting
instructions to the actor, but now included the humming of the actor
as he worked on his collection of Butterflies, and the sounds of a dogs
barking in the distance, mixed in with crickets. It all worked, and suddenly
made the images on the screen start to feel genuine. Not that the images
are not good, they are actually fantastic, shot by a really talented DP
by the name of Peter Biagi, with a Sony CineAlta F900.

It's just that they lacked 50% of what makes something read as "real".
That's John's job. He fills in the missing 50%, and makes the images come
to life. I can't wait to see the whole thing filled out with the music of life!

I also got to spend time with Peter Hawley, our Associate Chair of Film.
He's a really great guy, with a great sense of humor, and we have an
easy time talking at length about what it is we love about this business.

When we were done talking, he had work to do, which was shooting more
interviews for the "Making Of" documentary that he is doing to document
the creation of, not only this film, but the building of a new way of teaching
students how to work in the media arts and sciences.

Heady stuff! But Peter takes it all in stride, makes people feel at ease, and gets to work.

He interviewed me for the doc, and made it quick, easy and not a big deal
(even though it is). I am sure the final doc will come together smoothly
thanks to how he makes it easy for everyone to just relax and talk about
their role in the making of the film.

It was after all this was over that I realized how great it is to not only
be able to "do" what I do for a living, and teach others how to do it,
but to be able to be around other people while they do what
they love to do.

Hey, it just doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One week to go!


The time is almost upon us when Flashpoint will open its doors to the first
class of students. How time flies when you are working like crazy! In addition
to all our normal Flashpoint work, we are all working industry professionals,
with projects going on the nights & weekends.
Even trips to the bathroom are not safe from work!
When do you think all that reading for class assignments is done, huh?

I'd like to direct your attention to something really cool: Flashpoint is the
first new school to open in the Chicago Loop in over 40 years.
Wow! That's amazing, and sad, all at the same time!

Amazing because it's our school that will break that dry spell of more
than 40 years, and sad because it shows how little education has
been valued by the public for much of that time. But there is a
resurgence happening in the last few years. Education, in many
different forms, is exploding. Especially for the visual effects
and animation industries. DVD's that run 20, 30, 40 or more
hours are regularly selling out from online retailers. Usually these
DVD's are application specific, but not always. Books that teach
animation still continue to be high sellers in traditional and
online retail stores.

Online learning is also exploding, allowing people that are not in
close proximity to a school to learn from instructors and classmates
from nearly anywhere in the world.

We are soon going to be opening the doors to a brand new
facility that is second to none in the technology of teaching.
But even with all that metal, electricity and wiring, the most
important element is still the human one.

Speaking as one of the humans that will be teaching at
Flashpoint one week from now, I can't wait to
see what you all come up with when that spark of
creativity is lit inside of you.

Get ready everyone!
Buckle your seatbelts,
because the
ride is about to begin!