When I look back at my time here at LMU, I’m so thankful for the friends I’ve made and the great community that exists here. The university really does educate “the whole person” because I’ve found my voice as a filmmaker, and in the process I’ve become a better version of myself. I take more risks and the University provides so many opportunities to discover and learn new things. There are so many lectures and workshops that take place throughout the year in all the departments. And also professors, even those outside the film school, can offer great advice.
During my time here I’ve interviewed about 40 people inside and outside of film school, from faculty to filmmakers to air pilots. Though every story and career is unique, I’ve found some common threads and great advice that I’d like to share with you:
Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a position where you’ll be doing things you don’t know how to do. That’s okay. Don’t worry. The person before you most likely didn’t know what they were doing, but eventually they figured it out and you will, too. Life, especially in this industry, is unpredictable so don’t waste time worrying because eventually you’ll get to where you need to be.
This is connected to the first tip. Remember, you are not alone. You’ll be surprised who is willing to help you. You just have to speak up. Tap into your inner five-year-old self and be curious. Even after you leave school, you should never stop learning. Growth comes from asking thoughtful questions and embracing what you don’t know.
You can’t afford to do things like everyone else. When you go above and beyond and have skills that no one else has, it’ll be harder for people to fire you. Be yourself and find ways to provide real value.
On your way to the top, don’t believe that you have to go against your values or bring other people down to become successful. We are all trying to make it. Let’s help each other make the journey an enjoyable one.
Congratulations to recent alumnus and current Incubator Lab Fellow Daniel Hogan (SCWR – M.F.A. ’15), who was named to this year’s The Black List TV Writers Staffing Book! The Black List is a prestigious database of the best un-produced screenplays compiled each year and shared among the industry’s top producers and executives. We couldn’t be more proud!
View The Black List’s 2016 TV Writers Staffing Book.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, LMU is presenting Grrrls on Film, a free festival featuring films and music from groundbreaking female artists on March 18, 19 and 20. The event borrows its name from the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, which fused the Do-It-Yourself credo of punk with Third Wave Feminism’s call for self-determination. Loglines spoke to one of the masterminds behind the festival, SFTV’s own Clinical Assistant Professor Sharon Mooney.
You and Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media Evelyn McDonnell — with the help of a few other LMU professors and community members — are producing the upcoming Grrrls on Film festival. How did you two come together on this? Last spring I demo-ed an editing program in one of Evelyn’s journalism classes. As Evelyn and I started talking more, we realized we shared a common interest in punk film and music. We started with a smaller event, but it grew organically, especially as we started discussing it with others across the University. It has been really inspiring to see so many departments and classes helping us put together and execute this festival.
The festival will feature panels, discussions with filmmakers, and screenings of seminal films such as Decline of Western Civilization. How did you choose the films for this? Evelyn and I wrote up a huge list of films and directors whose work we wanted to show, then narrowed it down to what was actually doable. We wanted to show a combination of classics, new films and some rare titles. We also wanted a range of genres — narrative, documentary, animation and experimental. There is one hybrid film/performance that we’re really looking forward to: In Search of Margo-go. This was a lost film starring the filmmaker Jill Reiter, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Iraya Robles. The feature film was never made, so the performance around the film is a live reading of the rest of the script. Although this has been performed before, each live reading of it has a different cast. We would like to thank the College of Fine Arts for supporting this event.
You speak about how punk and DIY influenced you as a young woman and filmmaker. What do you hope that students and young artists will take away from the festival? Through this community, I discovered my own voice and perspective, which are both important for any filmmaker or artist to create meaningful work. As far as passing along that mindset to students and young artists, I want everyone to develop their own unique voices, and I want them to know there is support to do so.
What are you most looking forward to during the festival? Born in Flames and Golden Chain is a block I’m really looking forward to. I have a lot of love for Born in Flames. I can’t say it was a foundational film for me as a young person — I first saw it much later — but it was one of those films that made me revisit the feminist ideas that shaped me early on. The film is based on a short story written by a very influential person in my life, Ed Bowes. He was one of the people who reviewed and accepted my application to graduate school, and therefore changed the trajectory of my life. Lizzie Borden wrote the screenplay based on his story. I am so excited to meet her, as she is coming to speak about her film. I paired this with Golden Chain, an animated short film set in a Nigerian space station in the distant future. This really beautiful film is inspired by the Yoruba creation story. The films explore similar ideas about creating a new world, regardless of the unknown.
I don’t get to go see music too much anymore, so I’m really excited about Sunday’s live event. Thanks to the DJ’s and General Manager at KXLU for organizing it. Plus, we’ll have a pop up vintage shop, the Hannon library is running zine making table, food trucks – the entire festival is something Evelyn and I are very proud of.
What are you currently working on? I just finished an editorial video for the Washington Post where I got to spend the Super Bowl with one of my favorite comedians – that was a lot of fun. I’m editing a short film called Helpless, about a son coming to terms with his mother’s illness, and I’m hoping to find some time to edit a video art piece I shot last summer. I’m also raising my most amazing little boy, so most of my time is dedicated to him. He’ll be at the live show Sunday.
For a full-line up and to RSVP click here.
In memory of Khmer Rouge survivor and Academy Award-winning actor Haing S. Ngor’s death 20 years ago today, VICE interviewed LMU Distinguished Professor in Film Arthur Dong about his recent documentary about Ngor’s incredible life and legacy, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor.
“Throughout my body of my work, I have always looked at culture and social justice issues, but it’s always told through the lens of human experience and how these larger issues are framed through a person’s life. And Dr. Ngor’s life was so exhilarating,” Dong told VICE.
Read the full interview here.
Watch a trailer of Dong’s documentary below.