Paul Winskell

Digital Filmmaking & Video Production

Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Instructor
The Art Institute of Vancouver

Paul Winskell

Be passionate about your career, and you'll never look at it as work. Paul Winskell , Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Instructor , The Art Institute of Vancouver

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

One of my first days in television production had me interviewing Frank Herbert at a science fiction convention. It was amazing to have that kind of access to the award-winning author of “Dune.” This was only the beginning of many interviews I would conduct with celebrities—from movie stars to sports personalities, to rock stars and political icons. To have control of a story, from the questions asked to the final edit...what was even more exciting for me was share these experiences with an audience.

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

Textbook examples just aren’t enough. There’s nothing quite like firsthand experience on a production to capture students’ attention. As I share some new material with them, I weave a personal story into the lecture. So the textbook material comes to life in a real way.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? And how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

Nine weeks into the film program, I assign what I call the “Four-Hour Film Festival.” Students are thrown into the deep end of the pool. They’re given a story idea and an object that must be incorporated into their film. But here’s the hook—they must shoot their film using a technique called in-camera editing. They use all the technical skills they’ve learned to date and add a new editing technique that’s foreign to them—all while trying to shoot their film in four hours.

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

The film business is all about collaboration. Students often work across programs to complete a film project. Interior designers create sets; fashion designers sew costumes; VFX students help with special effects and green-screen shoots; audio students capture live sound and compose musical scores; and event planners create the red carpet event for the film’s premiere. This exposes students in many varied disciplines to the real world of production.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Passion makes it easier to work long hours, overcome roadblocks, and motivate your team to achieve greatness. Be passionate about your career, and you’ll never look at it as work.

Anything else you’d like to share?

To quote Frank Herbert, the very first person I ever interviewed: “The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.” If you have the passion to work hard and in the process learn something, you’ll achieve your goals and dreams.