News from 2008
Play-Tester Number One
Tracy Fullerton Installed As EA Endowed Professor
December 16, 2008
It was a typical night at the Interactive Media Division workspace: tiny men with umbrellas stopped time, white gardens were splattered with black paint, and samurais ventured through the middle kingdom. The special part of the evening came as Associate Professor and Director of the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab Tracy Fullerton was named the holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.
CU: Eric Nazarian
USC Filmmaker Wins Nicholls Fellowship
December 10, 2008
Try to imagine 5,200 bound screenplays: if you figure about an inch per screenplay, that’s a stack of brass-brad-bound dreams about 433 feet high. Now imagine being one of the five screenwriters in that 36-story pile to be recognized as the best of the bunch. If you’re having a problem picturing it, Eric Nazarian, B.A. Production ’99, winner of the prestigious 2008 Nicholls Fellowship for his screenplay Giants, can help.
Nina Foch Obituary
Hollywood Icon, SCA Lecturer, Mentor
December 8, 2008
Nina Foch, a widely respected lecturer at USC for the last 40 years and a veteran actress, whose credits stretch back to the golden age of Hollywood film noir, passed away on Friday December 5. She was 84.
Tracy Fullerton Named EA Endowed Chair
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello to Keynote Installation Event
December 5, 2008
Associate Professor and Director of the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab Tracy Fullerton will be named the holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Faculty Chair at a formal ceremony featuring a keynote address by John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts Inc.
SCA Strikes Back
Alien Robots Descend On The New SCA Complex
November 21, 2008
Though workers are still putting the final touches on the new School of Cinematic Arts Complex, the place is already being targeted by invading hordes of massive robots—virtually speaking, that is—as Visiting Associate Professor Eric Hanson gears up for a new live-action/visual effects class next spring.
Online Time Important For Teen Development Finds USC/Berkeley MacArthur Study
November 20, 2008
Results from the most extensive U.S. study on teens and their use of digital media show that America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online—often in ways adults do not understand or value.
CU: Jason Shuman
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes…
November 18, 2008
Jason Shuman, B.A. Production ’96, had a plan after graduation from the USC School of Cinematic Arts: to goof around for a couple of months. But a shared vice led to a slight change in that plan.
HPA Honors Daley
Hollywood Post Alliance Sites Work on Education & Technology
November 18, 2008
During a packed-house gala at the Skirball Cultural Center, the Hollywood Post Alliance [HPA] conferred the inaugural Charles S. Swartz Award on Dean Elizabeth M. Daley in recognition of her extensive work in cinematic education and support of emergent technology.
Pecha Kuchas Rip Across The Screen At IML Event
November 10, 2008
For many people, PowerPoint has become the bane of their existence, with long, often tedious, presentations causing their eyes to glaze over. But as students and faculty learned during a recent Institute for Multimedia Literacy [IML] event, rapid-fire pecha kucha slide shows can be eye-opening indeed.
The Lying Game
Alumnus Uses Game To Keep Candidates Honest
October 28, 2008
Jeremy Bernstein is mad. While watching TV several weeks ago, he saw a campaign ad for one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election that gave false information. Calling in favors from other designers and friends he’d worked with in the past, Bernstein whipped together Truth Invaders, which he describes as “Space Invaders meets Factcheck.org.”
Vote Film 2008
Election Screenings Spark Discussion
October 22, 2008
Hero/villain, life/death, war/peace, love/hate—every election cycle one of life’s greatest dramas plays out in the U.S. political process. In the run-up to the 2008 contest, SCA students, faculty and alumni saw that drama unfold on the big screen during the Vote Film screening series.
Weekend Fest, Major Exhibit Honor John Wayne
October 3, 2008
A century after his birth, one of the great icons of Hollywood and America was back on center stage when USC celebrated the legacy of John Wayne with a three-day film series, panel discussions and the kickoff of a four-month exhibition of the Duke’s life and times.
SCA alumnus Greg Townsend’s high-def interactive movie bridges distances
September 24, 2008
On Monday September 15, SCA treated the attendees of a networking conference at the University of California, San Diego to a cutting-edge cinematic experience — a student-made interactive HD movie entitled Alternate Endings that was streamed live from Trojan Vision over a long-distance network.
Ten Alumni Win Emmys
September 22, 2008
School of Cinematic Arts alumni cleaned up at this year's Emmy awards, with ten Trojans taking home a total of 12 statuettes. To date, USC alumni have amassed 119 victories, and 2008 marked the 33rd consecutive year that members of the Trojan Family have received the nod for television's highest acclaim.
Second Life Takes SCA to New Frontiers
September 12, 2008
For current SCA students, the four R’s have become reading, writing, arithmetic, and rendering virtual worlds. When it comes to developing this new literacy, Linden Lab’s Second Life — an internet-based platform that enables to users to interact and communicate with each other as avatars in a metaverse — has provided the school with unique opportunities for international exchange, collaboration, and experimentation.
Wounded Marines Train to Enter Film Industry
September 10, 2008
For service members returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the transition to civilian life can be both physically and emotionally daunting. To aid in this process, SCA screenwriting instructor James Egan has brought his extensive background in documentary filmmaking to the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing injured veterans with the skills and job placement assistance needed to find jobs in the entertainment industry.
SCA Celebrates Herb Farmer’s Incredible Seven Decades
September 9, 2008
In 1938, a mere nine years after the USC cinema program was founded, Herb Farmer arrived on campus and began a lifelong association that continues to this day. At an anniversary celebration held in Carson Television Center Sound Stage on September 3, Farmer's colleagues, friends and family gathered to celebrate his 70 years of ongoing service to SCA as a student, alumnus, professor and archivist.
Assisting The Assistants
SCA Launches the Assistant Training Program for Television Writers
September 9, 2008
Success in the entertainment biz has always boiled down to two things: What and whom you know. With the founding of the Assistant Training Program for Television [ATP(tv)], eight recent graduates from the SCA writing division got the inside track on how to put their knowledge to work on the front lines of the television industry.
Considered the Best by Her Colleagues
September 3, 2008
Dr. Margaret Mehring, a renowned scholastic writer, film director, and humanitarian, as well as a long-time professor in the School of Cinematic Arts, has died at 82.
Princess Grace Awards
Animation Students Receive Honors From Foundation
September 3, 2008
2008 marked the first year that the School of Cinematic Arts submitted animation students for the Princess Grace Awards, and both USC nominees won the prestigious honor. To fund their highly original thesis projects, graduate student Dave Horowitz earned a $5,000 honorarium and undergraduate Caitlin Craggs garnered a $15,000 award.
Veteran Director/Instructor Passes at 81
August 27, 2008
Former production Associate Professor John Howe, who taught with SCA from 1983-1996, passed away on August 17 of natural causes at 81.
CU: Eric Kripke
From Fight On! to Fright On!
August 26, 2008
Stop me if you've heard this one. There's this production undergrad. With a burning passion to direct. When he finishes 'SC, he knocks on every door in town armed with his student films. He gets a deal. But it's not to direct. It's to write. And write. And write again—straight into development hell. And it's the best thing that ever happened to him.
Opening Day Reception Brings Newest SCA Talent Together
August 26, 2008
Entertainment history is replete with stories of partnerships that trace their roots back to the single moment when two people’s paths crossed. And so it was on August 20, when hundreds of new undergrad and grad students came together for the first time in Queen’s Courtyard to meet the faculty and staff who will shape their educational experience, and perhaps the teammates who will be with them throughout their careers.
HPA To Honor Daley
Tribute Honors Impact On Education
August 21, 2008
The Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) has announced it will be giving the organization’s first Charles S. Swartz Award to Dean Elizabeth M. Daley this fall, in recognition of her contributions to cinematic education and the industry.
EA CEO Joins Board of Councilors
John Riccitiello To Help Guide School
August 11, 2008
John Riccitiello, chief executive officer of Electronic Arts, Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), has joined the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors. Riccitiello will play a key role in keeping the school’s artistic and academic initiatives at the cutting edge.
Alumnus Made Surf Film History
July 28, 2008
Bud Browne, USC film school alumnus and surfing movie director, died July 25 at age 96. The creator of seminal surf films such as Gun Ho!, Going Surfin’, and Cat on a Hot Foam Board, Browne was renowned for both his athletic prowess in the water and his filmmaking skills, which brought surfing to the movie-going public.
Director's Family Supports SCA Complex Construction
July 16, 2008
One of the greatest names in cinematic history is playing a major role in shaping the art form’s future with the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Foundation donating $500,000 to help fund construction of the school’s massive new educational and production complex.
USC Films Take Home Top Accolades
July 1, 2008
Students from the USC School of the Cinematic Arts were rewarded for months of late nights and hard work at the 2008 Student Academy Awards, where four Trojan films took home prizes, including two Gold Medals.
Wellness Partners Game
IMD Lands $200,000 Health Research Grant
June 11, 2008
A University of Southern California research effort co-lead by Marientina Gotsis of the Interactive Media Division has received a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to explore how interactive digital games could be designed to improve players' health behaviors and outcomes.
CU: Kevin Feige
Will Hulk SMASH Box-Office Records?
June 5, 2008
Kevin Feige, Production ’95, president of Marvel Studios, has been in the business of translating comic books to the silver screen for 10 years. With the resounding success of Iron Man, and the upcoming buzz on The Incredible Hulk, Feige and Marvel are making good on their commitment to provide the world with heroes.
Experimental Animation Screening Crosses Divisions
June 5, 2008
If you think animators only spend their days (and nights) sequestered in dark cubicles toiling by themselves, think again. As students from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts proved during the recent “2008 Experimental Animation Screening,” collaborating with counterparts in the School of Cinematic Arts and Thornton School of Music truly brought their animations to life.
Charles Gary Allison '60, '77
Publisher, Writer, Producer, Historian Passes
May 24, 2008
USC alumnus and cinema instructor Charles Gary Allison, a noted publisher, writer, producer and historian, who worked for both Democratic and Republican presidents and was an expert on the Olympics, died in Hollywood on May 13.
School of Cinematic Arts Honors Over 500 Graduates
May 22, 2008
Despite searing temperatures outside, spirits were high at the Shrine Auditorium on May 16, as the School of Cinematic Arts, with the help of industry giants Robert A. Iger and Brian T. Grazer, lauded its most recent graduating class and celebrated the next generation of entertainment artists and professionals.
Oakie Masters Series
Comic Genius James L. Brooks Inaugurates Annual Lecture Event
May 13, 2008
USC students enjoyed a wide-ranging lecture and discussion with Oscar and Emmy award-winning writer/director/producer James L. Brooks on May 2 as part of the inaugural event of the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Masters Lecture Series.
Interactive M.F.A. Projects Challenge Convention
May 13, 2008
This year’s Interactive Media Division (IMD) M.F.A. graduates challenged themselves to discover new technology mediated experiences that could keep pace with their imaginations. The result—an array of 11 projects that range from a videogame incorporating time travel to a new way to battle traffic congestion—are on display at the “Press Start” thesis show running from May 10 to 15 in the division’s atelier at 555 W. 23rd Street.
First Pitch 2008 Gives Industry Reps Inside Track On SCA Scripts
May 13, 2008
Representatives from 39 the industry’s leading agencies, management firms and production companies got first crack at the latest scripts from SCA writing students on May 5, as 48 writers showcased tales from every genre during the seventh annual First Pitch event.
Peyton Place Director Donates Archives to USC
May 7, 2008
Golden Globe nominee Walter Doniger, a creative force behind television classics like Marcus Welby, M.D., Ellery Queen and Night Gallery, has donated his personal archives of film and television memorabilia to the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
CU: Jon M. Chu
Stepping Up from SCA to The Industry
May 5, 2008
In Motion sat down with Jon M. Chu, director of "Step Up 2: The Streets" to ask him about USC, making a dance extravaganza in five weeks and the power of Miley Cyrus.
The World In 2050
IBM Research and Cinematic Arts Envision the Future
May 5, 2008
On the evening of April 30, five of IBM’s top research scientists joined with School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) students, alumni, faculty and members of the entertainment industry to brainstorm about the art of the possible—circa 2050. The reception and discussion kicked off a collaboration between SCA and IBM to inspire a new generation of film, television and interactive artists, as well as suggest creative directions for researchers.
TV Turns 10
Trojan Vision Celebrates A Decade Of Service
May 5, 2008
When it started 10 years ago, Trojan Vision was short on facilities, personnel and equipment, but long on the dream of what could be. A decade later, the dream has become reality, with the station serving the university, winning national awards and providing hands-on experience that has enabled students to launch their careers.
Alex Grasshoff '53
Alumnus Passes Away
April 29, 2008
Alex Grasshoff, who earned his bachelor's in cinema from USC in 1953 and then went on to a decades-long career directing and producing in film and television, passed away April 5 at age 79. Grasshoff died from complications arising from bypass surgery on a leg, according to his wife Madilyn Clark Grasshoff.
First Pitch 2008
Alumnus Matthew Weiner (Mad Men, The Sopranos) Hosts
April 21, 2008
The freshest film and television writing talent from USC will go one-on-one with reps from leading agencies, management firms and production companies during First Pitch, hosted on Monday, May 5 by alumnus Matthew Weiner, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley announced.
Key To Success
Music Videos Provide Creative Paths For Production M.F.A. Teams
April 1, 2008
When Heineken USA sponsored a contest last fall to create short music videos, the event turned out to have a long-term effect on the graduate students who took part, exposing them to production possibilities they might not have previously contemplated.
Industry Professionals At First Look 2.0
March 31, 2008
The School of Cinematic Arts hosted its annual student film festival, First Look 2.0, this weekend, incorporating for the first time an awards system to recognize top student films. Forty-six films debuted at the festival, which USC community members and entertainment industry professionals attended.
The Big Production
SCA Grad’s Award-Winning Film Screens At First Look 2.0
March 30, 2008
Riding a wave of success that recently garnered him second place honors at the 29th Annual College Television Awards, Preston DeFrancis ’07 screens his award–winning thesis film, THE BIG PRODUCTION at First Look 2.0.
SCA Faculty Member Heads Kenyan Film Workshops
March 26, 2008
Young people from an African shanty town making films may seem unlikely, but not to Senior Lecturer Mary Beth Fielder, who along with the Nairobi-based Hot Sun Foundation is leading a series of film workshops for forty aspiring moviemakers from Kibera, Kenya.
Rick Jewell Lands Academy Grant To Examine Classic Studio
March 25, 2008
Critical Studies Professor and Hugh M. Hefner Chair for the Study of American Film Professor Rick Jewell has been named one of two 2008 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is one of two recipients of a $25,000 grant from the Institutional Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation.
Art Against AIDS
Hench-DADA Students Help To Prevent HIV/AIDS Among Youth
March 19, 2008
Working in partnership with doctors from the Keck School of Medicine, students from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts (Hench-DADA) have put their creative powers to use by generating a series of public service announcements to fight against the incidence of HIV/AIDS in youth.
Hecho En LA
Alumni Produced MADE IN LA Doc Takes On Sweatshops
March 13, 2008
An award-winning documentary, produced by Stark alumnus Robert Bahar, about garment workers who take a stand against the retailer responsible for their low wages and sub-standard working conditions, made its SCA debut at the Taper Hall of Humanities on March 11, 2008.
Gift Funds High-Tech Production Lab
March 13, 2008
Entertainment Partners, the largest provider of production management services in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years, will provide students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts with state-of-the-art production management training thanks to a new 10-year partnership agreement and a technical and financial gift to create a teaching facility and high-tech production lab in the new Cinematic Arts complex.
Writer and Former Instructor Passes Away
March 11, 2008
Writer and former School of Cinematic Arts Writing Professor Malvin Wald, best known for co-writing the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the 1948 film "The Naked City," died March 6, 2008 in Los Angeles. He was 90.
Faculty Members Receive Grant To Promote Digital Fair Use
February 29, 2008
SCA faculty members Steve Anderson and Holly Willis have received a key grant from the from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to probe one of the digital era’s most pressing issues: fair use of protected assets in support of learning.
Robert Elswit '75
February 25, 2008
The 80th Annual Academy Awards netted School of Cinematic Arts alumnus Robert Elswit ’75 his very first Oscar on February 24 for his outstanding work on THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
AMPAS Donates $3 Million To The School of Cinematic Arts
February 22, 2008
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has donated $3 million to support the new complex construction at the USC School of Cinematic Arts marking the latest step in a relationship that began with the joint creation of the nation’s first university-based film program in 1929.
USC Alumni Win A Game Developers Choice Award
February 21, 2008
Two USC alumni won a Game Developers Choice Award for Best Downloadable Game on Wednesday, February 20 for a game that involves no shooting, no earning points and no winner.
Probing The Power Of Health-Themed Entertainment Media
February 20, 2008
From television programs like GREY'S ANATOMY and HOUSE, to films like JOHN Q and PHILADELPHIA, medical themes can make compelling entertainment.But they are also great educational opportunities, as students recently discovered in a unique joint course of the School of Cinematic Arts and The Keck School of Medicine.
Oscar-Winning Alumnus John Knoll Shares Effects Techniques
February 15, 2008
Academy Award-winning alumnus John Knoll ’84 lent his visual effects mastery and creative advice to SCA students who filled Lucas 108 to capacity on February 13 for an engaging discussion of the groundbreaking work in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
Polly Cohen '95 Makes Hollywood Power List
February 15, 2008
When Polly Cohen ’95 graduated from the Stark Producing Program, she readily admits the breadth of positions available in Hollywood were virtually unknown to her. Today, as her career with Warner Bros. has led her to the presidency of Warner Independent Pictures, The Hollywood Reporter has also recently recognized Cohen and named her among the ranks of the Power 100 of women entertainment executives.
First Look 2.0
Transforming SCA’s Premiere Festival
February 14, 2008
The hottest films to come out of the School of Cinematic Arts this year will hit the big screen during the First Look 2.0 festival, taking place at the Norris Theatre Complex from March 28 – 30. And for the first time ever in its history, the festival will present juried award winners at all of its screenings, including a Special Awards Ceremony at the Directors Guild of America on April 2.
Landmark Conference Draws Global Video Experts
February 13, 2008
Video creators, scholars, activists, policy makers, technologists and entrepreneurs gathered at USC to focus on the fate and future of visual media in the 21st century during 24/7: A DIY Video Summit—a first-of-its-kind international event held at an academic institution.
SCA Lights Up Park City Festival Scene
February 12, 2008
A touch of Southern California sunshine warmed the snowy landscape of Park City, Utah as the School of Cinematic Arts celebrated its most successful year of screenings ever at the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals.
James Bond Legacy Fuels Record-Breaking 14th Endowed Chair
February 5, 2008
The Dana and Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli Foundation has donated $2 million for a record-breaking 14th endowed chair at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The chair, with its holder of extensive producing credits yet to be selected, will fund a faculty position dedicated to teaching the business and practice of film producing.
Golden Age Gold
Movie Memories And More At The Warner Bros. Archives
February 5, 2008
How do you build a small family business into a multi-billion dollar industry giant? Bit, by bit, as researchers have discovered over the past 30 years of combing through the School of Cinematic Arts Warner Bros. Archives, whose contents offer a unique glimpse into the Golden Age of the Hollywood studio system.
Front Line Lines
Oscar-Nominated Documentary Features Writing Alumnus
February 4, 2008
Deployed to Iraq with a detachment of the Army Reserves in mid 2004, writing M.F.A. Jack Lewis, Jr., ’94 has followed a circuitous creative route that’s led to his participation in one of this year’s Academy Award-nominated documentaries OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE from first-time Oscar nominee Richard E. Robbins.
A USC Collaborative Efforts Hits Theater Screens
January 24, 2008
Four years in the making, Spirit of the Marathon, the collaborative effort of three-time Academy Award winner Mark Jonathan Harris, Telly Award winner and marathon runner Jon Dunham ‘00 and producer/marathoner Gwendolen Twist premieres tonight.
Precision Is The Hallmark Of German Pinchevsky
January 22, 2008
In the early 1960s, German Pinchevsky studied the art of cinematography at the Moscow Film School, the oldest institute of its kind in the world. Five decades later, his unique craftsmanship and ingenuity is a key factor to ensure students at the oldest American cinema program keep on rolling.
Arthur Swerdloff '50
Alumnus Passes Away
January 15, 2008
Documentary filmmaker and USC alumnus Arthur Swerdloff passed away on January 14 in Los Angeles. He was 86.
Production Grads To Be Honored At ASC Film Awards
January 14, 2008
Production graduates Jesse Eisenhardt ’05 and Charlene Wang ’07 will join the roster of alumni from the USC School of Cinematic Arts who have garnered industry kudos for their creative camera work during the 22nd Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards on January 26.
SCA Professor Recognized By Peers
January 14, 2008
Professor Tomlinson Holman, whose THX theatre system revolutionized sound in movie theatres, has been recognized as a fellow by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for “contributions to the recording of cinema sound and its realistic reproduction in both cinema and home environments.”
A Semester Of Opera At The SCA
January 11, 2008
The Norris was one of 477 screens in the United States – and a hundred more overseas – to host the Met HD broadcast of Roméo et Juliette Dec. 15. But unlike the others, admission at USC was free.
No Country For Old Men Writers Win Scripter
January 9, 2008
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy and Oscar-winning screenwriters Ethan and Joel Coen have won the 20th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for No Country for Old Men.
USC Alum Rock The Latest Video From Ringo Starr
January 2, 2008
If anyone doubts whether the USC mafia is alive and well, they need look no further than a new video from music legend Ringo Starr. Liverpool 8, co-directed by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics and Seth Dalton ‘06 features four USC production alums in key roles as well as 12 other Trojans in various crew positions.