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The Tally Ho

Thursday, March 10, 2005

MBA or Cinema?

Elizabeth Van Ness asks this questions in her piece Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New M.B.A.?
RICK HERBST, now attending Yale Law School, may yet turn out to be the current decade's archetypal film major. Twenty-three years old, he graduated last year from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied filmmaking with no intention of becoming a filmmaker. Rather, he saw his major as a way to learn about power structures and how individuals influence each other.

"People endowed with social power and prestige are able to use film and media images to reinforce their power - we need to look to film to grant power to those who are marginalized or currently not represented," said Mr. Herbst, who envisions a future in the public policy arena. The communal nature of film, he said, has a distinct power to affect large groups, and he expects to use his cinematic skills to do exactly that.

At a time when street gangs warn informers with DVD productions about the fate of "snitches" and both terrorists and their adversaries routinely communicate in elaborately staged videos, it is not altogether surprising that film school - promoted as a shot at an entertainment industry job - is beginning to attract those who believe that cinema isn't so much a profession as the professional language of the future...

...In fact, even some who first enrolled in U.S.C.'s film school to take advantage of its widely acknowledged position as a prime portal to Hollywood have begun to view their cinematic skills as a new form of literacy. One such is David Hendrie, who came to U.S.C. in 1996 after a stint in the military intending to become a filmmaker, but - even after having had the producer/director Robert Zemeckis as a mentor - found himself drawn to the school's Institute for Creative Technologies, where he creates military training applications in a variety of virtual reality, gaming and filmic formats. One film he developed was privately screened for the directors John Milius and Steven Spielberg, who wanted to understand the military's vision of the future.

"That was like a film student's dream," said Mr. Hendrie, who nonetheless believes he has already outgrown anything he was likely to accomplish on the studio circuit. "I found myself increasingly demoralized by my experiences trying to pitch myself as a director for films like 'Dude, Where's My Car?' " Mr. Hendrie said. "What I'm doing here at I.C.T. speaks to the other interests I've always had, and in the end excited my passion more."

I haven't blogged much recently, and this probably will continue as Monday between day job and outside for interest only job I worked 15 hours. But I found this article interesting, especially the bit about studying power. It just made the think about how many undergraduate and graduate programs study power from different perspectives, from cultural studies to org physc to international and transcultural programs... blah, blah. But a refreshing article in a time when we seem to be applying a trade school mentality to higher education (yes, a debatable comment I'm too busy to respond to). In any case this blog may be on its way out. Something will probably replace it, but it will be different - just not before summer. Other than that, the idea of creating a program or taking one over with friends and colleagues at a university in Northern California is a penultimate plan. NoCal is what will get me to leave the Northeast one day.

Has anyone else noticed a shift in the mass media coverage of late regarding Iraq? Now Iraq is Bush's triumphant policy decision and according to even the New York Times editorial page, partly responsible for changes in Lebanon, etc. While my housemate who travels through Beirut on a regular basis points out the desires of the previous ten years of Lebanese, the mixed feeling of military involvement due to the stabilization after the civil war - and other socio/political happenings - mostly the dialog has been "the puppet government of Syria" vs. "the Syrian sympathizing government" - aka Fox style. Back to my point, it seems that the talking points right now portrays Bush as a success in the Middle East and a probable failure on Social Security... which btw, the head of the GAO said today that private/personal accounts will weaken it unless benefit cuts were enacted. Therefore, to save it you have to kill it. This seems to be a common idea.

I have the new Stars record, Set Yourself on Fire, and its good. I can't decide if it is as good as the Nightsongs, but I really like it. Recently I have also enjoyed Aracade Fire, Bright Eyes, and the new Sam Prekop... I could go on, but won't.


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