Digital Filmmaking & Video Production
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago
The energy, creativity, and passion that students bring to class keeps things feeling fresh and exciting. Scott Perry , Instructor , The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago
I have always loved watching movies. But during my freshman year of college, I took an Anthropology class called "Culture Through Film," which gave me a new appreciation for the power of cinema. The way that film can inform, amuse, infuriate and inspire viewers drove me to enter the Communications/Film program. It’s a decision I've never regretted.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
One of the biggest realities of this profession is the importance of deadlines. At times, things will go wrong during production. But whatever role you're playing in the process, you need to find a solution that allows you to still meet the deadline. Another thing that I try to convey from the industry is the importance of meeting expectations. We'll all have different opinions or visions of how a project should look and sound, but being able to hear and understand the needs of your client or boss, and then meet those needs, is critical.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
While Senior Project or the Documentary class may be the most challenging of my classes, I think the final project for Studio Production remains one of my favorite assignments. In other classes, scenes can be re-shot, re-edited, or "fixed in post." However, this assignment requires students to fully conceive, plan and execute a complete live-to-tape production on a set time and date. To do this effectively, they need to cast actors, run rehearsals, design the set, acquire props and account for myriad other details in order to have a successful final production.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
On production days, class members must work cohesively to produce the best possible piece. While challenging, this project is always exciting during its production and extremely satisfying when successfully completed.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
Collaboration is critical to a student's success in the Digital Filmmaking & Video Production programs. No matter how talented you are, film production is truly a team endeavor. You will always rely on the talents, professionalism, and collaboration of others. From writing, to directing, to cinematography, to sound, editing, and so on, each step of the process will depend on every member of your team performing to the best of their abilities.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
One of the most important pieces of advice I could offer would be to always be open minded to the ideas of others. Finding dedicated people to collaborate with from other majors, such as Audio Production or Animation, will help you create the best films possible. Perhaps, more importantly, it will also help you prepare for the rest of your career, where you will undoubtedly apply these skills.
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
It's easy to get wrapped up in our own beliefs and ideas—particularly in a creative endeavor like filmmaking. However, while it's not always easy to accept and incorporate the ideas of others, it almost always leads to a better final product.
I've taught classes from the first Survey of Film class to Senior Project and Portfolio and always love seeing the progress a student makes from their first year through graduation. The energy, creativity, and passion that students bring to class keeps things feeling fresh and exciting.