Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Article in the AJC

Atlanta Business News http://www.ajc.com/business/ 5:08 p.m. Sunday, August 8, 2010
By Tammy Joyner tjoyner@ajc.com
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Film students spend most of their college years creating their craft, so few graduate understanding how the industry works as a business.

Emory University hopes to change that this fall with a new program that will combine the artistry of filmmaking with the left-brained fundamentals of business.

The school's new concentration in Film and Media Management will give students a broad immersion not only in the creative side of filmmaking, but real-world experience in distribution, marketing, finance and other business elements of film and media. In turn, business students interested in film will get a chance to learn how film and other media evolve artistically.

"They've taken a leaf from our notebook," said Al Lieberman, marketing professor and executive director of the Entertainment Media and Technology program at New York University's Stern School of Business. In 1996, the business school began offering courses tailored to undergraduate film students. "Emory, to the best of my knowledge, is probably the first school to have picked up on this and looking at it as an opportunity.

The two-year program, which starts in a student's junior year, is a collaboration between Emory's Department of Film Studies and the Goizueta Business School and comes as Georgia is carving out an impressive role in the film industry. "The growth of the [film and media] industry in Atlanta has made it possible for us to connect our students to meaningful experiences and better prepare themselves to launch their careers. Film is going to end up being a huge part of Atlanta's economy in the not-to-distant future," said Andrea Hershatter, associate dean and director of the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Goizueta Business School.

"This is now the best time to be making film and television in Atlanta," said Matt Bern-stein, a film historian, professor and chairman of Emory College's film studies department. "This kind of [recent] expansion is bringing so much work to Atlanta."

The heads of the film department and business school at Emory realized the need for the program two years ago after business and film students were brought together to create a television pilot in a TV production class.

The business students naturally gravitated together as a team and came up with good ideas to market and distribute the product but couldn't really execute the ideas. The film students could create trailers and commercials but didn't have the logistical or marketing know-how, Bernstein said.

Beyond the classroom, the gulf between the creative and business sides has led to huge failures in the industry. Who can forget "Heaven's Gate"? Released in 1980, the Western was a lavish recounting of the dispute between land barons and European immigrants in 1890s Wyoming. The movie, which cost $44 million - a fortune at the time - was deemed "the biggest flop ever" by film critics. Its financial and creative excesses eventually sank United Artists studio.

"The business people didn't have an ongoing communication with the creative people and the creative people had the sense the business people couldn't really contribute," Lieberman said. "They felt the business people were only interested in curtailing them, not really supporting and facilitating.

Creating a better link between filmmakers and financiers is every bit as critical today.

The industry has ushered in a new age of filmmaking, where films and other forms of media are conceived and displayed on more than just big screens in theaters: on the Internet, in video games, on cell phones, personal digital devices and other platforms.

"It's a vast industry," said Eddy Von Mueller, a lecturer in Emory's film studies department. "A lot of [film studies] people get upset if they leave college and don't become a movie star or director. They think there's nothing else. We want to give them an idea of how rich and vast it is. There are careers that exist now that didn't exist a few years ago."

To get a better sense of what Emory's program needed, Bernstein, Von Mueller and Hershatter met with alumni in Los Angeles - among them agents, producers and network executives - to find out what areas of media they wished they had learned about while at Emory.

The alumni gave them pointers on how to better prepare students for careers in film and media and committed to help students in the program. Emory alumni work in talent agencies, movie studios, television and other parts of the industry.

Emory began teaching filmmaking on a regular basis about two years ago. Courses include documentary, avant-garde, narrative fiction filmmaking and screenwriting.

The inaugural Film and Media Management program will have 10 film students and 10 business students. It will be open to juniors and seniors this year but limited to juniors after that.

The concentration, which offers five courses, is not a minor for film studies students or business school students and will not appear on a student's transcript.

It will, however, give students a chance to learn more about the multifaceted media industry. Students will be teamed with industry professionals during internships in the program. By its end, students will be expected to develop, pitch and create a pilot for their ideas in a course called "Content Creation."

"We're not trying to be UCLA or NYU," said Hershatter. "We're trying to work within our region to leverage Emory's resources and position our students in a unique experience."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some good advice

What am I doing with my life?
by Leslie Becker
Author of The Organized Actor®

Have you ever felt like you're on a treadmill that just keeps going, and even though you want to get off you just don't seem to know how to?

If you're human, I know that you've felt it. Everyone has. And let's be honest, "what am I doing with my life?" is a valid and scary question. But you know me, I'm never shy about asking tough questions, especially if they
will lead you to the answers you are looking for.

So what ARE you doing with your life?

Are you fulfilled? Are you happy? Are you living the life you've always dreamed of?

If so, congratulations!

If you are not, congratulations for admitting it! Knowing that your life is not really going in the direction you want it to can actually be an incredibly powerful motivation. The challenge with actors and artists is that often we want A LOT of things to be different. But through all my years of coaching, what I usually find is that all of those "not so great parts of your life" stem back to one key ingredient that if altered, will change everything. I'll bet you already know what yours is. It's usually pretty obvious even if you don't want to speak it out loud. And I'm not talking about outside factors like "if I were just in a Broadway show everything would be great." No, I'm talking about things you have complete control over.

Is it your self-image? Do you need to lose weight? Are you in a relationship you need to get out of? Do you need to get back to voice lessons? Do you need to get a job? Do you need to quit smoking? What is it? What is that one thing that would change everything if you took the step today?

Well guess what? All you have to do to change it is to take the first step. Whatever it is. Take it right now. Go on, do it. Be brave. Your life is waiting for you on the other side!

Here are 8 fabulous ways to take back your life!

1. "BE" WITH YOURSELF. As artists we are pulled in so many directions as we run to auditions, balance our day-jobs, families and friends. Before you can blink an eye, a year has gone by and you'll still running around like a chicken with your head cut of. Make a point to "be" with yourself everyday. Just you. The real you. You can do this by taking time daily to journal, meditate or walk with nature. Stop "doing" and start "being."

2. STOP THAT ONE BAD HABIT. You know which one I mean. It's that habit that is affecting every aspect of your life. It might be smoking, procrastinating, sleeping till noon, being late, jumping from relationship to relationship, complaining about the business, gossiping. Whatever. Stop it right now. Think highly enough of yourself to treat your mind and body with great respect and your life will transform almost immediately.

3. TACKLE THE BIG ISSUE. Yes, THAT big issue! Everyone has one. Many times we skirt around the issue and look for other "excuses" as to why something isn't going our way instead of really addressing the biggest thing holding us back. And quite honestly, usually the thing holding you back is YOU. Only you. You can pretend it is someone or something else, but it is only you.

4. STOP DOING WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE TO DO. I've written this one for myself because I am the queen of doing things I don't really like to do, simply because I CAN do them. But being good at something doesn't necessary mean that you LIKE doing it. So cut out at least one thing that you really don't like doing and give it to someone else. Even if you have to pay the person, find someone else or some other way to have that thing done for you.

5. TAKE A BREAK. Human beings always feel the need to push themselves so hard.especially goal-driven people (hello!). But taking a break and allowing yourself to breathe and get perspective will catapult you forward quicker than hard-nosing your way through whatever you are working on.

6. DO THAT THING YOU'VE BEEN TERRIFIED TO DO. If you're terrified to leave your agency, do it. If you're terrified to do a solo concert, do it. If you're terrified to break up with your spouse, do it. Trust me, the fear you've created "about" doing it is far greater than actually doing it. (Let me be clear, I am not instructing you to take these specific actions, but rather using these as examples to spark your own "do-it" actions)

7. STOP MAKING EXCUSES. There's nothing less empowering than blaming everything and everyone else for your own mistakes. Oh yes, it is much easier to say "the accompanist really screwed up" than it is to say "gosh, I really didn't prepare properly for that audition." Everyone can have a rough day, at an audition or otherwise, but as soon as you take responsibility for it, your world becomes an easier place to navigate.

8.  ACCEPT THE TRUTH. Regardless of how difficult the truth might be, it IS the truth, and accepting it will truly set you free. I can't promise you that accepting the truth will be easy, but I can promise you that when you do, a new world awaits!

Apply even just ONE of these ideas above and your life will transform with ease.

Leslie Becker is an actress and author of The Organized Actor®, the #1 selling organizational tool for actors for 15 years. To subscribe to her free newsletter Work IT! Tips for Workin' Your Acting Career and Your Life, please visit http://www.OrganizedActor.com


Leslie Becker
The Organized Actor®