UNCSA Survey: What I wrote

I went to UNCSA in the School of Filmmaking.

The longer I went, the more I liked it.

I graduated.

I liked being in LA with a bunch of people I already knew.

Yesterday UNCSA sent me a survey. I had mostly nice things to say.

When the question came up, “What could be done to improve [the school and its ability to get students employment afterward, sorry I’m paraphrasing]?” this is what I said:

Professor Dane Krogman, Professor Joe Lopina and Dr. Renata Jackson are among the best teachers I’ve ever had. The time spent learning from them was worth the cost of admission for the rest of the program. But many classes with other teachers failed to begin with the basics and build toward clear curriculum objectives. For instance, the year 1 directing class was based on film discussion, when that would have been an ideal time to look at things like storyboarding and shot selection. The year 1 editing class was also based on film discussion, when that would have been an ideal time to look at things like overlapping dialog, tightening up scenes and enhancing what happens on set to make it work on screen.

My year was also the first not to be assigned a documentary short subject project. The second-year doc assigments told North Carolina stories — which helps give back to the community that we depend on for our shooting locations and free bagels. They represented the school well to the public. They succeeded with audiences. They succeeded at film festivals. They became effective calling cards for the students. The same can’t be said for the second-year narrative films that year. It makes no sense to me that the second-year narratives remain in the curriculum and the docs do not.

That said, UNCSA taught me that you get what you take from an education. I evolved from a snooty, dissatisfied first-year to a knowledge-hungry fourth-year trying to grab all the information and studio time I could before I had to leave. So much of that evolution is attitude and can’t be taught. It can be helped by skewing toward older/non-traditional-age students, but that has its own costs and is no guarantee.

Without UNCSA, I wouldn’t be in LA today working in a position I love. I wouldn’t have had the guts or gumption to move from NC to LA if there weren’t a hundred other UNCSA graduates here, too. The people are the main reason I’m grateful to have gone to UNCSA. I hope to give back something soon.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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