Archive for the ‘Film News’ Category

Reel Disruption

Posted on: November 11th, 2016 by Brendan Tapley

As virtual reality changes the language of film, where it leaves the filmmaker has become an open question.

By Richard Gershman

Disruptive art may be a redundant term since arguably all art, in forcing us to look at the world differently, disrupts. But traditionally, when we think about art that disrupts, what we’re really thinking about are disruptive artists. That notion, however, may be changing, given the influence of technology across artistic disciplines, and in particular in filmmaking.

Virtual Reality by Sean Walton

Virtual reality, or VR, is increasingly becoming one such disruptive technology. VR first began as a construct of science fiction writers, and then, with the advent of video gaming, appeared in the mainstream as clunky arcade games. At that time, early adopters of the technology also included the health, automobile, and military industries, but it was not until computing power developed sufficiently that what we now regard as VR—a streaming, immersive, 360-degree image that surrounds us in a created “world”—could emerge. This evolution has largely occurred only in the last five years.

VR essentially asks the viewer to stand inside a globe. The realities it creates can be photographically authentic or completely fabricated, but in most respects VR requires the viewer to guide her or his experience. This may seem like a nuance, but its implications are significant. While VR may not have begun with the idea of infringing on, or perhaps supplanting, the artist, what’s interesting—or troubling, depending on your viewpoint—is how the technology challenges us to do things independently of the artist. In ways the artist may not necessarily control.

Consider the fundamental tool of filmmaking (also of painting and photography): the frame. In VR, the frame is eliminated. Instead, VR offers a “canvas” where the viewer bears the responsibility of deciding where to look. Once a viewer is handed the responsibility of deciding what’s important, it becomes logical to ask: What is the artist’s role?

In that same spirit, if an artist loses his or her ability to orchestrate an experience fully, do audiences also lose something?

Since VR is a first-person experience, filmmakers wading into VR quickly realize and must embrace that their audience of one will be experiencing their stories differently. For VR proponents, that may connote a more personal and intense encounter with the work. A car crash becomes much more horrific if you are in the middle of it, a love scene more voyeuristic if you are seated in a chair in the bedroom. For critics, however, the “detachment” that audiences encounter when the artist is more in control actually allows them to be less distracted and to better focus on and wrestle with the ideas the work summons.

The question becomes: Does participation ultimately render a work of art more temporal and disposable—“been there, done that”—or does VR allow us to embody it more? Put another way: Do we need artists to guide us in order to have a transcendent moment, or are we capable of generating that on our own?

Then there is the question of genre.

Just as VR creates new possibilities, it challenges us to rethink some of the old models. Some things do not work as well in VR. Comedy, for instance, relies heavily on a group experience. That challenge faced programmers in the early days of television. That’s why laugh tracks were added to sitcoms as viewers sitting alone in their dens were not as apt to laugh unless cued by others’ laughter. Of course this has since become hackneyed and annoying and now only sparingly used. But, if you are watching a comedic scene in VR by yourself, are you as likely to laugh?

Action sequences, so far, don’t seem to work as well in VR because they have to either be elaborately staged where you don’t see the artifice involved or depend on extensive editing, which has also proven to be challenging. In today’s film lexicon, we accept the ability to constantly change the point of view of a scene by editing different angles and shots together. In VR, hard cuts are unsettling and more self-conscious. So, most VR films stay in a singular point of view and make few transitions, usually by fading in and out or by dissolving from one scene to another.

All of this begs another debate about the communal nature of art. What do we lose or gain by strapping on a VR mask and plugging in? With the adoption of VR technology, will audiences see any reason to go out to a movie theatre?

For some, the experience of a dark movie theatre and being transported to a galaxy far, far away is why driving 10 miles and enduring eight-dollar cartons of popcorn is worthwhile. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would do the same to don a headset and watch a film in isolation. So will VR just be a home device that appeals mostly to gamers? Or will it evolve to the point where other people will inhabit your film as themselves or their own avatars? Maybe that’s the next evolution for VR.

VR technology has already been successfully adapted to many areas. In sports, athletes can experience real-time game dynamics without risking injury. In the military, pilots can train in combat without losing a $20-million plane. In travel, the vacationer can sample a stateroom on a cruise ship or a walk through the Kasbah before buying an expensive vacation. If VR is to succeed as a new way to tell stories, artists will have to figure out what those stories are and how to build a cinematic language to tell them.

Sound, for example, becomes more important. Sound can cue the viewer to look in a particular direction, seeing something the artist wants him or her to experience. Moving the observer’s point-of-view is another technique that can create focus, as most viewers in a VR setting will naturally want to see where they are heading.

As with all disruptive technologies, virtual reality presents artists with the opportunity to invent new ways to express themselves and connect to an audience. But it also forces artists to examine basic and fundamental concepts that define their art form. At the same time VR encourages the creation of new paradigms, it raises questions about whether those paradigms fulfill the purpose of the artist or the artful moment.

It has been said that there are no new stories to tell, only new ways to tell a story. VR may be new proof of this truth.

Richard Gershman is the chair of the film department at Watkins. He began his career in theatre where he served on the staff at the Mark Taper Forum and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. He has more than 50 stage productions to his credit, and his television and film work includes direction of multiple episodes of Judging Amy and Chicago Hope, and the award winning short subject, Joni & the Whales (HBO, A&E Network). He has also worked on such features as The Hunt for Red October and Queen’s Logic. The illustration above was created by Watkins student Sean-Tyler Walton. 

Film School’s Fall 2016 Auditions Set for September 10th

Posted on: September 2nd, 2016 by Steve Wilkison

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will hold a general casting call for Fall 2016 student film projects on Saturday, September 10th, at the Watkins campus in Metro Center.  Directors of approximately a dozen productions from the BFA film program at Watkins will be looking for actors of all ages. Student films are being made under the SAG/AFTRA student film agreement and therefore all current union members are allowed to participate. Actors are asked to bring résumés and head shots for each audition (or a photo can be taken at the reading).

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script (with on-camera readings at the discretion of each director). Casting breakdowns and proposed shoot dates (usually over a 3-day/Friday–Sunday period) for individual productions will be posted to this page and distributed on site.

Audition slots will be divided according to gender and age throughout the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Individual appointments are not available.

10 to 11 a.m. – Leading men, age range 19-40
11 a.m. to noon – Leading and character men, age range 40 and up
Noon to 1 p.m. – Leading women, age range 19-40
1 to 2 p.m. – Leading and character women, age range 40 and up
3 to 4 p.m. – Young men and women, age range 8-18

NOTE:  No overall make-up audition session will be offered. However, after production breakdowns are posted, actors who cannot attend the September 10th casting day may contact specific directors concerning particular roles. If headshots and résumés are submitted electronically, please include name in file title.

All cast members will be invited to a screening of projects at the end of the semester and will have access to an online copy of the film and a quick-time file (without music) to cut into a reel.

For any questions not answered here, email auditions@watkins.edu. Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in Metro Center (across from the Looby). Free parking is available in the campus lot.

EXTRA OPPORTUNITY: Film School Actor/Director Workshop

The Film School is looking for actors who want to participate in our directing workshop, working with student-directors who will be filming scenes this semester [September through November] during  3-hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6-9 p.m.) Each class session is devoted to one scene; therefore, the commitment is only for 3 hours, unless an actor is cast in multiple scenes.

Sides will be available on September 10th outside the casting room. There will be plenty of roles to consider as up to 15 student-directors will be casting 30 scenes. Please indicate to the students present if you are not available on certain days. Callbacks may be held at the discretion of the student-director. Actors will be provided with an edited, digital copy of their scene.

The instructor is Richard Gershman, Chair of the Film School who has directed nationally for theatres like the Mark Taper Forum and Seattle Repertory Theatre and for CBS dramas Chicago Hope and Judging Amy. He has worked with many notable actors including Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly and Mark Harmon.

Projects for Fall 2016 Semester

Production Title: Star Killer

Director: Aaron Scott
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 15-20 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville
Shoot Dates: October 14th-16th
Email: amscott@watkins.edu, epotter@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Set in 1984, Star Killer follows 17 year old Adam Anderson who runs the Galaxy Arcade in Nevada. When his world is threatened by local bully Crash Boyd, Adam must find the strength within himself to beat Crash in his favorite arcade game, Star Killer, or lose everything.

Characters: 

Crash Boyd: Lead:  Early- to mid-20’s, Crash will stop at nothing to get the high score on the Star Killer arcade machine. He is relentless, ruthless, and will go to any means necessary to get what he wants, even if it means doing harm to others. Crash is an alpha male, causing him to butt heads with Adam when it comes to his behavior in the arcade.

Billy Sanchez: Lead: 12 years old, Billy is Adam’s right hand man in the arcade. He is always willing to help Adam with whatever it is he needs, and always strives to show Adam what he is capable of. Billy is a great friend and tries his best to encourage Adam in his battle against Crash. Billy is fierce, daring, and always ready for whatever is thrown at him.


Production Title: A Monster Like You

Director: Ben Voorhees
Union/Non-union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non-Union)
Production Type: Student Production II with dialogue/ Dark, Crime Thriller
Production Length: 16 minutes
Shooting Locations: Nashville, & possible neighboring town within (30) minutes of town.
Shooting Dates: October 21-23
Email: bvoorhees@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A fun night on the town quickly turns two friends’ lives upside down and onto a dark path into the world of crime. Stan & Rob think they have their wits about them; as the stakes heighten fuses dwindle.

Characters:

Stan Callahan: Lead: Male, 30-50. A methodical and somewhat nervous man seeks the safety of his wife and himself. This protagonist is self conflicted and has a history of making bad decisions, one of which was befriending his best friend Rob. Though Stan graduated from college with a bright future, he decided to move back to live near his friend Rob, his only living “family.” Stan plays both victim, and enabler. Through the main arc of the script, Stan first wants his life back to normal and to leave his surroundings of crime. By the end of the script however, Stan just wants a grip on his reality and who he has become.

*(Preferably someone who also would be willing to read as a narrator.)

Rob McVay: Lead: Male, 30-50. Stan’s best friend from college didn’t succeed in his studies as Stan did. Instead, Rob began doing odd jobs and becoming very good at the art of deception in gambling with cards. Rob is a bit of a misfit and a declining alcoholic. While gambling has brought him success through the years, he trusts himself too well one night. He gets both himself and Stan into big trouble cheating against a crime boss at cards.

Cindy Callahan: Supporting: Female/30-50. The sweet and loving wife of Stan. Cindy wants none other than the best for her husband and their relationship. After she is dragged into a life-threatening situation, her trust for Stan begins to diminish. Cindy is the voice of reason in the story; perhaps she is an angel in a dark town. When faced with adversity, she begins to see her world crumble.

Adrian Thompson: Supporting: Gangster-Male 30-50. The head facilitator and best man of the Big Boss’ underground crime organization. He is a sly don with a great sense of humor. He wants to persuade people around him to get what he wants. However, when he is crossed, there will be massive repercussions.

Big Boss: Deep Voice: Male/30’s and up. This man is very mysterious and is never shown on screen, however his impending nature is very present in the script. He is ruthless and violent. Big Boss runs the town.  *Voice Actor.


Production title: Now Introducing  (Dark Comedy)

Director: Jason Hassell
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II With Dialogue
Project length: 12-15 minutes.
Shooting Location: Nashville
Shoot Dates:  October 9th and October 30th
Email: jhassell@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Now Introducing is a story that will take you on a ride into situations unknown to every day people. A man walks into a venue to enjoy a show with his girlfriend and ends up lost and confused in a world he’s never seen before. He has one goal now, to find his way back to where he came from.

Characters:

Reed Davis: Lead: (Male, Mid 20’s) A young guy from the east side of town. You will always find Reed out at a venue with his friends. He’s young but feels experienced. He dates Zoe and has for some time.

Damon Connors: Lead: (Male, late 20’s early 30’s) Damon comes from the slums in Great Britain but grew up listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and more 70’s and 80’s British Punk music which explains his harsh attitude towards authority. He is a little psychotic, speaks super fast and along with his cockney accent you can barely understand him. He lives and breathes punk music.

Zoe Stanley: Supporting: (Female, early 20’s) Zoe is always the one to bring the party down. She has dark features, always wears black and is a total buzzkill. She dates Reed, and although they have been dating for quite some time, she can’t stand him sometimes.  It shows in her attitude.

Silas: Supporting: Male 30’s or 40’s. Silas works at The End as a bouncer. Silas is a big guy and has little to no patience whatsoever.

Kourtney: Supporting: Kourtney is a pretty blonde girl in her 20’s who is in the wrong place in her life.


Production Title: Living Together

Director: Julian R. Cole
Union/Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production II, with dialogue, Art-house, Drama
Project Length: 20 minutes
Shoot Dates: October 14th, 15th/ October 28th, 29th (if needed)
Email: jcole@watkins.edu

Shoot Locations: Shelbyville & Murfreesboro

Compensation: DVD copy, digital file, and meals.

Synopsis: When two young writers move in together, the line between their personal and professional relationship begins to blur.

Additional Information: Living Together is an extrapolation and critique of life imitating art. The film is rooted in the Indian/Bengali literary structure known as “Rasa”, which is the usage of emotion and/or intellectual properties as the key component of a narrative arc.

“If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre

Characters:

Marshall: Lead: 18-25. Central focus. The moral compass by default; the baseline of all quandaries, even with his inherent inconsistency. Contradictions are rife within his personality; often speaking and thinking from opposite ends of an inconclusive spectrum. He is open; an almost fluctuating beacon of understanding, which is mired and ensnared in a hindering condition. Loss and gain. With, and without. Not at all, and all at once.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
— Norman Cousins

Dane: Lead: 18-25. Void. Negative space. He exists only in reaction; the lacking of the ability to initiate and properly reciprocate. There is no ambiguity to his spectrum; he is stripped of even that. Manifested only as a formality; recessive beyond that of cellular. Living as if he’s died before; a death that still continues. He hides it well; tamps down the dull gray ash with callousness.

“One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

Teacher: Supporting: 30-55. A straight-forward professor who is more concerned with the practicality and completion of an assignment, rather than the testing of new intellectual or artistic boundaries in the world of filmmaking.


Production title: Attract & Raquel

Director: Michael P. Hamm
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II, With Dialogue, Romantic Comedy
Project length: 12 – 15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville/ Murfreesboro
Shoot Dates: September 30-October 2.
Email: mphamm@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Austin settles for a woman he later regrets marrying. He falls, for a young attractive looking girl, who he sees every quality he ever wanted in a partner. Will he go through with the marriage that he’s in? Will he give up his life to be with the other woman?

Characters: 

Austin: Lead: A young fit looking man in his 20’s to early 30’s. Very down to Earth. Very easy going. He works as a professional trainer at a nearby fitness club. He jogs to work. He now wants to settle down and have a life with someone that he has only been with for about 10 months. He realizes that he is broken. (Must be OK with jogging)

Kelly: Lead: A young successful curvy woman in her mid 20’s to early 30’s. She is brutally honest. She only cares about herself most of the time and has little sympathy. She comes from a wealthy family, who owns a fitness club franchise that caters to single people.  Kelly works at a Healthcare company downtown. She does love her husband.

Raquel: Lead:  A young, sophisticated, athletic girl. Her age is Mid 20’s to early 30’s. Raquel is the adventurous and fun type. She loves to run as well as workout when she can.

Boss: Lead: An older man around the age of, mid 50’s to mid 60’s. Very tough. Very to the point. He only settles for the best in people. He has served a number of duties in the army and now focuses on his growing franchise. He is Kelly’s father who owns the Fitness club franchise as well as Austin’s Boss.

Lucas (Younger): Supporting: His age ranges from very late teens to mid 20’s. Not the best in shape, but with AUSTIN’s help he’ll be a hunk. A young buck at the gym. Loves to talk. Cocky. Thinks he’s all that. The kid really makes Austin think.

Travis: Supporting: The employee working the front desk. Smart. Single. Does his job well. An aspiring personal trainer. Enjoys correcting people including his employees.

Rayline (Older): Supporting: An older woman. Her age range is early 50’s to late 60’s. Married. Goes to the fitness club to hit on personal trainers in secret. Cougar. She has a wild side about her. Wealthy.

Greg: Supporting: A young man, between the ages of mid 20’s to late 30’s. Easy going guy. One of Austin’s old friends. Greg likes to workout when he can. He works for a private business. Single.

Couple Running Together: Supporting: The couple that Austin sees while running to work each day.

Couple Hanging Out: Supporting: A couple hanging out enjoying themselves at the gym. Helping each other train.

Workout Extras: Calling all extras! Doesn’t matter what type you are! You’re the star!


Production title: All Great Stories

Director: Sarah Southern
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II, With Dialogue
Project length: 12-15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville/Brentwood Area
Shoot Dates:  September 30th-October 2nd
Email: ssouthern@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Maggie Claremont is a world-famous author who writes a popular series starring Mason A. Jar, a cocky action hero. But Mason isn’t like most characters—Maggie sees and hears him as if he is in the room with her. Unfortunately author and character do not get along. Maggie is tired of writing his story and wants to move on, but the books make money so she’s stuck in a rut. When Maggie gets the news that her publisher wants her to finish off the series by killing Mason in the final book, she is more than happy to do so; of course, Mason isn’t going down without a fight.

Characters: 

Mason A. Jar: Lead: A cocky action hero in his mid-to late-20s, completely full of himself. In his mind, no one in the world could possibly dislike him and if someone does, he dislikes them right back. Normally, he struts through life with the attitude of an immortal being, but when his existence is truly threatened, he will do all he can to survive.

Maggie Claremont: Lead: A creative, passionate, good-humored author in her mid to late 30s who has now lost all of her qualities. Her creativity and passion has been washed away by a publishing house demanding a series of books she no longer likes writing. Her good humor has been replaced by sarcasm and hate specifically towards the lead character in the series, Mason A. Jar. Dealing with the book series that doesn’t seem to ever die has lead Maggie to hallucinate the lead character she hates.

Amanda: Supporting: A perky, outgoing book editor in her 30s. She’s Maggie’s editor and knows the author like the back of her hand.

Donna: Supporting: A well organized, secretary in her late 30s to early 40s.

Shannon: Supporting: An enthusiastic, book-loving college student in her 20s.

James: Supporting: An enthusiastic, book-loving college student in his 20s.

Unknown Man: Supporting: A dark, mysterious gunman who works for The Firm, a fictional corporation in Maggie Claremont’s book series.


Production title: Meeting Moreheads (Working Title)

Director: Tess Reynolds
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) with Dialogue
Project length: approx. 13min
Shooting Location: Davidson County
Shoot Dates:  October 22nd-23rd
Email: treynolds@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: Based on real events, this comedy follows Tom Morehead and his girlfriend Charlotte as he introduces her to his family for the first time. What starts out as a quick Thanksgiving dinner, becomes a never-ending swirl of embarrassment.

Characters:

Tom Morehead: Lead: The youngest of the Morehead family, Tom is the odd one out. Tom is a college senior who is bringing his girlfriend, Charlotte, home to meet his family for the first time. He has strong reservations about the meeting due to his embarrassment brought on by his family’s behavior.

Charlotte: Lead: The sweet, optimistic, alternative, college junior girlfriend of Tom Morehead. Charlotte’s personality and interests are the complete opposite of the Morehead family.

Peggy Ann Morehead: Supporting:  A mother of three young adults, Peggy Ann is in her late 50’s, is a grandmother to a toddler and a wife to her high school sweetheart. Conservative when it comes to politics but a little bit crazy about everything else. Her ditziness, lack of filter and misunderstanding of social cues makes her an unusual matriarch of the Morehead family.

Richard (Dick) Morehead: Supporting: In his late 50’s/early 60’s, Richard, a.k.a. Dick, is a classic, all-American, smoking, beer-drinking, sports loving man of few words. Dick married Peggy Ann, his high school sweetheart, and fathered 3 children through adulthood.

Tammy Morehead: Supporting:  Late 20’s and married to Timmy, like her mother Tammy has no filter, is out spoken, blunt and loud. She’s the middle child to Peggy Ann and Richard but doesn’t let her opinions get over-shadowed.

Timmy: Supporting:  Married to Tammy, Timmy is right on the edge of being a deadbeat. A very carefree man in his late 20’s, Timmy speaks his mind yet will not fight back to his out-spoken wife.

Tim Morehead: Supporting: Practically a copy of his dad, Tim is the oldest Morehead child. He’s a classic, all-American, and sports loving man of few words who puts up with his wife’s constant nagging.

Lee: Supporting:  In her early 30’s, Lee is married to Tim, the oldest Morehead child, and a mother to infant, Carly. She’s a money-pinching, uptight woman.

Carly: Supporting:  The infant daughter of Lee and Tim, and the only Morehead grandchild.


Production title: (Closure)

Director: Zealand Linton
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 10-12 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville and Cookeville, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 7-9
Email: zlinton@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Lacie died in 1979, so why is she bumming on her best friend’s couch in present day? That’s what she and Misty must figure out.

Characters:

Misty: Lead:  A sophisticated, 55 year old woman who’s experienced her share of death. She may bare a quiet persona, but she also has no trouble taking command of the events in her life.

Lacie: Lead:  A happy-go-lucky 18 year old with her share of quirkiness.

Young Misty: Supporting:: (older teen) An untainted, young Misty, before life takes her for a spin on the dark side.

Young Isaac: Supporting: (older teen) A strong, supportive friend to the girls (Lacie and Misty).

Woman With iPad: Supporting: An upbeat saleswoman who makes it hard to brush her off.


Production title: Picture Perfect

Director: Karina Castelan
Union/ Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production II with Dialogue
Project length:  10-15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville, TN
Shoot Dates: October 29-30
Email: kcastelan@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or Non-Union for no pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Luna, a lonely, but normal teenage girl is spending her summer mostly alone. She begins a job at an art center, begins a love for collages, piecing together bits of paper that become her reality. She gets a bit lost in her own art world she’s created.

Characters:

Luna: Lead: A lonely, but normal girl in her late teens, is spending her summer mostly alone. She begins making collages, developing a bit of a bond with them rather than the world around her. She gets carried away, both physically and mentally. All she wants is company, and tries to fill that void with her art.

Maurine: Supporting: A caring widowed single mother, in her late 30’s, who works many shifts as a nurse. She only wants to make sure her daughter is seemingly okay when she has the time to be with her.

Shannon: Supporting: An easy-going, eccentric woman, in her late 30s to early 40s, who is in charge of a community art center. She speaks quickly, with lots of energy. She gives Luna a job to help her out around the place.


Production title: Lucia (working title)

Director: Gabriela Jimenez
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 10 minutes
Shooting Location: Hermitage, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 14,15
Email: gjimenez@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A girl escapes an abusive relationship in an unexpected way. Film will contain strong language and suggestive scenes.

Characters:

Lucia: Lead:  A simple young Latina woman, early- to mid-20’s. All she wants in life is to be the happy with her boyfriend.  She overlooks the toxicity of their love. Although, if pushed to choose between survival or love, she is capable of seeing past her idealistic relationship.

Julio: Lead:  A calculating and manipulating man in his early- to late- 20’s who has to be in charge.  He is used to things happening his way.  He has never had to sacrifice anything so he is not use selflessness.

Other Lucia: Supporting:  A simple young Latina women in her early- to mid-20’s, she is the very image of Lucia, but her purpose is Lucia’s deepest most darkest subconscious need.


Production title: The Stray

Director: Keevan Guy
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 12 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 28 – October 30, 2016
Email: Director: kguy@watkins.edu, Producer: blindsey@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  In a city of violence, a young man named Alex desires to help the innocent from danger, but he fears the consequences of being brave. Unlike him, his older brother, Jack, is confident and fearless of the world around him, living the life of a street gang leader.  Can Alex overcome this fear to help others? Is it worth him sacrificing his life?

Content warning: Strong language, sequences of abuse, and violence

Characters: 

Alex: Lead:  A young man in his early 20s, struggling to overcome the fear of death when doing an act of valor. He knows that only his older brother can help him.

Jack: Lead:  An optimistic street gang leader in his late 20s. He cares dearly for his younger brother, Alex, and always tried to make him see that. He wishes to help Alex overcome his fears, but worries he is too inexperienced.

Abusive Neighbor: Supporting:  A man in his early 30s who lives next door to Alex.  He’s a drunk who frequently abuses his prostitute partner, Liz, forcing her to do a job she doesn’t want.

Kelly: Supporting:  A female bounty hunter in her mid 20s, working for Jack’s street gang. She’s a punk who finds satisfaction in killing a target for the sake of others.

Howard Thompson: Supporting:  A gangster in his late 30s who intimidates others easily. He is Alex’s target to kill, but when the assassination doesn’t go as planned, Howard grows angry and tries to kill him.

News Reporter (Male or Female): Supporting: A television reporter, 40’s, who briefly explains the death of a young man before Alex changes the channel.


Production Title: Shaken not Stirred

Director: Roxanne Nawrot
Union/Non Union:  SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production III with dialogue
Project Length: 20-25 minutes
Shooting Location: Davidson County
Shoot Dates: September 30th – October 2nd
Email: rnawrot@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment. DVD copy, digital file, and meals. Non-union: DVD copy, digital file and meals; no pay.

Synopsis: Chaos ensues when Larry and Michael try to search for the perfect surrogate to bear their child. Michael is unaware that Larry is hiding a huge secret that will potentially damage not only their relationship, but also his dream for starting a family with the one he truly loves.

Characters:

Larry: Lead:  Age 35-60. A narcissistic, sassy, selfish, and convoluted spray tanned man who misleads his partner, Michael, into thinking that he actually wants to have kids. Truth is, he despises kids of all ages. He purposely sabotages their search for finding a surrogate and is completely disinterested about the whole process. Larry can hardly maintain any friendships and is notorious for falling out of his commitments at the most unreasonable times. He puts on a front to cover his insecurities and inner want for love and acceptance. Ultimately, he finds love and friendship in the most unexpected way, with the most unexpected person, making him realize what he truly wants in the end.

Michael: Supporting:  Age 30-45. Larry’s partner who is full of heart and extremely genuine.  His dream is to start a family with the one man he’s ever truly loved, who is Larry. Trouble in paradise occurs when he finds out how disinterested Larry is in the process of seeking the best suited surrogate. Through Larry’s sabotaging of their surrogate search, Michael throws a curve ball at his partner, soon introducing his best friend, Sylvia, and her 17-year-old daughter, Piper, to him as they come by for a visit. While Michael hangs out with Sylvia, he forces Larry to face his fear and hatred of kids and to bond with the teenage girl.

Piper: Supporting: Age 18-25.  A 17-year-old girl who is well beyond her years. She’s bold, wise, sarcastic, and painfully honest. She visits Larry and Michael with her mother, Sylvia, and forms an unexpected friendship with Larry.

Sylvia: Supporting: Age 30-45. Sylvia went to college with Michael where they became best friends. The two of them shared an inseparable bond that led both of them to sleep together. Eventually, Sylvia became pregnant with Piper when she was only 22. Regardless of the orientation Michael chose, Sylvia still holds a perpetual love for him. She agrees to be his surrogate in hopes that they can eventually be together again.

Pretty Woman: Age 20-35. A gorgeous surrogate candidate that is very self-absorbed, detail oriented, and too honest. She comes across as a rude know-it-all.

Tattooed Woman: Age 20-35. A Wiccan with lots of tattoos and facial piercings. She’s the second surrogate candidate. She seems to be very deep in thought and serious in regards to her religion.

Transgender: Age 20-45. A man who is undergoing the process of becoming a woman. He makes a fairly convincing woman but the deep voice doesn’t help make the cut. He/she is the third surrogate candidate.

Phil: Age 20-40. Larry’s past love interest who makes a slight appearance as he tries to meet up with Larry again. He’s very good looking, well groomed, and charming.

*** In need of four attractive young adult men for minor speaking roles as well as a lot of extras, (both male and female, aging anywhere from 18-60) for a bar/club scene


Production Title: Minimal at Most (comedy)

Director: Ben Parsons
Union/Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production III With Dialogue
Project Length: 20-25 minutes
Shooting Dates & Locations: September 23-25, Nashville, TN
Email: bparsons@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A quiet dinner party at Tad and Jane’s new apartment quickly descends into chaos when Jane’s sister Mal comes to visit.

Characters:

Tad: Lead: (mid to late 20s) A witty, neurotic comedy writer. He is committed to his relationship with Jane and making a good first impression with Mal, but falters and quickly runs to Lionel for help.

Jane: Lead: (mid 20s) Tad’s longterm girlfriend and Mal’s sister. She is very kind and sweet, unfortunately naive to Lionel and Tad doing drugs to help with their comedy writing.

Mal: Supporting: (early to mid 20s) Jane’s unemployed sister who comes to visit Tad and Jane. She can be very dry and unwelcoming, and her accidental taking of drugs quickly sends the night spiraling downhill.

Lionel: Supporting: (mid to late 20s) Tad’s friend and a fellow comedy writer. He institutes conflict by bringing drugs into the apartment to help calm Tad down during dinner.


Production Title: White Lies

Director: Cobi Noblin
Union/Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production lll) With Dialogue
Project Length: 20 minutes
Shooting Location: Parc Apartments, Germantown, Cumberland Park, and Watkins College
Shoot Dates: Oct 7-9
Email: cnoblin@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals or….No pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals

Synopsis: A pathological liar meets a girl and lets his inability to tell the truth send his life into a downward spiral.

Characters:

Harry Westford: Lead: A 20-something scumbag with a charming personality. He’s a pathological liar who always wants people to like him.

Erica Summers: Lead: A 20-something woman who gets dragged into Harry’s life by chance. She’s smart and independent but open to trying a relationship with this seemingly nice guy.

Trever: Supporting: A 20-something alcoholic who wants nothing more than to party all day and night.

Therapist: Supporting: A 30-something therapist who wants to help Harry get over his affliction.

Jason: Supporting: A 30s man who manages a run-of-the-mill pizza store.


Production Title: Mother Of the Beast

Director: Micah Atkinson
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory
Production Type: Student Production IV With Dialogue
Project length: 30 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville TN, Smyrna TN
Shoot Dates: February 3-5/ February 10-12 (TBD)
Email: matkinson@watkins.edu

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Folkloric tale of a woman who fell in love with a man who was half beast. She is now faced with the task of raising their child, who is beginning to genetically manifest the same beastly traits of the father. The mother must now protect her child, love her child, and survive her child.

Characters: 

Arwin: Lead: (mid twenties-early thirties) Arwin, the mother, has grown weak under the burden of the many secrets she keeps. Because of this, she appears fragile and vulnerable, though beneath her cautious tone is fierce love for her child, and a relentlessly steadfast conviction to both protect and reunite her family.

Conrad: Lead: (mid twenties-early thirties) Conrad is Arwin’s brother-in-law. In the temporary absence of her husband, Conrad has taken it upon himself to provide a father figure to the child, and a confidant to Arwin. Conrad is noble and honest, though he fears his own subdued romantic feelings towards Arwin.

Righteous: Supporting: (mid twenties- early thirties) Righteous, Arwin’s husband, is a man first, and a cursed beast second. He fled his family to keep himself safe from others who wanted him dead, as well as to protect Arwin and their child from himself. Much of his personality is ethereal, as he deals heavily in the spiritual.

Silas: Supporting: (mid twenties- early thirties) Silas is a worker and companion of Conrad’s. He is dark and cynical, especially when it comes to Conrad’s connection with Arwin and the child, as Silas has suffered personal loss at the hand of Righteous. Silas has a deep seeded hatred for the beast and the family.

Hann: Supporting: (the child) Hann is not one for words, but a strong observer. Arwin attempts to keep Hann in the dark as it pertains to Righteous and the beast.

Professor Steve Womack Publishes a New Book

Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by Admissions

Long-time Watkins Film School Professor Steven Womack writes a lot more than screenplays. With eleven novels under his belt, he’s now started a small independent press and has just published his first nonfiction work on American politics. Called Why Politics Sucks With Just A Few Modest Proposals That Might Make It All Suck A Little Less, Womack calls the book a “broadside,” the first of eight he’s going to publish tackling the problems and issues facing Americans. In this first installment, Womack writes with humor and attitude about the dysfunctional circus we call politics in America.

Appropriately enough, the book was published on July 4, 2016 and has cracked into the top 25 Best Sellers on Kindle’s “Short Reads/Political and Social Commentary” List.

You can read more about Why Politics Sucks on Professor Womack’s website www.stevenwomack.com

The book is available on most major Ebook retailers, and on Amazon.com here.

Swaney 2016 Doubles Prize for S.T. Davis and Marlos E’van

Posted on: May 15th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

The 10th edition of the Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression witnessed compelling work from 11 students across all disciplines — and for the first time, two winners were selected.

After intense deliberation by jurors Martin Shofner of Shofner Buck Architects/Architectsure and Walter Crouch of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLC (both former associates of Mr. Swaney), Film School junior S.T. Davis, of Millington, TN, was awarded the $1,000 first place prize, and Art senior Marlos E’van, a Mississippi native who now calls Nashville home, received special recognition with an additional $500 award.

Swaney2016 room ph 1490 WwebEstablished in 2006 by Mary Jane Swaney in memory of her husband, noted Nashville architect Charles Robb Swaney, the Swaney prize honors students who produce “visual designs and patterns that spoke to others.” Davis, whose concentration is cinematography, impressed with a film reel whose visuals and editing weaved a powerful narrative. E’van, who will earn a BA in Art with a concentration in painting, displayed two striking large-scale paintings on canvas and a collection of smaller works on paper.

Students were selected by their department chairs to participate in the annual competition, and brought examples of their work to display and discuss.

Congratulations to all the 2016 Swaney Prize participants!

Swaney2016 1513 Shofner painting review WwebArt:
Marlos E’van

Fine Art:
Mali Hamilton
Micah Mathewson

Film:
S.T. Davis
Emileigh Potter

Graphic Design:
Chris Fornal
Noelle Grimes

Interior Design
Anna Caro
Aimee Spencer

Photography:
Sarah Faith Taylor
Sandra Ventura-Benitez

President J. Kline, S.T. Davis, Martin Shofner, Marlos E’van, Walter Crouch
Aimee Spencer
Chris Fornal
Emileigh Potter
Sarah Faith Taylor
Mail Hamilton
Sandra Ventura-Benitez
Micah Mathewson
Noelle Grimes
Anna Caro
President J. Kline, S.T. Davis, Marlos E’van
Mali Hamilton, Martin Shofner
Chris Fornal, Martin Shofner
Martin Shofner
Martin Shofner, Micah Mathewson

Callie Khouri To Deliver Watkins Commencement Address at May 14 Ceremonies

Posted on: May 12th, 2016 by Caroline Davis 1 Comment

Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma and Louise and creator/executive producer of the hit television series Nashville, will be the keynote speaker for Watkins College of Art, Design & Film’s 2016 Commencement on Saturday, May 14.

Ms. Khouri will also receive the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from Watkins during ceremonies on the Watkins campus, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited.

Ms. Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie Thelma and Louise–her screenwriting debut–which was nominated for six Academy Awards. She won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award, and a PEN Literary Award for best original screenplay. Her second film, released in 1995, was Something to Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall. She made her directorial debut in 2002 with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (which she also adapted for the screen), featuring Sandra Bullock and Maggie Smith, followed by the 2008 caper comedy Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah.

Callie Khouri with "Nashville" stars Charles Esten and Connie Britton

Callie Khouri with “Nashville” stars Charles Esten and Connie Britton

Currently, Ms. Khouri is writer, director and executive producer of the ABC/Lionsgate music drama Nashville (which she also created), in its fourth season.

Dr. J. Kline, president of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, described Ms. Khouri as, “a role model and inspiration, not just for our film students, but all our students. Through the course of her career she has pursued various avenues of success, while all the time remaining an engaged member of the artistic community on a national and a local level. She has created opportunities for Nashville artists of all stripes and afforded many of our students their first professional experience. We are thrilled and honored to have her as our commencement speaker.”

Producer Mimi Polk Gitlin, actress Geena Davis, journalist Anne Thompson and writer Callie Khouri at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 20th anniversary screening of "Thelma & Louise" (August 25, 2011)

Producer Mimi Polk Gitlin, actress Geena Davis, journalist Anne Thompson and Callie Khouri at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 20th anniversary screening of “Thelma & Louise” (2011)

After graduating from high school in Paducah, Kentucky, Callie Khouri attended Purdue University, taking classes in landscape architecture and drama. She lived in Nashville for a time before heading to Los Angeles in 1982 to pursue a theater arts career, studying at the Strasburg Institute. In 1985 she shifted her focus to film production, beginning as an assistant on commercials and music videos and eventually becoming a music video producer. During this time she wrote the script that would become Thelma and Louise. In addition to its success Hollywood success, it earned the London Film Critics Circle Award for Film of the Year and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay from the British Academy of FIlm and Television Arts. Ms. Khouri has served on the Writers Guild of America’s board of directors and on the Writer’s Guild Foundation’s board of trustees, and was a member of Hollywood Women’s Political Committee, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Women’s Media Watch Project.

She has also taught filmmaking and theater arts, including a writing and directing course through the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.

Read 25th Thelma and Louise anniversary interview with Geena Davis and  Susan Sarandon  

Following the welcome from Watkins President Kline, Watkins Board of Trustees chair Samuel E. Stumpf, Jr. will present Ms. Khouri with the honorary DFA. Previous recipients of the honorary degree from Watkins include former Nashville mayor Karl Dean (2014), author/illustrator David Macaulay (2013), cultural policy expert Bill Ivey (2012), and Albert Hadley (2010), noted interior designer who studied at Watkins Institute in his youth.

After Ms. Khouri delivers the Commencement address, Vice President for Academic Affairs Joy McKenzie will  present BFA and BA candidates in art, film, fine art, graphic design, interior design and photography, and Mr. Stumpf will confer the degrees.

The Class of 2016 will be the first to graduate under the leadership of President Kline, who began as the institution’s 16th president in July 2015. In February, Watkins launched its first graduate-degree program, the Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, a two-year course of study designed on a flex schedule for working professionals (mfa.watkins.edu).

Callie Khouri, interviewed for "Makers"

Callie Khouri, interviewed for “Makers”

More about Callie Khouri:

• Multi-part interview with Makers, the largest video collection of women’s stories

• Syd Field: The Art of Visual Storytelling: Callie Khouri on Creating Character: ‘Thelma and Louise’ 

• Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1991: Callie Khouri Answers Critics of ‘Thelma and Louise’

 

Film School’s Spring Projects Screen May 2-5

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016 by Caroline Davis

The Film School presents its Spring 2016 final projects from May 2-5 in the Watkins Theater, with more than two dozen narrative and experimental projects from four production classes. The screenings are free, and Q&As with the directors will follow.  Parking is free in the campus lot.

Watkins Spring 2016 Student Screenings

Monday, May 2, starting at 7 p.m. = Production One, with 11 films

P-1 Production 1 Screenings

Download the .pptx of Production 1 Spring 2016 winners

Tuesday, May 3starting at 6:15 p.m. = Production Two, with 6 films

P-2 Production 2 Screenings

Download the .pptx of Production 2 Spring 2016 winners

Wednesday, May 4starting at 7 p.m. = Production Three, with 5 films

P-3 Production 3 Screenings

Thursday, May 5, from 12:45 to 4:15 p.m. = Senior Presentations from 9 students

SeniorPresentations Sp16 Flyer

Screenings begin at 7 p.m.

 

 

Watkins “Best Of” Showcase Screens Seven April 16 at Nashville Film Festival

Posted on: April 10th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

In conjunction with the 46th annual Nashville Film Festival, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will present a free screening of the past year’s most outstanding productions on Saturday, April 16, beginning at 4 p.m. at Regal Cinemas, Green Hills Stadium 16.

“The Watkins Student Film Showcase” will offer a lineup of short narratives (not in NaFF competition) selected by Film School faculty from all completed films in each of the four production classes from the 2015 spring and fall semesters.

There is no admission charge, but reservations are strongly encouraged because seating is limited: email name and contact information to reservations@watkins.edu (limit 2 tickets per person)

The films, in screening order, are:

  • Van Gogh’s Left Ear, directed by Emma Holyfield
  • Alice, directed by Robin Summer
  • Moscow Station, directed by Alexander Mattingly
  • Lunch Letters, directed by Micah Atkinson
  • Pillow Talk, directed by Jason Harper
  • Willfully Ignorant, Dangerously Stupid, directed by S.T. Davis
  • Aspies, directed by Travis Slagle

This is the third consecutive year that Watkins has partnered with NaFF on this showcase.

Click to enlarge poster

Click to enlarge poster

Now in its 46th year, the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) runs April 14–23 at the Regal Green Hills Cinema. Visit nashvillefilmfestival.org for the 200-film schedule of narrative and documentary shorts and features, world premieres and guest artists.

About the Program

The Film School at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is distinguished by a film curriculum that explores the artistic, technical and business aspects of independent filmmaking. With a focus on dramatic narrative film, the Film School helps students find their personal voice and style in order to incorporate these elements into their narrative work. All film students take film courses their first year of study and begin production within their second year, depending on their program of study.

Production courses are small, allowing for faculty mentoring and advising and close collaboration with colleagues.

 still from "Lunch Letters"

still from Micah Atkinson’s “Lunch Letters”

The Film School offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Film, with classes in producing, directing, screenwriting, cinematography and editing. In addition to the film curriculum, undergraduate students are required to complete a Visual Arts Core of studies and a General Education Core, designed to create a program for a well-rounded filmmaker and visual artist.

In Fall 2016, Watkins launches a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film Production. The college’s first graduate program is a two-year course of study designed on a “flex” schedule, and applications are now being accepted via microsite MFA.Watkins.edu.

Watkins’ Film Production MFA offers an immersive, collaborative experience in narrative and non-narrative storytelling, with training in producing, directing, cinematography, screenwriting and editing, and emphasis on professional practice. Core courses will be held on evenings and weekends, allowing working professionals to enroll while continuing in their jobs. Additional electives will be offered during weekday daytime hours and summer opportunities are planned for students to complete courses, including independent study, internships and an independent feature/series project.

Nashville FIlm Festival logoAbout the Nashville Film Festival

Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), April 14–23, 2016, presented by Nissan, brings the world to Nashville in an extended 10-day celebration of film. NaFF’s hub is Regal Green Hills Cinemas with 200 competition films, educational presentations and parties.  NaFF is a public festival attended by filmmakers and industry insiders and an Academy Award Qualifying Event for short films.  In addition to Nissan, NaFF is sponsored by Comcast/Xfinity, Regal Entertainment Group, Southwest Airlines, Tennessee Arts Commission and Metro Arts of Nashville. The Festival annually garners notice from the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal online, MovieMaker Magazine, Film Festival Today, IndieWire, Variety, Billboard, New York and Script Magazine.

Watkins and Kiwa Digital Partner To Bring Industry Innovator VoiceQ Into Film School Program

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film has added VoiceQ, the most advanced ADR and dubbing cueing system in the world, to its film curriculum, making it the first school in the country to use this innovative post-production software in a classroom setting.

Developed by New Zealand-based Kiwa Digital Ltd, VoiceQ speeds up the ADR (additional dialogue recorded) and replacement process in the post-production stage of film and television production. Not every location where a film is shot is sound friendly, and re-recording dialogue and dubbing can be an expensive and tedious process. As the most advanced of the rythmo band software options available on the international market, VoiceQ is credited as halving preparation, recording and editing time over traditional options.

“There isn’t a more intuitive and powerful dialogue looping software available. It’s a major upgrade for our campus facility, and will allow our students to utilize the same professional tools they will find in the industry,” said Watkins adjunct Scott Hallgren, who teaches the Film School’s sound classes. “Watkins filmmakers can now have the same experiences as directors and sound editors in working with actors in post-production situations.”

“Kiwa shares Watkins’ vision that the future of the industry is wide open, and their expertise in preparing young filmmakers makes them an ideal partner,” said Allan Schollnick, vice president, North America business development for Kiwa Digital.

Students and area professionals from Women in Film & Television enjoyed using VoiceQ at a recent workshop

Women in Film & Television

The VoiceQ software will be part of Watkins’ introductory and post-production sound classes, and be used to enhance and bring value to the many student films made each semester. Additionally, it has been featured in a recent professional sound seminar at the school, and will be introduced to high school students from the Governor’s School of the Arts this summer.

The implementation of this advanced post-production system follows another recent Watkins milestone: the announcement of Watkins’ first graduate film program, the Masters of Fine Art in Film Production, now accepting applications for Fall 2016.

“We are committed to our students being well versed in the innovations from leading edge companies and the techniques being employed in the film industry,” said Richard Gershman, chair of the Film School. “Watkins is very appreciative that Kiwa Digital is providing our students another professional-level experience through the VoiceQ software.”

About VoiceQ: An ADR and Dubbing Re-evolution

Developed by Kiwa Digital Ltd, VoiceQ software speeds up the dialogue creation and replacement process in the post-production stage of film and television production. The most advanced of the rythmo band software options on the international market, it is credited as halving preparation, recording and editing time over traditional options. The software is disruptive innovation, described by industry commentator Patrick Long Taylor as “breathing new life into an old process from the early days of sound… pulling the rythmo band into the digital age.” VoiceQ is now licensed by market leaders in USA, Brazil, South Africa and Europe, and supported by leading media companies and a network of global resellers. More info at voiceq.com.

About Watkins
With a 130-year history in the visual arts, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville is a four-year baccalaureate college offering BFA degrees in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a BA in Art, and an MFA in Film Production (launching Fall 2016). Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
(SACSCOC); the MFA in Film Production is pending SACSCOC approval.Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

From its establishment of the Film School more than 20 years ago – bringing the first BFA in Film program in the state – Watkins has been recognized as a leader in educating and training filmmakers while preparing them for a number of opportunities for professional employment. Students at the college enjoy extensive, dedicated production facilities, with sound stages, digital editing labs, post-production audio/music studios, mix theater, color correction suite, writing lab, production office, and professional movie theater, plus a media center of state-of-the-art equipment including cameras, lighting, grip, and sound gear for students to use on campus or on location.

The Film programs at Watkins offer students an opportunity to grow and expand their skills, increase their knowledge, develop their aesthetic, and contribute to a very competitive and constantly evolving film industry. Watkins alumni credits include television (“Nashville,” “Dexter,” “Sesame Street,” “Walking Dead”), film (American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, The Amazing Spider Man), music videos (Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift), studios and networks (Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Discovery, A&E, Participant Media) and a variety of high-profile companies and franchises (Big Machine Label Group, Participant Media, TMZ, CAA, Tennessee Titans.)

TV Director Bethany Rooney Conducts Master Class at Film School on February 24

Posted on: February 22nd, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Bethany Rooney, who has directed more than 200 episodes of prime-time television during her lengthy career, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Wednesday, February 24. A recent episode she directed of the CBS stalwart Criminal Minds will be screened at 6 p.m., followed by a Q & A session.

Ms. Rooney is in town to direct an episode of the ABC-TV series Nashville; she previously spoke at the Film School in November 2013, when shooting a second-season episode of the show. Richard Gershman, chair of The Film School at Watkins, will facilitate the master class-session in the Watkins Theater, discussing the roles and responsibilities of a television director and her involvement with some of entertainment’s most iconic shows.

The event is free and the public is invited

Bethany Rooney redMs. Rooney’s three-decades Hollywood career has defied the odds of Hollywood: In a business where less than fifteen percent of directors are women, she has been at the helm of more than 200 hours of single-camera, narrative, prime-time television. A partial list of her series credits includes Criminal Minds, Scandal, NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, 90210, Rizzoli & Isles, Castle, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and Pretty Little Liars.

“If you have had a favorite TV drama in the last 20 years, there’s a good chance Bethany Rooney has worked on it,” said Professor Gershman, a fellow DGA member who met her in Los Angeles early in their careers. “Her experience rivals any television director working in this field. For perspective, 200 hours is enough episodes to fill about eight seasons of an episodic show.”

Bethany Rooney began her directing career on the 1980’s iconic television show, St. Elsewhere, where she had served as associate producer. Additional directing credits include the series Desperate Housewives, Arrow, Ally McBeal, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, In Plain Sight, Boston Public, Weeds, Parenthood, One Tree Hill, Dr. Quinn and Drop Dead Diva, and eight television movies (with three Danielle Steel adaptations for NBC).

BethanyRooney DirectorsTellStory cover WwebRegarded as an actor’s director, Ms. Rooney has guided the performances of stars such as Denzel Washington, Hilary Swank, Mary Tyler Moore, Angela Bassett, George Clooney, Alfre Woodard, Felicity Huffman, Sally Field and Robert Downey Jr.

Ms. Rooney is also an author; with Mary Lou Belli, she wrote the insider’s look Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing (Focal Press, 2011), a practical guide utilized in directing classes on many college campuses.

Ms. Rooney holds a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Based in Los Angeles, she has taught directing at UCLA Extension and numerous acting workshops in the LA area, most recently through Steppenwolf Theatre West. She also leads the Warner Bros. Directing Workshop as well as seminars in SAG/AFTRA’s young professionals program.

She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served on several committees for the Directors Guild of America.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in Metro Center; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, Certificates in Film and Interior Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, and continues to shape and influence the cultural horizon and economy of our community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults.

FILM Julian's Set-0145 WwebThe Film School at Watkins is distinguished by a film curriculum that explores the artistic, technical and business aspects of independent filmmaking. With a focus on dramatic narrative film, the Film School helps students find their personal voice and style in order to incorporate these elements into their narrative work. Production courses are small, allowing for faculty mentoring and advising and close collaboration with colleagues. Watkins offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Film with concentration in Producing, Directing, Screenwriting, Cinematography and Editing, and a Certificate in Film for those who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree.

Watkins alumni credits include television (“Nashville,” “Dexter,” “Sesame Street,” “Walking Dead”), film (American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, The Amazing Spider Man), music videos (Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift), studios and networks (Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Discovery, A&E, Participant Media) and a variety of high-profile companies and franchises (Big Machine Label Group, Participant Media, TMZ, CAA, Tennessee Titans.)

Watkins is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); the MFA in Film Production is pending SACSCOC approval.

 

Watkins Flexes Film Expertise by Launching MFA Program

Posted on: February 15th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is expanding its degree offerings by launching a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, it was announced by Dr. J. Kline, president of Watkins. The school’s first graduate program, which is a two-year course of study, will begin in the Fall 2016 semester and applications are now being accepted via microsite mfa.watkins.edu.

Designed on a “flex” schedule, the Film Production MFA offers an immersive, collaborative experience in narrative and non-narrative storytelling, with training in producing, directing, cinematography, screenwriting, and editing, and emphasis on professional practice. Core courses will be held on evenings and weekends, allowing working professionals to enroll while continuing in their jobs.

FILM Preview Day 2016 soundstage crew 4 WwebAdditional electives will be offered during weekday daytime hours and summer opportunities are planned for students to complete courses, including independent study, internships and an independent feature/series project. The Film School enjoys a long-standing association with the Nashville Film Festival, and MFA thesis screenplays or films will be entered or showcased at the NaFF.

“As a cultural and artistic center of Nashville for well over a century, Watkins is more than excited to launch this new initiative,” said President Kline. “Our master’s program in film production not only immediately addresses the need for practical, professional training in an industry that is simply exploding, but, more than that, speaks to the college’s ever growing role in the life of our creative community. With our beautiful production facilities and first-class faculty already in place, we are ready to go!”

Richard Gershman, associate professor and chair of the Film School, will direct the MFA program and lead the distinguished full-time and adjunct faculty (whose professional credentials include DGA, WGA, ASC, ACE and SAG-AFTRA memberships).

FILM Katie's Set 1-0622 WwebFrom its establishment of the Film School more than 20 years ago – bringing the first BFA in Film program in the region – Watkins has been recognized as a leader in educating and training filmmakers while preparing them for a number of opportunities for professional employment. Students at the college enjoy extensive, dedicated production facilities, with sound stages, digital editing labs, post-production audio/music studios, mix theater, color correction suite, writing lab, production office, and professional movie theater, plus a media center of state-of-the-art equipment including cameras, lighting, grip, and sound gear for students to use on campus or on location.

“Watkins is looking for students who want to engage in a thoroughly professional and rigorous program, designed to take filmmakers to the next level,” said Professor Gershman. “The need for expert visual, digital content has expanded to include almost all businesses and certainly any with a presence on the web.  We want to educate and train the next generation of filmmakers to engage an audience across multiple platforms with creative, inspired, meaningful content.”

To apply, visit MFA.Watkins.edu. More program information is available via watkins.edu/academics/film-mfa, or contact 615.277.7418 or admissions@watkins.edu. Fall 2016 semester begins on August 18.

FILM Justine Feldt w camera on video shoot WwebThe Film programs at Watkins offer students an opportunity to grow and expand their skills, increase their knowledge, develop their aesthetic, and contribute to a very competitive and constantly evolving film industry. Watkins alumni credits include television (“Nashville,” “Dexter,” “Sesame Street,” “Walking Dead”), film (American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, The Amazing Spider Man), music videos (Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift), studios and networks (Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Discovery, A&E) and a variety of high-profile companies and franchises (Big Machine Label Group, Participant Media, TMZ, CAA, Tennessee Titans.)

Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, and continues to shape and influence the cultural horizon and economy of our community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults. Watkins is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); the MFA in Film Production is pending SACSCOC approval.

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