Patrick C. Clinton, Ph. D. MFA, MA

Digital Filmmaking & Video Production

Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Instructor
The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Patrick C. Clinton

If you're consistently growing as an artist and doing what you love, you're doing it right. Patrick C. Clinton, Ph. D. MFA, MA , Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Instructor , The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design

Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I discovered my passion for the creative arts rather late in life. I was more of a film scholar and critic before I began making my own films. When my father died in 2006, I was caught completely off guard. It made me question everything and reevaluate my goals. I wanted to create rather than simply analyze, to build rather than observe. Soon, I was making short web videos. I found the creative process therapeutic. And I found my calling.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

To help introduce students to the realities of the film industry, I share details from my own projects—scripts, footage, budgets, schedules, call sheets, audition tapes, anything that might relate to a lesson or assignment. I‘ve even brought students to my film sets. Experiencing the process moves them from theory to practice. Students share in both my successes and my failures—the latter is particularly helpful. I sometimes have industry professionals give guest lectures. They’re great networking opportunities, and give students another perspective. I believe they’re more likely to learn, remember, and succeed if coursework is relevant to their own future success.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

The production phase of Senior Thesis Films is the culmination of everything they’ve learned, and I oversee every aspect of the process. I spend time on their sets observing, offering advice, nudging, encouraging, and supporting them. And after each day of shooting, I watch the footage with them, pointing out strengths and weaknesses, what works and what doesn’t. Together, we work out the next phase. I’m not simply their teacher, and they’re not simply students. They’re filmmakers in every sense of the word, and I’m a mentor, collaborator, and safety net. It’s their film, their work, their art. It’s their first solo flight, and mostly I sit back and watch them soar. Once they’re working the real world, I’ll be a trusted colleague, another member of their growing network of industry professionals.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Film is a team sport. No matter how talented you are, you can’t do everything. You need a team who’ll share in both the successes and the failures. Any film is only as good as the weakest member of the team. As a filmmaker, you have to work together, lift each other up, and push beyond your individual limitations. That’s how you become great.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Failure is a necessary steppingstone to success. Set realistic, short-term goals, and always give a hundred percent. If you’re consistently growing as an artist and doing what you love, you’re doing it right.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Together we’re a team, and the whole world is a blank canvas to be filled with our creativity.