Digital Filmmaking & Video Production
You have to know the rules before you can break them. Brett Mauser , Adjunct Faculty , The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
I had always enjoyed entertaining friends and family with coin/card slight-of-hand magic. But one weekend, a family friend left their old VHS Camcorder at our house. I picked it up and for the next week made silly spoofs and satires with my friends. Using my knowledge of illusion and magic, I created entertaining short films for fun and even some for high school classes. If it weren’t for video, I’d never have passed my English class! From then on, I was hooked!
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
I use real-world experiences and tricks I have learned and relate those assets to the current lesson or student questions. Providing real stories and real experience in the classroom personalizes the lessons and provides the students a confidence and a trust, knowing that my knowledge comes from experience, not just a book. I am able to answer difficult questions when students press for deeper answers as I’ve been on sets and had to solve those issues and problems.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
The midterm and final projects I assign most exemplify my teaching approach. Through lessons and lectures, I provide them with fundamentals and basics in video and film production. Over the course of their assignments, they learn hands-on how to complete a project and can come to me with questions when they have concerns or hit a roadblock. They are often excited to present their projects and see what their fellow students have to say about the film. I allow them to critique their classmate’s films, which instills confidence and the ability to take criticism.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
It’s important for students to learn to collaborate and work with one another to achieve a higher goal. They learn communication and community skills. When students form other programs collaborate, they are able to see another side of their industry. Much like a director must learn acting, a Digital Filmmaking & Video Production student should learn a bit of photography and computer animation, among other talents. The more a student is armed with, the more employable they are in the real world.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
You have to know the rules before you can break them. Artists are very free spirited and independent. They want to try something new and break the mold. Oftentimes, students will want to immediately break the rules of writing, filmmaking, or the like. I express how important it is to learn what the right way to do things is, before delving into unknown territory. Allowing them to figure out the traditional way gives motivation to their ideas and concepts later down the road when they try to be different and unique.