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Re: School or not to school?

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Daniel TroutRe: School or not to school?
by on Sep 24, 2003 at 2:09:49 am

I'm not offended. Actually, you've brought up a VERY valid point.

I've seen coordinators from many programs, (especially film and video,) who have been in the academic side of things for so long, they've lost touch with the reality of the industry.

I was lucky in that the programs I came from were very "Real-World-Hands-On" programs, overseen by folks who'd been there in the trenches. I've used almost everything I took away from both my associates and undergrad, and so far, I'm incorporating things from my masters program directly into both my own program, and my freelance work, but I have seen what you're talking about first hand.

A former business partner of mine had this problem. Most of his experience and knowledge was self-taught, even though he was enrolled in a production program at his college.

My wife was in a technology class and she'd come home from with, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but...." statements. I'd correct her because she was wrong, only to find out that THAT is what her professor, (an engineer that should know better,) had told her. Not to say that he was giving out erroneous information, but that his information was about 5-7 years out of date.

I've also seen film programs where it was amazing the director, (a Ph.D.) knew which end of the camera you pointed at the talent. He could extemporize for hours about the history of film and give running commentary on the "Filmmaker's intent." That is a problem in a PRODUCTION program.

I think it's important for students to know who they're dealing with, before they enter a program of study. What has that professor done? Have they done careful detailed study of the industry from OUTSIDE, or have they actually been there and done it. Many students are intimidated by professors, and I know quite a few who profs take great offense when their credentials are questioned.

Well, tough, I say! It's your money that they're getting. You're buying access to their knowledge, and you should know up-front what you're getting. I tend to do a short biographical "show and tell" at the beginning of the year, not to toot my own horn to new people, but to say what I've done and where I've been. That lets students know that I, (hopefully,) have some idea what I'm talking about, and they also gives them an idea of what direction I'm coming from.

Don't be afraid to ask. If the prof gets all huffy or evasive, you probably shouldn't hang around to have your grade affected anyway.

Hope that helps, Charlie. And again, I know where you were coming from with your question, and you are unfortunately right in many cases. I'm glad to address it, so no offense taken at all.

We're all in this together,



Daniel Trout
Director of Electronic Media Studies
Ohio University - Lancaster


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