The 2018 Commencement
The 2018 USC Games Expo
Tim Story Visits SCA
August 2, 2018
2017 MFA graduate Yongle Wang is at the beginning of an exciting and diverse career! A writer, director, and editor with a unique perspective on the world, Wang has found a true passion for addressing large social issues through the lens of individual stories. She sat down to share her own personal and educational experiences, explaining how they have shaped her global understanding of humanity and the types of stories she hopes to tell.
July 31, 2018
For the last three years, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has offered a 9-week summer master class in directing to working Chinese professionals looking to perfect their craft. The program begins with a four-week production workshop in Los Angeles, followed by travel to Shanghai to film final projects. Film & TV Production Professor Sheldon Larry is currently in Shanghai with the 12 directors selected in 2018 for this competitive program, and they sat down to share their experiences before departing!
June 1, 2018
Leila Hoffpauir, a sophomore in the Cinema and Media Studies Division, was recently chosen to participate in the Fulbright Summer Institute for Film and Media at the University of Birmingham. For three weeks this summer, Leila will travel to the United Kingdom with participants from all over the country on one of the most selective summer scholarship programs operating world-wide.
May 24, 2018
MFA candidate Sara Alize Cross was one of eight people selected from over 3,000 submissions to get one-on-one script mentorship from an HBO executive. In her journey of academic and artistic success Cross has refined her skills as a writer, and found her utmost passion for storytelling as a director.
May 22, 2018
Bomani Story is a writer, producer, and director that, since his time at USC, has made short films and written a feature, Rock Steady Row, which won the audience and jury award at the 2018 Slamdance.
May 21, 2018
Romi Barta is a television writer and graduate of USC Comedy that has written for shows such as Santa Clarita Diet and Foursome. Drawn to sitcoms from a young age and a former improv performer, she discovered that she enjoyed making people laugh and wanted to find a way to create a career doing that.
May 16, 2018
This year the School of Cinematic Arts teamed up with the Viterbi School of Engineering to highlight all of the work students, faculty, and alumni put into the innovative world of game design. Sponsored by Jam City, an L.A. based mobile game development company, the event transformed the SCA campus into an interactive game play space for the entire community.
May 11, 2018
Please click to see the videos of the 2018 Commencement Speakers Kevin Tsujihara and Amanda Silver
May 9, 2018
Stark graduate Noopur Sinha ‘15 discusses her success in short film and digital content, her experience working in both Hollywood and Bollywood, and her web series The FOB and I. She also shares the story behind Kat, a short form series that covers the millennial struggles of its lead character, a cat, that she helped to produce for Amazon.
May 8, 2018
Director of box office hits such as Think Like a Man, Ride Along, Barber Shop, and Fantastic Four sat down with SCA students for a question and answer session as part of the Our Voices series of events held by the School’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
May 4, 2018
Teresa Cheng, head of the Division of Animation and Digital Art, became the first recipient of the School of Cinematic Art's 31st endowed chair. Cheng, who has worked in animation for over 30 years, was joined by trustees of the John C. Hench Foundation as well as her colleague Andrew Millstein, President of Walt Disney Animation. The evening honored the extraordinary legacy of John C. Hench's 65 years of work in the world of Disney, and spoke to the vision Cheng has for the future of her division.
April 27, 2018
The Emmy Award winning actor took some time to discuss her career with Sex and the City writer Michael Patrick King as part of the annual Oakie Masters of Comedy Lecture Series presented by USC Comedy.
April 27, 2018
The legendary actor, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker in George Lucas's Star Wars, gave a master class at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Norris Theater. From his early days in Hollywood to the celebrity brought on after Star Wars, Hamill shared his experience and wisdom with students.
USC Games Expo
An Exhibition of Student Games
April 25, 2018
USC Games Expo is an exhibition of the years’ best, most innovative games and interactive projects from across campus, showcased under one roof. For the first time, in 2018, thanks to the support of marquee sponsor Jam City, the event has expanded to beyond current students, and includes alumni, faculty, and other strategic partners. The core of the event is the culmination of a collaborative effort between the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, with participating students from SCA’s Animation, Writing, MA+P, Cinema & Media Studies, and Production divisions, as well as students from across USC’s campus.
April 20, 2018
Students from the Interactive Media & Games, Animation, and Media Arts & Practice divisions were represented at the unique event showcasing different genres of artistic work.
April 6, 2018
Frank Balkin ‘90 explains the role of talent agencies and how to navigate them. Drawing from his own experience as Partner and Head of Television at Worldwide Production Agency, Balkin sheds light on how to actually become an agent, and how he came to represent notable clients such as Michael Goi (American Horror Story), Hunter Via (Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy), and more.
March 23, 2018
Screenwriting Professor Irving Belateche discusses his own work, the inspiration he receives from his students, and the growing trends in expectations from modern audiences.
March 22, 2018
Andrew Rothschild, who graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television, recently won the 2018 Writers Guild Award for Adapted Short Form New Media.
March 19, 2018
Nicholas Dobkin's feature film, Touching Sound: The Technika Documentary, will be screened on March 21st as part of the first film festival at the Conference.
March 19, 2018
Featured at Hugh Hefner Exhibit Hall in the George Lucas Building through May 2018, this exhibit accompanies the retrospective "50 Years of Planet of the Apes."
March 19, 2018
Filmmakers from throughout the decades gather to discuss the franchise on its 50th anniversary.
USC Games #1: 2018 Edition
The Princeton Review Names USC the Number One Video Game Program for the Seventh Year
March 14, 2018
The Princeton Review ranked USC Games the number one video game program in 2018 for its undergraduate programs. Either the graduate or the undergraduate program has been ranked the number one program for game design for seven out of eight years. USC Games represents an exciting collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts' Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Computer Science.
March 13, 2018
Having written for Power Rangers as well as various Disney Channel original films, Ann Austen '85 shares her experiences in children's feature and television writing. She also shed light on her 2016 Emmy winning Pre-School Children's Animated Program, The Snowy Day, based on the children's book that broke the color barrier in mainstream publishing.
March 9, 2018
2017 Cinema & Media Studies alum Audrey Emerson has taken her amazing accomplishments at USC and translated them into the beginnings of an impactful career in documentary film production. Working in the intersection of media and social advocacy, Emerson shares her story of success and advice for future students.
March 2, 2018
Martzi Campos, an alumna of the School of Cinematic Arts and current designer at the school’s Game Innovation Lab discusses new developments in video game design, as well as the undergraduate courses she teaches at SCA.
March 1, 2018
MFA Alum Kelley Kali’s thesis film, which won the Programmers’ Award for Best Short at the Pan African Film Festival, offers an artful and socially evocative portrayal of horrendous human rights violations occurring in Haiti. The creators and stars of the film sat down with social change advocates to discuss their ambitious project, and plans of making Lalo’s House into a full-length feature.
February 23, 2018
Gisele Tong, Sanford Jenkins Jr., and Mei Li Ying were distinguished among African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and women filmmakers.
February 23, 2018
Gwydhar Gebien ‘16, a graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts production program discusses her own story at USC, her career in film production, as well as her current role with the Jacobson Group, an accounting firm that provides services for major entertainment organizations.
February 13, 2018
Maria Zalewska from the Cinema & Media Studies division incorporates her work in media and memory studies with cinematic representations of the Holocaust.
February 9, 2018
The TV boom that began more than a decade ago and shows no sign of slowing down—currently referred to as the “Platinum Age” of television—has influenced the evolution of the Screenwriting program at the School of Cinematic Arts. This spring, one of the architects of television’s rise made a major gift to the program which is now known as the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television.
February 9, 2018
MA+P alum Kevin McGowan brings his technical and storytelling know-how to the museum.
February 6, 2018
Larry Auerbach announces his retirement after twenty-five years at the School.
February 5, 2018
Renowned screenwriter, novelist, and educator Howard Rodman will be inducted into Final Draft’s Screenwriters Hall of Fame on February 8th. Rodman is Professor and Former Chair in John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television. He is known for the screenplays Saving Grace and August, which both debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and Joe Gould’s Secret, which opened Sundance in 2000. His screenplay F. was voted one of Hollywood’s Ten Best Unproduced Screenplays by Premiere magazine. Rodman is also the artistic director of Sundance Institute Screenwriting Labs and USC’s Scripter Awards. Grace was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award in the Best Screenplay category. He is past President of Writer’s Guild of America, West.
February 2, 2018
Sonja Warfield, a lecturer with the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television, as well as a graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts, discusses her work at SCA, her inspirations as an educator, and offers advice for aspiring screenwriters.
February 2, 2018
Last summer in Oxfordshire outside of London, 18-year-old Amy Sotnick was hanging out by the river with a few friends enjoying the warm evening air when she got an email on her phone. She recalls, “It was from USC and I’d already been accepted, so I wondered ‘What’s this?’ Then I read that I’d won a scholarship from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It was a massive surprise!”
January 31, 2018
Gabe Peters-Lazaro's new documentary, One More Shot, debuts on Netflix!
January 30, 2018
Alum Scott Stephan is on the forefront of virtual reality innovation. His inspiring journey of success, and advice for cinema students.
SEV OHANIAN AND ANEESH CHAGANTY ARE SUNDANCE WINNERS
The SCA alums win the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance/Amazon prizes for the film Search
January 24, 2018
Search, co-written, produced and directed by SCA Alums Sev Ohanian (MFA, Production, ’12) and Aneesh Chaganty (BA, Production ’13) is one of Sundance’s most buzzworthy films this year. Told entirely through a computer screen, it follows a father, played by John Cho, who enlists a compassionate detective (Debra Messing) to track down his missing daughter. The daughter’s computer holds the most clues about her disappearance and the dogged father/detective team becomes engrossed in her online life.
January 19, 2018
A USC graduate, James Morosini '14, discusses his experiences acting in major television shows such as American Horror Story, what it is like to work at the helm of one's own projects, and reflects on his time as a student at USC and his journey since then.
SCA’s undergrads launch a digital publication to share and celebrate personal projects
January 17, 2018
This year the SCA Undergraduate Student Council sought to create a space for undergraduate cinema students to connect and interact with the creative work of their peers. As the President of the SCA Undergraduate Student Council, Raphael Rosalen led the charge, and the new innovative magazine Showcase was created.
January 11, 2018
Turning his passion for helping children into a career in academia, Drew McClellan '11 now serves as Senior Program Specialist and Department Chair of Cinematic and Visual Arts at the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts where he encourages the next generation of filmmakers to create their own work at a professional level. McClellan recently reflected on his time at USC, while also giving advice to students who are just starting their careers in the industry.
January 10, 2018
Is there a theme you feel like you keep going back to in your work?”
This was one of my first questions to SCA alumna, artist, and director, Hikari Mitsuyo Miyazaki, who is also known as HIKARI.
She paused for a second, then gave a big toothy smile: “I like to focus on family.”
December 13, 2017
Media Arts + Practice Professor discusses his career as a media creation educator
USC Games Projects to be Showcased at Playstation Experience
Lineup Led by Walden, a game
December 9, 2017
The University of Southern California’s premier video games program USC Games will feature hands-on playable code for three of its key releases at Sony’s 2017 PlayStation Experience on December 9th and 10th in Anaheim, California: Walden, a game, The Night Journey, and Cat and the Coup.
December 6, 2017
Valerie Meraz '99, SVP of Content & Acquisitions for Turner Entertainment Networks, opens up on her journey as a Peter Stark alumna to becoming a trailblazing executive for Showtime and Turner Networks. She gives invaluable advice to prospective entertainment executives and shares the impact of diversity within the C-suite.
Teresa Cheng Named Animation Chair
Veteran Animation Executive to Lead Visionary Division
December 6, 2017
Veteran Animation executive to lead John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts.
November 16, 2017
LA Phil’s Music and Artistic director, Gustavo Dudamel believes, “music is a fundamental human right.” So for the first time Hack Music LA partnered with LA Phil Harmonic to create a hack-a-thon that brings technology and music together to find new and innovative ways to make music accessible. Students could apply as individuals or teams of three and were encouraged to work with partners in different disciplines, from musicians to animators to filmmakers.
Q and A: Kara Keeling
Read about about her teaching and writing, and what you should be watching
November 13, 2017
Professor in the Bryan Singer Division of Cinema & Media Studies talks about her teaching and writing, and what you should be watching
Camaraderie and Community at USC and Beyond
November 13, 2017
Queer Cut, an organization straight out of SCA, is dedicated to promoting the visibility of LGBTQ media on campus and building support amongst LGBTQ students, professors, and allies.
November 13, 2017
This year the School of Cinematic Arts is a first-time recipient of a $10,000 IME-BECAS grant. Funded by the government of Mexico, the grant will support SCA students from Mexico or of Mexican origin with demonstrated financial need.The Government of Mexico established the scholarship program in 2005 with the objective of facilitating “the academic and profession development of Mexicans in the United States in order to better integrate and contribute to the society in which they live as well as to link their knowledge to development of their places of origin in Mexico.”The scholarships support students across the United States including many studying at California colleges and universities.SCA’s first IME-BECAS scholars were awarded in the 2017-2018 academic year.
November 10, 2017
Arjun Rihan '08 has worked on some of Pixar's biggest animated movies such as Brave, Finding Dory, and its latest film Coco, which celebrates the richness of Mexico's culture and Dia De Los Muertos. Arjun credits his success to SCA's Hench Animation program, which gave him the necessary tools and mentorship to create Topi. This award winning, USC thesis film garnered the attention of Pixar, where he has been working for the past nine years, since graduating from SCA.
Professor Jason E. Squire Hosts Micro-Budget Panel
DIY movie-making discussion packs SCA 108
November 7, 2017
On October 18, 2017 the question on every film student’s mind was asked in SCA 108, “What does someone do after they graduate?” There was a different feel in the room at Jason E. Squire’s DIY and the Micro Budget Feature Model because,on this particular evening, the panel was made entirely of people who had made those first steps into the professional world through small films and they had a clear answer.
Gifting a Cinematic Education to South and East L.A. High Schoolers
Entrepreneur and SCA Professor Diego Berdakin underwrites a Good Neighbor program
November 2, 2017
Diego Berdakin has pursued many endeavours in his professional career. A successful entrepreneur and investor, Berdakin is a founder of various consumer internet-based businesses including BeachMint, a Santa Monica based social commerce company that is now part of The Lucky Group. He is also an investor in several prominent companies including Dropbox, Uber, NastyGal, and Postmates; and a partner in FabFitFun, Re/Done, iEscrow, and Weaving Capital. Yet he also makes time for the role of Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts, teaching his methodologies to students aspiring to make their own way in media business.
October 30, 2017
Alum Daniel Rashid talks about the success of his comedy channel Giggle Break
October 30, 2017
Aroussiak Gabrielian, a Ph.D. candidate in Media Arts + Practices is a 2017-2018 awardee of the Rome Prize, among the most prestigious awards given for scholarship in the art world.
October 20, 2017
The USC School of Cinematic Arts unanimously selected veteran animation executive and producer Teresa Cheng as the new Chair of the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts.
October 6, 2017
Four Media Arts + Practices students had works featured at the world famous ARS Electronica Festival
SCA Alumni Stories: Trey Alsup
Creator of the Situation Room at the Reagan Library
October 5, 2017
Trey Alsup '94 is the writer and creator of "The Situation Room Experience," a simulated, interactive game at the Ronald Reagan Library educating and enabling participants to recreate fictional, crisis scenarios. Alsup is also known for his extensive experience designing live-action role-playing games (LARPS), and writing and producing national gaming conventions, including Gen Con.
September 29, 2017
Hollywood legend Hugh Hefner, who passed away on September 27 at age 91, was a longtime friend, supporter, and benefactor of the School of Cinematic Arts, having generously donated to the School.
September 18, 2017
The Producers Guild of America has awarded its prestigious Debra Hill Fellowship to a Peter Stark Producing Program graduate for a fourth consecutive year. This year's recipient is the fifth overall from the Stark Program, more than any other University, and USC is the only university to win the fellowship in consecutive years, let alone four straight. ?The fellowship was established in 2005 following the passing of pioneering producer Debra Hill, who was committed to mentoring next-generation producers.
Kevin Feige Establishes Endowed Fund at the USC School of Cinematic Arts
Marvel Studios President Donates $500,000 to further Creative Producing
September 18, 2017
Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, has made a gift to his alma mater, the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), to further the art and craft of creative producing. The Kevin Feige Endowed Fund for Creative Producing will help to provide support for classes on how to take projects from idea to distribution, fostering the skills needed to successfully turn a pitch into a commercial product.
September 14, 2017
Recent MFA Production grad Ariel Heller is a Student Academy Award winner in the narrative filmmaking category. We spoke to Ariel about the inspiration behind his winning thesis film, Mammoth, which deals with the turmoil of terminal illness, and about his current projects.
September 12, 2017
Cinematographer, Matthew Jensen '94 has earned numerous television and film credits on some of Hollywood's biggest projects ranging from Game of Thrones to Wonder Woman. Jensen recently reflected on his process, while also sharing advice for those looking to pursue a career in this field.
August 23, 2017
Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire’s scholarly work was honored at The Museum of the Moving Image in New York with a panel discussion based on The Movie Business Book Fourth Edition, “Inside the Movie Business: The Upside of Disruption.”
August 8, 2017
From reality TV to documentary filmmaking, Yvette Amirian ’05 has utilized her talents as an editor to craft dynamic, entertaining stories. Now an adjunct professor at USC School Of Cinematic Arts, Amirian continues to share her wisdom with her students. She recently discussed her passion for editing, the road that led her back to SCA, and her advice for current students.
IMGD's Tracy Fullerton and Lishan AZ are Games For Change Winners
Fullerton's Walden, a game, takes the top prize for Most Significant Impact
August 1, 2017
Tracy Fullerton, Director of the USC Game Inovation Lab, received several awards last night at the Games for Change awards for Walden, a game, while recent alum Leshan AZ's Tracking Ida took Best Gameplay
July 28, 2017
Video game executive, screenwriter, and producer Danny Bilson, who has taught at SCA since 2005, will be the new Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division.
July 26, 2017
Each summer since 2006 film students from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) and Communication University of China team up to create documentaries as part of the Global Exchange Program, which was created by SCA professors Marsha Kinder and Mark Jonathan as a partnership between the two schools.
July 17, 2017
Pepsico recently invited students from the School of Cinematic Arts to create short films for its Pepsi and Mountain Dew brands, with the winning films going live on YouTube and Facebook this summer.
July 12, 2017
After a trip to see Star Wars ignited an interest in special effects and animation, Josh Scherr ’97, honed his skills as a member of the first graduating class of SCA‘s Animation Division. Now, through his work on the Uncharted series at Naughty Dog, Scherr continues to push the envelope in the world of narrative gaming, first as an animation lead, more recently as a writer. He recently reflected on his work while providing helpful tips on breaking into the industry.
June 28, 2017
The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has partnered with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster cultural understanding through filmmaking.
Faculty Profile: Lisa Leeman
“From the Heart to the Head”: An SCA Film Professor’s Take on Narratives and Social Change
June 12, 2017
Lisa Leeman, SCA professor and alum, is an award-winning filmmaker best known for her social-issue documentaries that are driven by powerful character-driven narratives. In this interview, Leeman talked about her classes, inspiration, and experiences working on her directorial debut, Metamorphosis: Man into Woman, which follows a transgender animation artist’s transition. The film is thought to be the first American film to chronicle a gender transition and was awarded Sundance’s Filmmakers Trophy (1990).
June 9, 2017
SCA Professor and USC Comedy Co-Founder Barnet Kellman honored as inaugural Robin Williams Endowed Chair in Comedy, graciously funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
June 7, 2017
Director and cinematographer of Once Away, an episodic documentary for China Central Television, Yuechuan Ke ’06, opens audiences to various global perspectives through his engaging work that promotes love and equality.
Alumni Profile: Raquel Korman
The Director of Forever Home Speaks on her BAFTA Shortlisted Film
June 5, 2017
Raquel Korman ‘16 is a documentarian and video game designer, who uses her skills as a storyteller and media maker to give voice to those often overlooked in society. In her new documentary Forever Home, Korman follows the story of a family in California who adopt a group of foster children with different backgrounds and challenges.
The documentary was produced in the USC School of Cinematic Arts course CTPR 480 and, after a successful festival run, was shortlisted for a student BAFTA.
June 5, 2017
From processing payroll for all School of Cinematic Arts employees, professors and student workers, to handling the Dean’s accounts and those of student media makers, the women of the business office serve every member of the SCA community.
May 12, 2017
Watch the 2017 Mary Pickford Alumni Alumni Award Winner Jennifer Todd
May 12, 2017
Watch the 2017 Commencement Address by Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal Ron Meyer
May 12, 2017
Watch the 2017 Mary Pickford Alumni Award Recipient Suzanne Todd
May 9, 2017
Rhythms + Visions / Expanded + Live 3 will light up the outdoor spaces of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex in an evening of music, interactive animation, projection mapping, animated inflatables, and virtual reality. Innovative artists Refik Anadol, Miwa Matreyek, and Patterson + Reckinger will perform an eclectic program of contemporary visual music and audio-visual art.
May 4, 2017
The Chair honors the prolific American mythologist who is recognized for extensive work in comparative mythology, and was instrumental to the ‘Star Wars’ phenomenon
May 3, 2017
With the creative versatility as a writer-director of narrative storytelling and virtual reality, SCA alumna Christine T. Berg ’09 tells stories with great compassion and bold honesty. Berg recently discussed her winding path to becoming a storyteller, her experience writing and directing her laborious work of love called Wonder Buffalo, and her exciting time spent in the VR world.
May 2, 2017
Often you will hear the old adage, “Hollywood is all about who you know.” We hear it time and time again. Somewhere in the middle of my journey of becoming a filmmaker, it hit me: this is an incomplete statement. The entire back half of the sentence is missing.
May 2, 2017
Highlights from this years Talent Week at SCA.
April 26, 2017
New SCA Professor Robert Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans screened talk about the making of their classic film.
Larry Auerbach Honored at SCA
Head of SCA’s Industry Relations Office Retires after Twenty-Five Years at School
April 14, 2017
An era at the USC School of Cinematic Arts came to an end on April 12th as Associate Dean of Industry Relations Larry Auerbach celebrated his retirement after twenty-five years at the School. His retirement w
April 13, 2017
Professor Barnet Kellman and USC Comedy host six recent SCA graduates for a panel discussion and mixer with current students.
March 29, 2017
Eric Hanson is a professor in the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, where he teaches courses on animation and virtual reality. Professor Hanson brings his experience as a visual effects designer to his VR work and his classroom. During our interview, Professor Hanson shared some of his favorite VR work such as Oculus’ Dear Angelica, which drew a lot of attention at Sundance.
Ron Meyer Announced as Commencement Speaker
Jennifer and Suzanne Todd Honored with Pickford Alumni Awards
March 23, 2017
On Friday, May 12th, the newest class of graduates from the USC School of Cinematic Arts will be welcomed to the Trojan Family by 2017 Commencement Speaker NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, the former President and co-founder of Creative Artists Agency and one of the entertainment industry’s longest-serving executives. In addition, Producers Jennifer Todd (Live by Night) and Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) will each receive the Mary Pickford Alumni Award at the ceremony.
March 17, 2017
Endowment is SCA's largest and most substantial fund for international students.
March 13, 2017
Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air) joins Professor Barnet Kellman for night with his two comedy directing classes.
March 3, 2017
On Thursday, March 2, the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) dedicated its newly named John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television with a celebration of the Division and its benefactor, writer/director/producer John Wells.
February 23, 2017
Creative Director and Founder of The Game Band, SCA Alumnus Sam Rosenthal discuses the design principles that go into his games as well as independent game making. Rosenthal shares his enthusiasm for the art and craft of game design as well as the commonalities interactive stories have with other forms of entertainment.
February 22, 2017
Current MFA Film and Television Production candidate, Laurie Gardiner, has recently been accepted to a prestigious summer program, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) this summer in Graz, Austria.
February 16, 2017
SCA Alumni, Xaiver Burgin at the Sundance YouTube New Voices Lab, the writer/director participates in the inaugural story lab for short form digital series
SCA Family Stories: Jean de Meuron
From the Summer Program to the Oscars
February 13, 2017
All alumni of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program make short films. Some of these films go on to have successful screenings. Some of these films go on to do well at film festivals. Some of these films launch careers. Of all these films, one film, La Femme et le TGV (2016), has climbed the mountain to receive a nomination for the highest award available in the medium -- an Oscar nomination.
February 9, 2017
Self-named the “Mary Poppins of visual effects,” SCA alumna Ruth Vasquez recently discussed her career as one of the industry’s top render managers. Vasquez shared about the underappreciated yet vital nature of data management and offered advice to students who have yet to find their passions.
February 1, 2017
Ellen Seiter is a professor in the Bryan Singer Division of Cinema and Media Studies. She also holds the Nenno Endowed Chair in Television Studies. She recently won the 2016-2017 Pedagogy Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. The award is given for instruction, publication and development of educational materials, and service/value in Cinema and Media Studies Pedagogy.
Student Spotlight: Evan Dodson
Writing Division undergrad is on the 2016 Black List
February 1, 2017
Evan Dodson is a junior in the School of Cinematic Arts’ Writing for Screen & Television Division. In December he became the youngest screenwriter to make The Black List, the annual survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays.
[SUNDANCE BLOG] Peter Bawiec
A Sound Designer Reflects on Park City
January 31, 2017
Peter Bawiec is a sound designer and re-recording mixer. He graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2015 with an MFA in Film & TV Production. Within just one year from his graduation, he held key creative positions on 18 feature films and 3 television pilots. Three titles got into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, two of which screened this year.
January 30, 2017
Ellen Seiter has been awarded the 2016-2017 Pedagogy Award, from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
January 12, 2017
Director of two installments of the Fifty Shades saga, James Foley ’79 made his directoral debut with Reckless (1984), starring Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah, and since then has cultivated a versatile career. Foley recently recounted his time as a student at SCA, discussed his experience directing the critically acclaimed House of Cards and the highly anticipated Fifty Shades sequels, and offered his insight into the ingredients needed for a fulfilling career.
December 16, 2016
On December 7th the School of Cinematic Arts hosted the 2016 the Winteractive Festival presented by USC Games. This year’s Festival showcase a variety of work from across a broader spectrum of platforms, classes and levels of experimentation including SCA’s Interactive Media and Games Division, the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering as well as a handful of students from the USC Thornton School of Music and students from outside the University participating.
Remembering Jonathan Bernbaum
SCA alum among those who died in Oakland Fire
December 8, 2016
We learned on Monday that SCA alumnus Jonathan Bernbaum, 34, a talented video and music artist who graduated from the Production MFA program in 2008, was among those who died in the horrific fire at an Oakland warehouse last Friday December 2.
November 21, 2016
Faculty Profile: Bonnie Ruberg
November 18, 2016
SCA Alumni Stories: Fawaz Al-Matrouk
November 10, 2016
With an MFA in Production, Sean Jarrett ’14 has immensely expanded his storytelling strengths and creative sensibility as a documentary editor. Jarrett recently discussed his beginnings as a filmmaker, the valuable emotional impact both documentary and fiction films have on audiences, and his experience in every editing job of learning “something technical, artistic, and something about life.”
Cheryl Boone Isaacs Visits SCA
President of the Academy is First Visitor in Diversity Council Speaker Series
October 27, 2016
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the USC School of CInematic Arts (SCA) are united in a mission to improve the diversity of the entertainment industry. On October 24th, Boone Isaacs was the keynote speaker at “Our Voices - An Evening with Cheryl Boone Isaacs” hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at SCA.
October 20, 2016
Everybody Loves Raymond Creator Visiting Foundations of Comedy USC Comedy is proud to announce that Phil Rosenthal, Emmy winning Writer/Producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond”, will be visiting SCA on the evening of Monday, October 24 to talk about the art of Sitcom Writing with students in CTWR 404, Foundations of Comedy.
October 20, 2016
Comedian Pauly Shore emcees a screening of original short films created by SCA students. Be part of the jury and help award the People's Choice "It's All In Fun" Award. Esteemed members of the USC Comedy Faculty will also judge 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards & scholarships. All films are no longer than four minutes in lengths.
October 20, 2016
Meenakshi Ramamurthy is the comedy writer/director behind the webseries The Fob and I and recent alum of USC School of Cinematic Arts M.F.A Production program. Meena hails from South Texas—that means she’s one of the few Indian people who can tell you where to get a good taco. She is a recipient of the James Bridges Directing Scholarship and the Jack Oakie Scholarship in Honor of Lisa Kudrow.
October 18, 2016
This year marks Dean Elizabeth M. Daley’s twenty-fifth as Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts, making her easily the longest tenured dean in the School’s history. In honor of the School’s tremendous growth under her leadership, and to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni community over the past year, the Alumni Development Council held a special celebration on Sunday, October 16, with many of the School’s most notable alumni gathering at the Meldman Family Cinematic Arts Park for what some dubbed “a meeting of the SCA mafia.”
October 12, 2016
Faculty Profile: Amanda Pope
October 12, 2016
Pablo Frasconi has been making films since 1969, when, at age 17 won an award a the National Newsweek-Bloex Documentary Film Contest for his film Redevelopment - a critique of the conditions in his hometown. Raised in a family of artists, Pablo gives a brief account to his journey to filmmaking and what it means to him.
October 7, 2016
Faculty Profile: David Maquiling
October 7, 2016
Gabriel Peters-Lazaro is not only a Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts but also a filmmaker, researcher, and media innovator. By asking questions about our culture, society, and identity, his passion for media education has shaped a great deal of his work. He is a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Media Activism and Participatory Politics (MAPP) project and is currently working to develop participatory media resources and curricula to support new forms of civic education and engagement for young people.
October 5, 2016
Ready to “set the world on fire,” Cheryl Rodes ’12 tells honest stories that champion the complex everyday lives of women. Acting since age six and raising herself from age fourteen, Rodes has been a storyteller all her life. With an MFA in Writing under her belt, she hopes to utilize the power of storytelling “to embrace, explore and showcase the complexity of women, who they are, and what they have to deal with.”
September 29, 2016
On September 27th, the USC School of Cinematic Arts opened a three-day tribute to legendary film producer, Ray Stark. Stark and his wife Frances were the benefactors of the School’s Peter Stark Producing Program, which they named for their late son. The opening evening featured a panel discussion about Stark’s work, followed by a screening of Funny Girl, held, appropriately, in the Ray Stark Family Theatre on campus. The retrospective continued on the 28th and 29th with screenings of The Goodbye Girl and Steel Magnolias.
Documentarian/Cinematographer Haskell Wexler Honored at SCA
Wexler remembered as pioneer, inventor, and humanitarian
September 26, 2016
On Sunday, September 25th, friends, alumni and supporters of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) gathered to honor the late, legendary Academy Award-winning cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Haskell Wexler, and to dedicate the Haskell Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary. Michael Renov, Professor and Vice Dean of Academics at SCA, was installed as the first chair holder. The Wexler Chair in Documentary was graciously funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
Hench DADA’s Alicja Jasina Wins at the Student Academy Awards
Her film Once Upon A Line voted best of the year
September 26, 2016
Alicja Jasina of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital won the gold medal, for her film Once Upon A Line, at this year’s Student Academy Awards. Jasina was awarded the top prize in the Animation category at a ceremony held in Los Angeles on Thursday September 22nd.
SCA Family Stories: Ted Braun
The Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics Speaks about his Journey
September 26, 2016
Ted Braun has worn many hats during his acclaimed career. As a documentarian, he brought the conflict in Sudan to life with the NAACP Image award winning film Darfur Now. As a screenwriter/director he has covered topics as diverse as the golden age of aviation to the rights of the developmentally disabled for outlets including HBO, PBS, and A&E. As a teacher, he has spearheaded the efforts to bring the development of imagination and personal material to the forefront of the Writing Division.
NIH Awards Grant to USC Researchers
SCA's Marientina Gotsis Among Groundbreaking Team
September 22, 2016
USC researchers awarded $450K NIH grant to develop virtual reality-based system for walking rehabilitation. The interdisciplinary study aims to develop safe, effective game-based treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
September 21, 2016
A new organization works to connect the disciplines
Movie Business Book Marks Fourth Edition
Professor Jason E. Squire Hosted at Barnes and Noble
September 20, 2016
On September 12th, Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles hosted the launch of The Movie Business Book Fourth Edition, published by Routledge/Focal Press and edited by USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire, who moderated the panel of his book participants.
September 13, 2016
Events will take place throughout the academic year.
September 7, 2016
SCA alumnus Meera Menon ’12 gained much attention for her unique storytelling with a film winning the Nora Ephron Award at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and the other debuting at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Menon recently discussed her storytelling perspective as a first generation immigrant, the beginnings of her academic career at SCA, and her experience directing widely praised Farah Goes Bang and recent sensation Equity.
August 31, 2016
The USC Games Bridge Program was launched in summer 2015 to aid students in the process of developing their games into full-fledged companies. The companies are then pitched to venture capitalists and game publishers with the hopes of investment or acquisition. The Bridge offers legal and business mentorship from top video games industry professionals and is offers its students full ownership of their company without taking any personal interest. The only exception is if a game makes at least $500,000, in which case one percent goes back to USC Games to re-fund the Bridge program for future cohorts.
August 30, 2016
USC Comedy is excited to announce that distinguished SCA alumnus Tim Story, Director of the hit comedies Barbershop, Ride Along and Think Like a Man will be visiting on the evening of Monday, September 12 to talk comedy filmmaking with students in CTWR 404, Foundations of Comedy. The class is the gateway experience for students interested in exploring their comic voice through USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts extensive comedic curriculum.
August 26, 2016
"Ken was beloved by all of us – students, faculty and staff. He will be deeply missed as an artist, a teacher, and a friend," said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. "Ken brought an incredible passion and sense of fun to the classroom and his love of teaching touched the lives of countless graduates. Our thoughts are with his family."
USC Ranked Number One
The Hollywood Reporter Ranks SCA #1 for Fourth Year
August 22, 2016
For the fourth year in a row, the USC School of Cinematic Arts was ranked the number one film school in America by The Hollywood Reporter. This year, the trade magazine polled industry insiders to rank undergraduate and graduate programs and, citing developments in virtual reality and major pushes in diversity, USC retained the top position.
Two Trojans Bring Home Student Oscar Noms
Animation and Live Action Represented
August 19, 2016
The USC School of Cinematic Arts has a long history of success at the Student Academy Awards and 2016 is no exception with two nominations. Halima Lucas from the Production Division was nominated for, “Amelia’s Closet,” and Alicja Jasina from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts was nominated for, “Once Upon a Line.”
August 15, 2016
The Summer Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts takes students from all walks of life. From industry professionals sharpening their skills to high school students picking up a camera for the first time, the student body is diverse, dedicated, and there to learn how to tell stories with the moving image. Cameron Burnett attended the Summer Program in high school and later transitioned into the Film & Television Production Division as a degree program student. He recently sat down with SCA Family Stories to talk about his experience in the Summer Program, his transition to the degree program side of SCA, and the importance of being harsh in the editing room.
August 4, 2016
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies at Wesleyan University and working in the film industry for several years, Katie Walsh ’13 launched her academic career at USC, finishing her MA in Cinema and Media Studies. She now works as a nationally syndicated film critic, while on leave of absence from her PhD work in Communications at Annenberg. Walsh recently discussed her beginnings in PR, her academic accomplishments, and her current role as a writer and film critic for the Tribune News Service and LA Times.
Meera Menon Debuts Equity
The recent SCA grad returns to campus with her second feature
July 7, 2016
The recent SCA grad returns to campus with her second feature
July 6, 2016
Recent graduate and multi-talented storyteller, Michael Effenberger ’15 shared his experience, as a double major, of discovering and pursuing a long-time yet unfulfilled passion for games. Effenberger discussed the evolution of his skill set as a creative, his journey as co-founder of Syndicate Atomic, and his ambitions for future projects.
June 8, 2016
Having earned an M.A. and a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at SCA, Veena Hariharan ’11 displays passion in both her academic and creative works as a tenured professor at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In a recent interview, Hariharan discusses the great value of the critical analyses and academic pursuits of media and cinema in the context of Indian culture and society.
June 8, 2016
Alan Starbuck, facility manger for the Robert Zemeckis Center for the Digital Arts, was an early adopter of the digital technology that now permeates every aspect of life at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. After graduating from the Division of Film & Television Production, Starbuck joined the staff of SCA and led the Zemeckis Center through its many roles and phases as the go-to building for film, television, animation, and video game production at the School. This summer, Starbuck is retiring and SCA Family Stories caught up with him to talk about his memories of the history of the School, why the transition to digital was a fight worth having, and the people that helped him in his amazing career.
May 26, 2016
iMAP PhD student Clea T. Waite recently presented “Big Moon Hong Kong,” a new site-specific video featured on the ICC Tower, which is the tallest building in Hong Kong and boasts the largest LED screen in the world. Clea’s project is part of the prestigious International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2016. The building’s facade is comprised of 77,000 square meters of LED’s, making Clea’s video - of the moon rise - quite spectacular. Clea’s summer will be spent in Greenland, where she is conducting arts-based research on ice and its relationship to time, with funding from the Art, Design and SEM Frontier Collaborations, through the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.
May 26, 2016
Behnaz Farahi, an iMAP PhD candidate, recently presented a talk at an event titled “This Happened #25” at the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and another talk at Technarte 2016 in Bilbao, May 19, 2016. Behnaz presented her recent research on wearable technologies, cyborg identities and post-humanism. She will return to Autodesk’s Pier 9 this summer as an artist-in-residence.
MA+P Student Wins Undergraduate Symposium
Jonathan Fudem Honored for Thesis
May 26, 2016
MA+P undergraduate students continue to excel! MA+P senior Jonathan Fudem won first prize for his thesis project, “Privacy Lost: Owning Our Data in Digital Culture,” in the Digital Media category of the 2016 Undergraduate Symposium.
Alumni Paul Feig and Susan Downey Honored at USC School of Cinematic Arts 2016 Commencement Ceremony
PLUS: Feig's Eight Rules to Succeed
May 17, 2016
The USC School of Cinematic Arts 2016 Commencement Ceremony honored alumni Susan Downey, the School's 2016 Mary Pickford Award recipient, and keynote speaker Paul Feig, who offered graduates eight tips for success.
May 10, 2016
With experience working in a plethora of storytelling mediums, Sheldon Candis ’03 possesses a distinct and focused voice as a filmmaker. Candis shared pearls of wisdom about the endurance needed to achieve any artistic dream. He also reflected on his own experience after graduating from SCA, and discussed the ever-evolving nature of his creative voice.
May 10, 2016
Looking to graduation, Allison Begalman ’16 reminisced on the past four years she has spent at SCA as a maturing writer, and an active member and President of the Women of Cinematic Arts.
In Memoriam: Ian Sander
USC Alumnus and Television Professor Passes Away at Sixty Eight
May 5, 2016
Longtime television development, directing and production professor and USC alumnus Ian Sander passed away on May 3rd. He is remembered by faculty, staff, alumni, and students of the School of Cinematic Arts as a true role model and educator who cared deeply for students, and who always had an open door for both current students and alumni of his classes. Sander co-taught a course on television with his wife Kim Moses.
May 4, 2016
Jason E. Squire delivers keynote on the history of English-language comedy and visits the China National Film Museum
Mark Burnett Endows Chair to Support the SCA Summer Production Program
David Weitzner installed as first Mark Burnett Endowed Chair
April 28, 2016
Mark Burnett, Emmy–winning producer and President of MGM Television and Digital Group, was honored on April 27th at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the establishing The Mark Burnett Endowed Chair at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). The endowment will support the School’s Summer Production Program and it’s first chair holder is the program’s Director, SCA Professor David Weitzner.
April 26, 2016
Filmmaker Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) will deliver the commencement address, and producer Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes, The Judge) will receive the prestigious Mary Pickford Alumni Award at the 2016 USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) graduation ceremony Friday, May 13 at the Shrine Auditorium.
April 19, 2016
Tim Story gives the Oakie Masters of Comedy lecture at SCA
April 12, 2016
Director Juan Pablo Rothie’s adaptation of Shooting An Elephant will play Tribeca this weekend.
April 11, 2016
For the second consecutive year, a team of USC Games students won the BAFTA Ones To Watch Award.
April 8, 2016
Alum Jason Reitman spoke to students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts after a screening of his 2009 film Up in the Air on April 5th in the Ray Stark Family Theatre. The talk was sponsored by USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Ars, the Writing for Screen & Television’s Writing Presents Speaker Series, and Movies We Love. The Q & A was hosted by USC alum and screenwriter Tim Dowling.
April 8, 2016
Kate Powers ’07 recently discussed her beginnings as a writer, her thoughts on the evolving relationship between TV and its audience, and her journey as a staff writer on the highly acclaimed television drama series Rectify.
USC Brings Student Films to Major Agencies
First Look Film Festival Changes Format
April 8, 2016
Film Festivals are the chance for new Trojan graduates to take their student films into the real world and show agents, managers, producers, and distributors what they’ve got. This year, the School of Cinematic Arts’ Industry Relations has made it even easier for agents to see student work.They won’t even have to leave their buildings.
April 7, 2016
With graduation quickly approaching, Jonathan Fudem ‘16 reflected on his experiences as a MAP student, his time spent working at Trojan Vision and his role as a research assistant.
April 6, 2016
Alumnus Tim Story to be honored with the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Master of Comedy Lecture Series
April 6, 2016
See the faculty for the USC Comedy Initiative at the School of Cinematic Arts
April 6, 2016
Back in 2010, three long time comedy professionals, SCA professors Jack Epps, Barnet Kellman and David Isaacs, had a dream. To launch an initiative to create an SCA Academy of Comedy. In 2016 the dream has become a full functioning reality.
March 22, 2016
SCA’s Director of Programming and Special Projects brings the world of cinema to campus screens.
A new club, focused on the possibilities of Virtual Reality introduces whole new worlds
March 16, 2016
Virtual Reality (VR) is a burgeoning industry and the big media companies - Google, Facebook, and Microsoft among them—already have money and experts engaged in figuring out how VR will impact our lives. Last spring, School of Cinematic Arts students launched their own expedition through a new club, VRSC (Virtual Reality SC), to explore virtual reality together with their peers from Viterbi, Marshall, and Annenberg, who are also passionate about this groundbreaking new medium for storytelling.
March 7, 2016
LGBT Film Showcase Explores The Nexus of Religion and LGBT Identity.
March 7, 2016
Yo-yo Lin and Will Cherry’s Ricerca is featured in South by Southwest's Digital Domain program.
March 3, 2016
Beginning with his creative journey as an undergraduate at Harvard University, Philip Hodges ’11 has evolved into a multi-talented filmmaker, directing story-driven music videos and utilizing puppetry for effective storytelling. Hodges discussed the details of his filmmaking path, including how his acclaimed SCA thesis project landed in film development at Disney.
March 3, 2016
Influenced by the many strong women in her life, Felicia Hilario ’16 is pushing the boundaries of the male-dominant world of crime thrillers. Hilario writes with conviction and a clear vision to empower women of all ethnicities by challenging the gender norms of the thriller film genre. She recently shared her “flavored” storytelling journey and her hopes for the future.
February 26, 2016
Legendary Disney animator Andreas Deja visits the School of Cinematic Arts with new book.
February 24, 2016
“Before there was IMDB, or any way to find out who did anything,” said SCA alum Matthew Weiner (MFA ’90), “We all knew the name of one movie writer: and it was Robert Towne.”
February 23, 2016
Producers Sev Ohanian and Natalie Qasabian’s romance first sparked at the School of Cinematic Arts. Both are now considered industry up-and-comers, and have been making their alma mater proud with highly regarded projects that have won numerous awards at festivals nationwide.
From the First to the Fiftieth Draft
School of Cinematic Arts Professor Jack Epps Jr. publishes a guide to screenwriting rewrites.
February 17, 2016
Every screenwriter knows that the first draft is just the beginning; that there will be edits and maybe even complete rewrites. This knowledge, however, doesn’t make rewriting any easier. Especially hard is answering that first, most important question: Where to start.
February 17, 2016
The 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has named Director of USC Games and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division this year's recipient of the GDC Ambassador award on February 16th in San Francisco.
February 4, 2016
Film & Television Production Professor Jeremy Kagan is exploring that subject in his new dramatic feature film, SHOT, now in postproduction. He recently sat down with SCA to talk about the filmmaker’s role in covering social issues.
February 4, 2016
With a deep understanding of the power of visual storytelling, Ashley York ’06 has helmed documentaries that reflect her passion to shed light on social issues confronting us today.
February 4, 2016
A true example of compassion and perseverance, Grazyna Kolondra ’16 has dedicated her work to raising awareness of global violations of human rights.
January 7, 2016
With the inspiration of Walt Disney propelling her forward, Heather Blodget ’07 is living her dream, working at Walt Disney Animation Studios and creating positive, uplifting films. Blodget recently shared her creative growth since graduation, discussed finding her dream job, and offered advice to SCA students to be open to all opportunities.
January 7, 2016
As a newly minted Fall graduate, Ayana Baraka ’15 reflected on her time as an SCA student and on lessons learned about creativity, life, and the elusive nature of “success.” Baraka also shared her experience as a cinematographer on The Hunting Ground in which she was able to help young women tell their stories of rape culture on college campuses.
CREED Comes Home to SCA
SCA welcomes Ryan Coogler & collaborating alumni
December 8, 2015
Ryan Coogler and a team of five other fellow Trojans returned to the School last week for an unforgettable screening and Q&A of the new critically acclaimed Rocky spin-off with special appearance from Rocky himself!
December 8, 2015
Continuing to learn the ins and outs of the television business, David Freedman ’10 has made great strides as a producer and writer since graduating from SCA and has successfully headed Just Seen It, a movie and TV review show screened on the nationwide network PBS. Freedman recently shared about his start in the television industry, his experience as the show runner of Just Seen It, and his plans for the coming year.
December 8, 2015
Pursuing her passion of photography and storytelling, Angelique Molina ’16 is currently earning her Masters Degree in Production at SCA. Molina shared about her continued growth as a filmmaker through her experiences as an SCA student, her time with the Diatribe Art Collective in San Francisco, and as a member of the SCA Graduate Student Government.
SCA Goes “Back to the Future”
School Hosts Marathon of Films with Q & A
December 7, 2015
Assuming that our timeline hasn’t been altered by time travelers Marty McFly and Doc Brown, USC School of Cinematic Arts alum Robert Zemeckis’ iconic sci-fi comedy Back to the Future hit the big screen thirty years ago this year. To celebrate the anniversary of the film, SCA hosted a marathon of the Back to the Future trilogy in Frank Sinatra Hall in the Eileen Norris Cinema Complex on December 6th followed by a Q and A with alum/screenwriter Bob Gale, Production Designer (Part II, III) Rick Carter, and actor Christopher Lloyd.
December 4, 2015
Professor Alex McDowell's The Leviathan Project and Professor Tracy Fullerton's Walden, a Game will premiere at Sundance's 10th annual New Frontier program.
December 2, 2015
CTWR-431 — Loners, Stoners, Mean Girls, and Jocks: Writing the High School Story — now open to all USC students!
December 1, 2015
On Monday, November 30th, the popular Television Symposium class invited a very special guest, Conan O’Brien, for a Q&A following screenings of his work. O’ Brien’s work includes writing for HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, Late Night, and Saturday Night Live. He also hosted The Tonight Show and the Annual Primetime Emmy Awards twice. He now produces, writes, and hosts his own talk show, CONAN, which premiered in 2010. Earning himself a high-esteemed reputation as a comedian by audiences worldwide and praise from Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, Conan O’Brien is a true icon of the comedy world.
House on Pine Street Returns
Indie Horror Film by USC Alumni Screens in LA
November 17, 2015
After an international festival tour that earned rave reviews and racked in multiple awards, the notable indie horror flick THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET is returning to Los Angeles for a special one-night-only screening, Thursday, November 19th at 7:30 PM at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater by Laemmle.
Frank Sinatra Honored at SCA
Artist, Icon, and Humanitarian Recognized on Centennial
November 9, 2015
Frank Sinatra’s artistic career is completely unique and practically unrivaled. Sinatra reached the top of the music industry, Hollywood, Broadway, Vegas and just about everything else he undertook. He has been honored as an actor, singer, arranger, and humanitarian with awards including the Golden Globe, the Oscar, countless Grammys, and a Kennedy Center Honors. As Frank Sinatra reaches the centennial mark (Sinatra was born in 1915), his daughters Tina and Nancy and the Frank Sinatra Family Foundation are honoring his memory by creating the Frank Sinatra Endowed Fund for Student Support at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
MISC & Saks Talk Mental Health
SCA hosts first Mental Health Awareness Festival
November 6, 2015
On October 30, the School of Cinematic Arts' Media Institute for Social Change and the Gould School of Law's Saks Institute joined forces to host USC's first ever Mental Health Awareness Festival.
November 5, 2015
Shortly after graduating from the Peter Stark Producing Program, Lindsay Kerns ’12 has taken great strides toward her goal to become a filmmaker who not only “surprises people,” but also provides her audience with opportunities to engage with the world around them through comedy. Kerns shared about her time as a writer and creative producer at Funny Or Die and her thoughts on the growing presence of women in the industry.
Teaching the New Model
Professor Jason E. Squire hosts DIY Panel
October 30, 2015
Everyone has noticed that the entertainment industry is changing. Gallons of ink have been spilled about the tech revolution in film in television with regards to Virtual Reality, online networks, the smallest pocket-sized cameras, and the largest IMAX films.
October 28, 2015
On Friday, October 23rd, the Ray Stark Theater hosted an eventful evening recognizing the world-renowned director, Hou Hsaio-hsien, with the SCA Eisenstein Award. Named after the early Russian director and film theorist Sergei Eisenstein—a man who traversed the boundaries of theory and practice and took film into other forms of language, narrative and musicality—the award has been presented only three times before, in 2003 to French filmmaker Agnès Varda, in 2007 to Costa-Gavras, and in 2011 to Pedro Almodóvar. The award was presented following the sneak-peak screening of Hou Hsaio-hsien’s upcoming film, The Assassin, which recently earned him the title of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.
George Lucas and Mellody Hobson Give to Diversity
George Lucas Family Foundation Endows Scholarship Fund
October 27, 2015
With an endowment of ten million dollars, the George Lucas Family Foundation has given a tremendous boost to the The School of Cinematic Arts’ mission to recruit talented students from communities that are underrepresented in the entertainment industry. The gift will establish the The George Lucas Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity at the School.
James Franco Enters The Labyrinth
SCA Anthology Plays on Campus
October 26, 2015
The Labyrinth, a feature film produced in the SCA class co-taught by Academy Award nominated actor James Franco had its premiere SCA screening Friday and was followed by an open-floor Q&A with the directors. This is the second premiere of the film, which had it’s international debut at Screamfest on October 18.
October 20, 2015
A group of talented young women come together to share their artistic visions, collaborate, hone their craft, and leave a mark on the world. They overcome financial pressures, inner-group fighting, and creative differences, finally becoming stronger as artists and closer as friends in the process. Is it the incoming class of the USC School of Cinematic Arts? No, it’s the new film Jem and the Holograms directed by SCA alumnus Jon Chu, written by alumnus Ryan Landels, photographed by alumnus Alice Brooks, camera operated by alumnus Andy Waruszewski, and gaffed by alumnus Jay Murankana. The film was screened pre-release on October 18th in Frank Sinatra Hall in the Norris Cinema Complex and was followed by a Q & A moderated by alum Tim Dowling and attended by Chu, Landels, Brooks, Muranaka, and executive producer/head of Blumhouse Productions Couper Samuelson.
October 16, 2015
GoPro and SCA announce partnership.
October 15, 2015
Former Chair of the Writing for Screen & Television Division and USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor Howard A. Rodman has been elected President of the Writer’s Guild of America West. This marks the first presidential term for Rodman after a long career in leadership in the WGA including his most recent role as Vice President. The term is for two years. as
October 6, 2015
The director of the American classic and top-grossing movie musical Grease, Randal Kleiser ’74 has crossed narrative boundaries and has stepped into the world of virtual reality with his sci-fi series Defrost. Since his graduation, Kleiser has had a lasting impact on the industry, beginning with his master’s thesis film Peege, which was the second student production ever to be added to the National Film Registry. Kleiser shared about his time at USC and his recent endeavors with virtual reality.
October 6, 2015
SCA alum, Sam Regnier, is one of five people across the globe to win the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Regnier graduated from SCA in 2006 with a B.F.A. in Screenwriting, and has gone on to dedicate his time to writing. Regnier won the Nicholl Fellowship for his sports drama, Free Agent, which follows a female NBA executive for the Golden State Warriors who pursues the biggest free agent of her career while also managing a messy divorce and a complicated relationship with a younger colleague and his teenage sister. The rights to the script were pursued and acquired by CBS Films shortly after Regnier was announced as a finalist.
October 6, 2015
With roots in Alabama and Mississippi, Xavier Neal-Burgin ’16 hopes to utilize his work as an avenue of positive social impact. During his time at SCA, Neal-Burgin was selected out of 40 students to direct a film fully funded by SCA (Olde E). He recently discussed his experience directing Olde E, his creative and technical growth as a filmmaker, and also offered advice to fellow SCA students.
Movies We Love Presents: Tommy Boy
Pete Segal, David Spade and Fred Wolf Visit SCA
September 21, 2015
In the Spring of 1995, man-child Tommy Callahan III got off a plane in Sandusky, Ohio, to take over the loading dock of his father’s company and was greeted by uptight executive Richard Hayden. One of the greatest comedy duos in film history was born. Twenty years later, at a sold out screening of Tommy Boy in the Frank Sinatra Hall at USC, alum/director Pete Segal, star David Spade, and writer Fred Wolf shared with students the stories of how the unlikely classic made its way to the screen through nervous breakdowns, unfinished scripts, and a deer that simply wouldn’t be trained.
September 8, 2015
A native of Beijing, China, Guan Xi ’15 brought her award-winning photography skills and passion for filmmaking to SCA as a MFA Production student. She was the co-Director of Photography for the documentary Looking at the Stars directed by Alexandre Peralta ’14, which won this year’s Student Academy Award for Best Documentary. In addition, Xi’s thesis project Mandala has been accepted and awarded by several film festivals. Xi recently reflected on her time at SCA and shared her creative and technical growth as a filmmaker.
September 8, 2015
Embarking on her last year as an undergraduate, Jen Enfield-Kane ’16 discovered the power of storytelling as an avenue to reach the world during her time at SCA. Enfield-Kane served as an integral part of several successful miniseries and web series, including CON and The Supernatural Enthusiasts Club. She recently shared her transformation as a screenwriter, her experiences writing and directing miniseries, and her thoughts on the future of web-based creative platforms.
John Cacavas Honored at SCA
Man known for sweeping television scores remembered
August 31, 2015
The halls of the USC School of Cinematic Arts are filled with the names of multi-hyphenates and renaissance women and men who changed film, games, and all other media in America and beyond. On August 30th, John Cacavas, who passed away in 2014, joined the names Hitchcock, Pickford, Lloyd, Lucas, Spielberg
Introducing CTWR 432 -- Shonda Rhimes: The Reinvention of Network Television
Open to all USC students, open registration, and counts towards the Minor in Screenwriting
August 17, 2015
"Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation"
SCA Network Event Recap
August 5, 2015
Last Wednesday, members of the SCA Network once again congregated at The Grove Pacific Theater for the second sneak preview screening and Q&A in as many weeks, this time for a glimpse of the critically acclaimed fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise: Rogue Nation. Producers David Ellison and Don Granger stuck around for the post-screening Q&A.
August 5, 2015
Born in the Philippines in 1954, Mar Elepano '80 arrived at SCA in 1975 as a Film Production major. He has played a significant role in his many years at SCA, teaching in the MFA in Animation Program since 1993 and serving as the production supervisor of the program. Elepano recently discussed his time as an SCA student and professor, and shared his take on the widely known motto of SCA: “Reality Ends Here.”
August 5, 2015
It’s rare that a college class becomes iconic. Even at the School of Cinematic Arts, the list is probably less than five classes long. Any list of iconic classes from the USC School of Cinematic Arts would be incomplete without Professor Leonard Maltin’s CTCS 466: Film Symposium. Leonard Maltin recently sat down with cinema.usc.edu to discuss his course, what students can expect when they enroll, and how sometimes Film Symposium becomes bigger than even the medium of film.
July 30, 2015
For the third consecutive year, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has been named the number one film school by the Hollywood Reporter.
July 24, 2015
Wednesday night at The Grove, SCA Network members enjoyed a preview screening of this weekend's upcoming Pixels followed by a Q&A and beer & wine reception with the film's writer, Tim Dowling.
SCA Family Stories: Michael Starr
Trojan Recipient of Silver Telly Award Chats about his Process
July 17, 2015
Increasingly, the moving image is being used to forward missions beyond entertainment at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. From the Media Institute for Social Change, the new Minor is Social Change, and the new Major in Games for Health from the Interactive Media
July 15, 2015
The art and industry of animation is changing. What used to be thought of as entertainment for children, has now moved into serious dramatic storytelling, visual art, serious games, a blend with live action, a demonstration tool for scientists and architects and much more.
July 8, 2015
Inspired by the power of film to impact social and cultural perceptions, Mahin Ibrahim ’14 hopes to tell stories about race, religion, and identity in her films. In a recent interview, Ibrahim shared with us her experience as one of the student directors of Don Quixote, her growth as a filmmaker during her time at SCA, and also offered her advice to current SCA students.
June 29, 2015
Watch a video of USC Games' Demo Day
SCA Family Stories: Producers of the Land
An interview with recent grads on producing their first film
June 17, 2015
Blake Pickens and Stephen Love Jr. (both Stark ‘14) are two young alumni who are in the trenches of the film world, both indie and studio. Their first feature film, The Land, begins filming in Cleveland this summer and, to give back to the University, the two sat down with SCA Family Stories to discuss their roles as producers, why they chose to work on the Land, and to give advice to students considering becoming film producers.
Commencement Speaker Jay Roach Welcomes New Graduates
June 4, 2015
On May 15th, the 2015 graduating class from the USC School of Cinematic Arts came together with parents, friends, family, faculty, and staff to celebrate the milestone at the Shrine Auditorium across the street from USC
June 3, 2015
Isabella (Bella) and Olivia (Olie) Cohen ’18 both radiate an infectious enthusiasm for providing a platform for strong and multi-dimensional female characters in their work. Having finished their first year at SCA, the Cohen twins reflected on their freshman year, their shared passion for screenwriting, and their work with the “Humans of USC” project.
June 2, 2015
With his vibrant passion for honest and genuine storytelling evident in his work, Aneesh Chaganty ’13 is the director of the Google Glass short film Seeds and currently a member of the Google Creative Lab Five team. Chaganty recently shared his experience as an SCA student and a Google Fiver, and also discussed the power of a good story.
May 27, 2015
Linda Brown's documentary, You See Me, which is about the scars that family secrets can leave, premieres at the festival.
May 8, 2015
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, commemorated The Simpsons’ 25 years on the air by creating a statue of Bart’s masked alter-ego, Bartman, who first appears in the show’s second season in the episode, “Three Men and a Comic Book.” The statue is now a permanent installation in the Harold Lloyd Lobby in the Steven Spielberg Building.
May 8, 2015
Starting in the 1980s speculative-fiction writers created a subgenre—cyberpunk—that not only predicted but also helped shape the future. On April 24th the School of Cinematic Arts hosted the USC Visions and Voices event Cyberpunk: Past and Future that feature some of the genre’s most interesting voices including Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, Nalo Hopkinson and Mark Pauline.
May 7, 2015
The Game Innovation Lab at the School of Cinematic Arts has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for projects directed by Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) chair, Tracy Fullerton.
May 6, 2015
With her own game design studio, Flying Mollusk, and an award-winning game to her name, Erin Reynolds ’12 has made great strides in the gaming industry shortly after graduating from SCA. Reynolds recently discussed her time as a student at SCA, her thoughts on the future of game design, and her blossoming career and accomplishments as a game designer.
May 4, 2015
Kevin Feige, known as the Mastermind of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), has achieved incredible success with the comic book franchises he oversees. As President of Marvel Studios, he has produced every film in the MCU, including Iron Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened at midnight on April 30th and quickly became the No. 2 biggest US box office opening of all time at $191.3M, second only to its predecessor, The Avengers. With hit after hit, Marvel’s impressive streak of blockbuster successes are due in no small part to Feige’s unflagging dedication to making great films, and his clear creative vision for MCU’s eclectic army of superheroes.
April 28, 2015
2014 is a huge year for SCA student, Jean Canellas. Not only is the IMGD senior graduating in May from the #1 ranked games program in the country, he’s also founded his own production company and signed a development and distribution deal with Adult Swim for his 2D action-RPG, Death’s Gambit. We caught up with Jean during his whirlwind year to talk about his breakthrough in the games industry, his creative and artistic vision for games, and what he’s learned along the way.
April 22, 2015
On February 13, 2015, SCA hosted an exclusive presentation of Return to Oz (1985) as part of the "Movies We Love" screening series. The showing was followed by a Q&A moderated by Alex Ago with Academy Award-winning director Walter Murch and Producer Paul Maslansky.
In Memoriam: Richard L. Bare
Alum, Professor, and Iconic Director
April 21, 2015
The School of Cinematic Arts reflects on the life of Richard Bare, part of SCA's first generation of students and perhaps the School's first true success story, with over 120 directorial credits through his prolific career. He died at the age of 101.
April 21, 2015
Alumni, Hollywood studios, technology companies, parents and friends have given more than $175 million for endowed faculty chairs, student scholarships and state-of-the-art facilities as part of the Campaign for USC.
April 20, 2015
Luis Iga, an M.F.A. candidate in Film & Television Production slated to graduate in May, wrapped principle photography in early March for a micro-budget horror film for the Latino market. With the working title, Murder in the Woods, the feature was written by Latina USC alum, Yelyna de Leon, and is fully casted with Latino and minority talent. The film is Iga’s debut directing and producing a feature.
April 17, 2015
The Mellon Mentoring Awards, given annually at the University of Southern California, honors faculty members who have shown exceptional commitment to mentorship. The distinguished professors who receive it have helped to create a culture of academic and professional support throughout the University, whether that is offering one-on-one guidance to students or to other faculty. This year, two such professors from the School of Cinematic Arts were recognized for their dedication to mentorship: Mary Pickford Endowed Chair Doe Mayer and Broccoli Endowed Chair for Producing, John Watson.
Master Class: SPIKE JONZE
A Recap of Writer/Director Spike Jonze's Visit to SCA
April 14, 2015
The "Master Class" series looks back on great visits to SCA classrooms. Today, we examine Spike Jonze' visit to Jason Squire's case study class "Art and Industry of the Theatrical Film" (CTPR 386).
April 14, 2015
On February 6th, 2015, Academy Award-winning director of such acclaimed films as The Exorcist and The French Connection, William Friedkin, gave a fascinating talk about his varied and exceptional career in Hollywood, following a screening of his 1977 classic, Sorcerer.
April 13, 2015
Graduating from SCA in 2014 with an M.F.A. in Film & Television Production, Jordan Ledy has since been premiering his documentary thesis film, It’s Better in Italian, at film festivals across the country. Ledy is a New York native who has performed in all aspects of filmmaking. He graduated in 2008 from Columbia University with a B.A. in English Literature and Jazz Studies and went on to shoot and edit several international documentary films during his time at USC.
SCA Family Stories: Paisley Smith and Genie Deez
Two Trojan Scholarship Winners Chat with SCA
April 10, 2015
Paisley Smith and Genie Deez are two students in the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Production Division who, in addition to their school work, found time to make their own web series for children Hangin’ with Genie.
April 10, 2015
Otherworld Interactive, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality content studio co-founded by 3 SCA alums, is breaking down boundaries while building brand new worlds. Andrew Goldstein, Robyn Gray, and Michael Murdock, the visionaries behind Otherworld's impressive slate of virtual reality experiences, met as students in the master's program in SCA's Interactive Media & Games Division.
April 9, 2015
On February 8th, 2015, SCA hosted an exclusive screening of The Duff at the Ray Stark Family Theatre as part of the SCA Alumni Screening Series. A Q&A session with the film's director, SCA alum Ari Sandel, followed the screening.
April 8, 2015
With her beginnings as a performer in her back pocket, Tracy Oliver ’10 has found her greatest passion in writing. Already boasting the success of her wildly popular web series, Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, Oliver recently completed her first studio feature, Barbershop III, and continues to write for the Starz show, Survivor’s Remorse. Oliver recently discussed her transition from a performer to a writer and producer and also shared the lessons she has learned while maturing as a writer herself.
April 8, 2015
What Makes a Monster, an expansive exhibit that spans 5 libraries across USC’s campus, from its primary location in Doheny Memorial Library to its satellite exhibitions in the Helen Topping Architecture & Fine Arts Library, the Norris Medical Library, the Science and Engineering Library, and the VKC Library for International and Public Affairs, explores the historical, anthropological, and cultural aspects of monsters in society. The project represents an unprecedented collaboration between the University’s divisions, including SCA.
SCA Gets “Fresh Off the Boat”
Television Symposium Welcomes Hit Show
April 7, 2015
In 2015, television has undergone a renaissance in diversity. With hit shows Empire and alum Shonda Rhimes’ personal television empire of Scandal, Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, andHow to Get Away with Murder, diversity is on the rise in television and Trojans are at the forefront. Fresh Off the Boat, a show run by alum Nahnatchka Khan is the first comedy on a broadcast network to feature a predominantly Asian cast in two decades. On April 6th, Howard Rosenberg’s Television Symposium course hosted Khan, writer Melvin Mar, and writer Sanjay Shah. The Q&A was moderated by Howard Rosenberg and was preceded by a screening of Margaret Cho’s All American Girl, Black-ish, and two episodes of Fresh Off the Boat.
SCA Family Stories: Nina Sadowsky
Writer, Producer, and Professor talks with SCA
April 6, 2015
In a diverse career that has included work as an entertainment lawyer, executive, producer, director, writer, author, and beloved USC professor, Nina Sadowsky recently added one more title to her resume: Mentor for the Humanitas New Voices program. SCA sat down with Nina recently to discuss her new role with Humanitas, her new novel, and her ongoing love of writing and teaching.
Visions and Voices Presents: Measures & Frames
An Immersive Visual Music Event
April 2, 2015
Innovative, immersive, visionary. These are not terms ordinarily associated with contemporary classical music and string quartets. Then again, Visions & Voices’ Measures & Frames, performed for a packed house at Newman Hall this past Saturday, was far from an ordinary concert.
Fritz the Cat
SCA Welcomes Revolutionary Animator Ralph Bakshi
March 27, 2015
The history of animation has many luminaries in art, technology, business, and innovation. None of them are as beloved or bizarre as writer/director and animator Ralph Bakshi, who visited the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) after a screening of his X-rated cartoon feature Fritz the Cat. The screening was followed by a Q & A moderated by SCA Director of Programming Alessandro Ago and was presented by Visions and Voices. Fritz the Cat tells the story of a cat who studies at New York University trying to find truth in the subcultures of the revolutionary 60s.
Ron Meyer Visits SCA
Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal fields questions from students
March 26, 2015
Ron Meyer’s unique blend of wisdom, wit, and raw honesty is always welcome at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. On March 25th, Meyer, the Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, spoke to a capacity crowd in the Ray Stark theatre in a Q&A led by Associate Dean and Head of Student Industry Relations Larry Auerbach. Meyer covered topics ranging from the theme park business, being a good agent, finishing Furious 7 after star Paul Walker’s death, and the gamble of making a Fifty Shades of Grey film. He also fielded questions from the capacity crowd of students.
March 25, 2015
The Princeton Review ranked USC Games the number one video game program in 2015 for its undergraduate programs. Either the graduate or the undergraduate program has been ranked the number one program for six years straight. USC Games represents an exciting collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts' and the Viterbi School of Engineering's.
March 16, 2015
USC School of Cinematic Arts held the IMAX Filmmaker Screening Series on March 8 2015, presented by the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA). It was the first major screening for cinema students in our new Michelle & Kevin Douglas IMAX Theater and Immersive Lab in the Robert Zemeckis Center.The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) screened three films followed by conversations with filmmakers and industry leaders. The screenings were a great opportunity for cinema students to learn more about telling stories for the giant screen.
March 13, 2015
As career week comes to a close here at SCA, students will be walking away from the events with a firmer understanding of the highs and lows of breaking into the film industry, covering everything from how to make a great pitch to crowdfunding a new film project.
March 13, 2015
Team Overly Kinetic of SCA’s Interactive Media and Games program took home the “Ones to Watch” Award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) video game awards ceremony on March 12, 2015. The core of Team OK is made of up 4 SCA students: Kevin Wong, Alec Faulkner, Catherine Fox, and Esteban Fajardo.
March 11, 2015
iMAP PhD candidate, Laila Shareen Sakr has been featured in the Chronicle for her insightful research into how social media has been used to effect change in the Middle East.
March 11, 2015
It may sound corny and it might sound trite, but any successful filmmaker will tell you that friendships are crucial in the movie business. On March 10th, Oscar-winning filmmaker Norman Jewison and Head of Student Industry Relations Larry Auerbach put their friendship of over three decades on display at An Evening with Norman Jewison at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Jewison and Auerbach’s friendship started when Auerbach was his agent at the William Morris Agency in New York.
March 9, 2015
Starting Fall 2015, students will be able to minor in Media and Social Change at the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). The curriculum for this new major will be geared toward studying how different types of media have propagated social change, the successes and failures of these methods, and how students can create impactful media themselves.
March 5, 2015
Global issues of climate change and resource depletion are hot topics that are coming increasingly under media scrutiny as we move deeper into the 21st century. Hoping to “inform, educate, and document violations to the life and resources of our planet,” Gavin Garrison ’12 produces documentaries highlighting eco-disasters around the globe, including the Costa Concordia crash in the Italian Archipelago in 2012 and the ever-worsening pollution problems in Beijing. Now a producer for Animal Planet’s longest running show Whale Wars, Garrison shared with us his firsthand look at filming in Antarctica on the front lines of one of the world’s longest-running eco-battles.
March 5, 2015
USC Games students and alumni won the Best Design and the Seumus McNally Grand Prize at the the Independent Game Festival on March 4th, 2015.
Movies We Love: The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes Speaks after Beloved Film
March 2, 2015
One of the biggest perks of graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts SCA is being exposed to great films, television shows and video games and the minds behind them. To further this mission, Movies We Love is a screening series at SCA where alumni and friends of the School bring in films to discuss with the filmmakers. On February 25th, alum Tim Dowling hosted actor and author Cary Elwes for a screening of The Princess Bride, the cult film which was rated one of the top 100 screenplays ever written by the Writer’s Guild of America. The Q and A was moderated by Director of Programming Alex Ago.
SCA Family Stories: Jon Noble
The Sloan recipient discusses his film
March 2, 2015
Jon Noble, a recent grad from the USC School of Cinematic Arts was awarded a 2014 Sloan Grant for his story about a group of Polish scientists who fake a typhus outbreak during World War II – ultimately saving thousands of lives. Jon sat down with SCA Family stories to discuss his process, his time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and how students can take advantage of the Sloan program.
February 27, 2015
Tracy Fullerton, division chair of IMGD and director of USC Games, is being honored as Game Changer of the year at the 12th annual Games for Change Awards.
February 26, 2015
On January 27th, 2015 a special screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant's Graveyard took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Director B. Harrison Smith, Actors Billy Zane, Felissa Rose, Dee Wallace, Executive Producer Jeff Trainer, and Director of Photography Charlie Anderson.
SCA Family Stories: Youngmin Kim
The Director of Room 731 Sits with SCA
February 25, 2015
When Youngmin Kim received his M.F.A. in Film Production in 2014, he took his thesis film, Room 731, to festivals around the world. The film, inspired by true events of the Japanese concentration camp known as Unit 731 during World War II, follows an amnesiac girl as she travels through an abandoned prison filled with tortured spirits who mean her harm. In this interview, Youngmin talks about the rigors of taking a film from conception to the screen, how he approached melding historical fact with an artistic vision, and what it was like presenting his film at festivals around the world.
February 24, 2015
When it comes to making films, sometimes it’s essential to check your ego at the door. From scrapping together the funds to put together a production, to working collaboratively with a team to breath life to a shared vision, there’s no room for anyone giving less than their full effort. It’s a lesson that a team of USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) grads learned in spades while working on their first feature, The House on Pine Street – a largely self-funded venture, initially backed by a successful, but modest Kickstarter campaign.
February 23, 2015
It’s an exciting time for mobile game development. Firefly Games, co-founded by SCA alum Justin “KJ” Lin, has raised $8 million to distribute popular Asian mobile games to the US market. It’s a significant achievement for any organization, and remarkable for a company that was only founded one month ago in January 2015.
Harvey Weinstein Visits SCA
Head of Weinstein Company Discusses his Career with Students
February 23, 2015
There are certain people who, undoubtedly, changed the trajectory of filmmaking, not only in the United States but around the globe. Although writers, directors and actors are often the focus of media and critical attention, executives such as Warner, Eisner, Katzenberg and Tartikoff also fall into this category. In the 90s, independent film rose to the forefront of the media culture and Harvey Weinstein was the architect behind the scenes. With films such as The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Silver Linings Playbook, Pulp Fiction, Clerks and The Artist, Weinstein has cemented his reputation as a singular talent, driving indie filmmaking. On Thursday, February 19th, Weinstein visited the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) for a Q&A with SCA Director of Programming Alex Ago, and SCA students.
Legendary Writer/Director screens Return to Oz
February 19, 2015
An evil queen who removes her head and keeps it in a cupboard. Minions with wheels for feet. An evil gnome king attempting to assume a physical form. A sassy talking rooster. These are the things that cult movies are made of. Return to Oz, the 1985 film depicting Dorothy Gale’s return to the land over the rainbow is one of the most beloved and bizarre film sequels in cinematic history and the USC School of Cinematic Arts hosted co-writer/director Walter Murch and producer Walter Maslansky on February 13th as part of the Movies We Love series.
February 18, 2015
On February 6, 2015, Academy Award-winning director, William Friedkin lit up the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre with a fantastic talk about his legendary career.
Trojan Vision Can't Stop
After seventeen years, SCA's student operated network is better than ever
February 11, 2015
Just two minutes after you enter the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, the home of Trojan Vision, it’s clear that this is not a typical classroom environment. Though working at Trojan Vision is a fundamental part of CTPR 409: Practicum in Television Production, the work demands dedication and time that extends far beyond the on-paper requirements.
February 10, 2015
Alum Doug Blush checks in from Park City
February 10, 2015
Numerous USC SCA Interactive Media and Game Design graduates were nominated for their work at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) and the Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) in 2015. The IGF Awards honor the best designers in independent gaming and strive to encourage innovation in game development, while the GDCA are the premier accolades for peer recognition in the digital games industry.
February 5, 2015
Discovering her passion for TV and film in SCA’s Division of Writing, Heather V. Regnier ’08 found supportive communities among her fellow SCA alumni as she embarked on her screenwriting career after graduation. Now writing for not one, but two big hit series, Falling Skies and Sleepy Hollow, Regnier recently discussed her journey as a screenwriter and her definition of success.
SCA Has Banner Year in Park City
February 4, 2015
Careers are made at the Sundance Film Festival. Across generations, filmmakers from Bryan Singer to Ryan Coogler have started their storied careers at the Park City Festival. This year, 33 films with Trojans in key positions were shown at Sundance/Slamdance and 5 films were sold.
February 2, 2015
A team of SCA Alums has taken home the $1,000,000 grand prize in Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” Commercial Contest.
January 30, 2015
In a generous show of support for film education and academia, acclaimed director Ridley Scott has donated his extensive collection of film memorabilia to the School of Cinematic Arts. The collection, which includes scripts, photography, storyboards, production-design boards, and other items, commemorates Scott’s remarkable, 40-year career as a feature-film director.
January 29, 2015
As filmmakers we often hear the saying that documentaries are “stranger than fiction” and that if you wrote this as a narrative script no one would ever believe you. FINDERS KEEPERS that I had the privilege of editing together with directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, takes the term “stranger than fiction” to a new high. It is by far the funniest and most bizarre tale that has ever come my way involving a pitched legal battle over the ownership of a severed leg.
[SUNDANCE BLOG} Ross Putman
Alum Discusses his history at Sundance
January 28, 2015
Sundance is a weird place. It’s a confluence of so many things at one time, it’s often difficult to gain your bearings. And in some ways, it’s as though the festival prefers it that way; your senses off-kilter and unaccustomed, struggling to make sense of the winter wonderland in which you find yourself. There are the massive mansions overlooking the city, designed like one might imagine a mountain-chalet-Vegas-themed casino to look, complete with massive screening rooms, picture windows, and color schemes evincing a particular attachment to shades of brown. There are the theaters, strewn throughout the valley and not easily connected between (or certainly, not with swiftness), holding such varied numbers of people between them that it does not seem inappropriate to read, in the subtext, some prejudice against a particular film built-in to the assignation of a smaller screening venue. Then there are the restaurants, clearly designed almost entirely for the yearly-visiting visiting Angelenos, every guest grumbling at the cost, quietly suspecting that there might, in fact, be a “regular” menu that costs significantly less, distributed literally every day that isn’t during the festival.
[SUNDANCE BLOG] Doug Blush
Documentarian Checks in from Park City
January 27, 2015
Hello to all at SCA and beyond…I’m Doug Blush, currently at Sundance 2015 with the new documentaries THE HUNTING GROUND (as co-editor and associate producer) as well as SEMBENE! in the International Documentary Competition (as consulting editor). This is just a quick first greeting before a big ramble to come about our films, what Sundance is about this year, and what it means to have a premiere (or two!) here. These are my eighth and ninth films in the festival over the last decade, and the first year I also come to Park City as a faculty member…I’m teaching 535 Intermediate Editing at USC this semester!
January 26, 2015
On December 3rd, 2014, a special screening of Print the Legend took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. A Q&A Session with Director Luis Lopez and Co-Producer Andrew Kortschak followed the presentation, in a panel moderated by Alex Ago.
January 26, 2015
SCA swept the winnings for the Humanitas Prize in 2014, with two alumni being honored for their pilot scripts. Both winners are 2014 graduates of the M.F.A. Writing for Screen & Television program.
January 23, 2015
On December 2, 2014, a screening of The Guide took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. A Q&A session with Writer-Director Oles Sanin and Writer Paul Wolansk followed the presentation in a panel moderated by Distinguished Professor, Mark Jonathan Harris.
Sundance Blog 2015
Over 30 Films with Trojans in Key Positions to Debut in Park City
January 22, 2015
The 2015 Sundance Blog is coming just around the corner. This year, over 30 films will be screened at Sundance and Slamdance. See below for the list of names.
To follow the blog, please visit: sundance.usc.edu
Trojans Crash the Superbowl – Again
SCA Grads are finalists for Doritos Contest
January 22, 2015
Every year, the Doritos’ "Crash the Super Bowl" Contest, a commercial competition judged by popular vote, awards a $1,000,000 prize to the winners. This year, two teams of SCA alums made it to the final 10. Middle Seat, a commercial by SCA graduates, Scott Zabielski, Genevieve Younce Zabielski, Chris McKinley, Andrew Huebscher, Jason Cochard, and Shelley LaRue, follows one man’s quest to keep the middle seat in his airplane aisle empty. In the other finalist, Lemonade Stand -- created by SCA duo, Dave Horowitz and Nick Sivakumaran -- a little girl finds a creative new way to maximize her lemonade stand profits.
Don Quixote - A Palm Springs Recap
Massive Student Feature Film Debuts in Class Taught by James Franco
January 21, 2015
Making the student feature film, Don Quixote, was a monumental task. The film took ten directors, a full writers room, a cohort of producers, and Academy Award-nominated actor, James Franco, as an instructor. Don Quixote clocks in as the longest student production in the last two decades at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and was not only a massive accomplishment in storytelling, but also a lesson in the ego-checking art of collaboration. The film debuted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to a capacity crowd.
Sloan Science Seminar: World Building - The Art & Science of Storytelling
SCA Hosts Exhibition of World Building Technology
January 21, 2015
One of the most compelling developments in modern filmmaking is how evolving technologies influence how artists express themselves. The USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has long been on the forefront of debating the importance of technological developments to creators and, on January 16th, the School hosted a panel discussion on one of cinema’s current cutting-edge applications of technologies: World Building. The panel covered world building as a function of pre-production in films, world building in the modern city and how transmedia is being increasingly controlled by fans.
January 20, 2015
On November 17th, 2014, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, spoke at length to an audience at the School of Cinematic Arts, in a discussion moderated by Dr. Richard B. Jewell.
January 15, 2015
MAP Ph.D. Candidate Nonny de la Peña’s Use of Force – an immersive, virtual reality experience that places users in the eyes of a bystander on the night an undocumented immigrant, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, was beaten to death by U.S. Border Patrol officers – was featured in a new BuzzFeed video. Their coverage highlights the project’s effective use of virtual reality for journalistic purposes, despite the medium’s more entertainment-based focus.
January 14, 2015
White Bird in a Blizzard, written and directed by SCA Alumnus, Gregg Araki, screened at the School of Cinematic Arts on October 19th, 2014. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Araki, moderated by Katie Walsh.
January 14, 2015
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000), the Academy Award-winning documentary by Distinguished Professor, Mark Jonathan Harris, was selected for addition to the National Film Registry for 2014.
January 8, 2015
Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire was inducted into the DeTao Masters Academy as “Master of Entertainment Industry Studies,” spending Thanksgiving in Shanghai presenting a workshop at the Academy and lecturing at the Shanghai Library.
Publishing that takes the E-Book to New Dimensions
January 8, 2015
All digital writing is not created alike. A student writing for the SCA website might be happy that the illustration of her blog post is just one embedded movie or game trailer. But when working on her thesis project she needs to reference so many different kinds of media that linking, embedding and referencing becomes a new-media nightmare.
January 6, 2015
Gary Rydstrom ’81 is a seven-time Academy Award winner for his pioneering work in sound on such films as Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Jurassic Park and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Rydstrom makes his feature debut as a writer-director on the Lucasfilm animated musical Strange Magic, which releases in theaters on January 23. Juggling a full slate of work in the sound room with his “new” career, Rydstrom recently discussed his unique journey as a storyteller.
Student Games on Display
December 15, 2014
Demo Day is an exhibition of student video games that has been hosted at USC for more than five years. In addition to exhibitions of student games and a video games industry career fair, this fall’s version of USC Games’ biannual event introduced what program director Tracy Fullerton said she hoped would be a “new tradition”—a panel on the future of the industry. Titled “Beyond Platforms and Publishers? A Look at the Future of Video Games,” the discussion was led by Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) professor Richard Lemarchand and featured three alumni, Kellee Santiago of OUYA, Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk and Nate Burba of Survios. They were joined on the panel by Ophir Lupu, who heads up United Talent Agency’s (UTA) video games division, and Clinton Foy of the investment firm CrossCut Ventures.
December 15, 2014
Glasgow Phillips, Head of Video at StarMaker Interactive, spoke at special seminar about online content, social media, and creative branding at the School of Cinematic Arts on October 14, 2014.
December 9, 2014
On November 14th, 2014, SCA hosted a special screening of Miss Meadows, followed by a Q&A with Actress Katie Holmes and Producer Rob Carliner, moderated by SCA Alumnus Timothy Dowling
SCA Family Stories: Brenda Goodman
Professor Goodman talks about her new film Sex(Ed)
December 5, 2014
In the overview video which the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) uses to recruit students, producer/Trojan alum Sev Ohanian talks about the faculty’s dedication to their students at SCA and he mentions that, even though he’s graduated, he can still call Brenda for advice at any time. The Brenda in question is director/producer/writer/educator Brenda Goodman, the head of the Producing Track in the Film & Television Producing Division. Goodman is known for her hands-on approach with student filmmaking, her honesty with students and her unique style of mentorship which lasts for entire careers.
December 4, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director, James Gunn spoke at length about his writing process, his directorial vision, and the difficulties of helming a big budget film in a visit to Jason Squire’s Art and Industry of the Theatrical Film class on November 18th. His epic space fantasy, Guardians of the Galaxy, which follows a ragtag band of intergalactic, alien outlaws as they try to save the galaxy from a power-mad warlord, was a massive hit at the box office this past summer, enjoying five non-consecutive weeks at number one and setting the record for the highest August opening in film history.
December 2, 2014
Sylvester “Marty” Shelton’s cinema career began under unique circumstances. Now a retired naval intelligence officer, Marty had been called into active duty during the Korean War, where he was offered the chance to attend the Navy School of Photography in Pensacola, Florida.
December 2, 2014
On October 21st, 2014, SCA hosted a special screening of Nightcrawler, followed by a Q&A with writer-director Dan Gilroy, moderated by Alex Ago.
Alum Directs Web Series on Ballerina
Sheldon Candis' Piece on Misty Copeland Goes Viral
November 25, 2014
Before she rises on pointe for her exquisite relevé – before she gets anywhere near the ballet barre – Misty Copeland’s strength, poise, and grace is undeniable.
November 25, 2014
Instrumental in bringing Twilight to the big screen as a creative director at Summit Entertainment, and now overseeing the Divergent series as Executive Vice President of Production at Lionsgate, SCA alum Gillian Bohrer is a dominant figure in the film industry. Because of the impressive spate of blockbusters released under her helm, Variety has named her one of “Hollywood’s New Leaders in Film.”
Longtime Executive Visits SCA
November 21, 2014
Careers in the entertainment industry rarely last several decades. They rarely cross over from television, film and internet properties. They rarely span the public and private sector. Legendary executive Michael Eisner has beaten the odds on all counts. Eisner is currently the president of the Tornante Company which oversees investments such as candy companies and the television show Bojack Horseman.
AMPAS @ SCA
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs comes to the School of Cinematic Arts
November 19, 2014
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), visited the School of Cinematic Arts on Monday November 17 for a candid conversation about the Academy’s mission and work. The evening consisted of Boone Isaacs in conversation with Professor Rick Jewell, the Hugh M. Hefner Chair for the Study of American Film, after which she took questions from the audience.