DePaul’s School of Film Arts Gets a Foothold in Hollywood – The Hollywood Reporter
The following article was created by Hollywood reporter marketing department in collaboration with its partners from DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts.
DePaul University’s School of Film Arts has become a tale of two cities. On the one hand, the institution has always benefited from its location in the heart of Chicago – a beacon of creativity with its source of architectural landmarks, cutting-edge music, literary lions, comedic innovators and stage luminaries and of the screen. On the flip side, the school’s next branch at Sunset Las Palmas Studios will give it a firm foothold in the heart of Hollywood, where internships abound and relationships form the basis of success.
Ranked # 15 on College Factual’s most recent survey of the nation’s major film programs, # 16 by Hollywood journalistTop 25 from last month’s annual report and listed among Varietythe World’s 50 Best in April, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts’ connections with working industry professionals and facilities – such as its permanent sound stages at Cinespace Chicago movie studios and now with personalized space and dedicated to Sunset Las Palmas – ensures its students receive the tools they need to stand out in an industry that is constantly evolving technically and aesthetically, and where demand for content is at an all-time high.
While DePaul’s students will continue to benefit from its continuing undergraduate component at LA Quarter, which operates year-round, its new Creative Producing MFA program will be 100% Hollywood-based, dramatically increasing its presence at the heart of the entertainment industry. Producer Timothy Peternel (Dog Eating Dog, Filé, Buffalo 66) will oversee the program, which spans the gamut from development, budgeting, funding and production to casting, from artistic and practical solutions on set to marketing and distribution.
For Peternel, the mission statement is to develop the next generation of producers by emphasizing diversity and finding new voices. “The aim of the program is to provide students with a wide range of production skills to succeed in several areas of the entertainment industry,” he says, “whether it is an independent producer on site or a studio manager overseeing a big budget production or working as a Hollywood manager / producer developing projects with their writers and directors.
The 6,000 square foot permanent building at Sunset Las Palmas will house classrooms, production facilities and resources, as well as community space. Since the inception of LA Quarter, undergraduates have regularly completed internships at film / television studios, production companies, and talent agencies as part of their experience. The new Creative Production program encourages two internships, one for each year.
In an age when a production credit can mean different things to different people, DePaul takes a classic approach to the discipline.
“In general, creative producers make things happen,” says Peternel. “They have an intimate understanding of the creation process, are familiar with the physical aspects of content creation as well as the business and financial aspects of the industry. Attention to detail and the ability to see the big picture are essential skills. They are the ones who allow creatives to realize their vision of a given project.
In Chicago, it is revealing that the Film School is housed in its College of Computing and Digital Media, given that technological advancements have changed the language of cinema to such an extent that almost anything is possible. In other words, those seeking a bachelor’s and master’s degree in film and television, animation, creative production, and screenwriting can take comfort in knowing that their skills will be developed within the context of the times and that creative storytelling broadens the spectrum of the need for support. does not exist in an academic vacuum.
The annual conferences held at DePaul’s downtown campus also prove that the school does not need to be located on the left or right coast to gain access to established talent from various fields. Courier 12, which takes place each fall, features a series of panel discussions focused on writing for film and television. In addition, the school’s two-day Truth event offers masterclasses on the technical, creative and ethical aspects of making documentary films. While Frame-by-Frame is a one-day conference for animators by animators who work in a variety of platforms, including theater, television and games, whether the approach is experimental or commercial, or whether the medium is stop motion, hand drawn, computer generated or 3D.
Featured speakers included award-winning scribe Lena Waithe (Queen & Slim, Master of None), which titled the latest edition of C12; Longtime Chicago resident and revered documentary filmmaker Steve James (Dreams of hoops, city so real), of which Kartemquin Films has been a staple in Windy City since 1966; writer-director-producer-actor Bo Burnham, whose Eigth year earned him both WGA and DGA Awards, and including Inside recently earned him no less than six Emmy nominations; Sean Baker, the writer-director behind Mandarin and The Florida project, and of which the last, Red rocket, was unveiled at Telluride; writer-director Paul Schrader, including The card counter is making waves in Venice and is currently being released; and Mary Coleman, head of creative development at Pixar, among others.
One of the school’s most unique business cards is its association with Second City, the Chicago improv comedy troupe and a training ground for a who’s who of comedy legends that includes Saturday Night Live founding members John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Dan Ackroyd, as well as Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. DePaul not only teaches courses at the venerable institution, but is the only film school in the country to award MFAs for making comedy films.
DePaul’s faculty is largely made up of working professionals, but they have managed to bring their considerable experience to other renowned film institutions. For example, writer / instructor Scott Meyers (K-9, which spawned three sequels) received the Outstanding Instructor Award for the UCLA Extension Writers Program in 2005; while writer / director / producer Brad Riddell (Last days, the children of others) taught at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts for seven years before accepting a position at DePaul. Daniel Klein, a DePaul faculty member in Los Angeles, was recently named the Sundance Institute Intensive Writers Fellow for 2021.
These mentors turned their experience into a source of inspiration for their students. Alexis Auditore, alumnus of DePaul, head of physical assets and physical production at Marvel Studios, said her favorite course was screenwriting, taught by Gary Novak, one of the founding members of the film program at Marvel Studios. ‘university. “I was able to turn years of random writing into something with structure,” she said. THR for its 2021 annual film school survey.
And 2007 graduate, Emmy-winning editor Art O’Leary (The deadliest capture), says he enjoyed DePaul’s overall vibe. “Everyone was friendly, the teachers seemed really engaged and I loved all the different clubs and activities you could join.”
And in the spirit of location is everything, O’Leary added from his experience at the School of Cinematic Arts on the DePaul’s Loop campus, next to the city’s financial district and the Art Institute of Chicago: ” It’s in the middle of town and you are part of Chicago’s larger community. I would just look at the horizon line and say [to myself], ‘I can’t believe I live here.’ ”
Whether studying in Chicago or Los Angeles, aspiring filmmakers can take comfort in the fact that their skills – far from the exclusive domain of an elite group of insiders with cozy connections – are more in demand. than ever. But a certain level of drive and courage is required.
“I know it sounds cliché, but there’s never been a better time to be a designer,” says Peternel. “There are so many distribution channels hungry for content. At the same time, creative tools have become easier to use. However, what is constant throughout all of this is the creative vision. You really need to know where you want your project to take and to be able to stay the course throughout all the external contributions that are thrown at you. This is not to downplay the importance of collaboration, but rather to emphasize how important it is to maintain the same level of passion throughout the project that you had at the beginning.