Visiting Professorship During the Pandemic

Ringling Film Department meeting before the pandemic. I’m “guarding” the Exit door in the back of the soundstage (in ballcap). Perhaps I should have done a little better guarding against the pandemic. Photo: M.Gissing

For the past two years, I’ve served as a Visiting Professor in the Film Department of Ringling College of Art+Design (in Sarasota, FL).

While the weekly commute between New Mexico and Florida was demanding, it’s been a privilege to be part of a highly ranked Film department, filled with motivated undergraduates and top-caliber faculty and staff.

That all changed 2 weeks ago — the end of Spring Break — when the College announced that it was moving to 100% online delivery of curriculum for the remainder of the Spring semester, due to the onrushing coronavirus pandemic.

Which meant I had a week to fly to Tampa, pack up an office and short-term apartment, wriggle out of a rental lease, get stuff shipped via Greyhound, load up the remaining stuff into my Subaru and drive from Sarasota to Santa Fe, across nearly 2000 miles of the American landscape’s quasi-zombie apocalypse.

Ringling Film faculty meeting, via Zoom. I’m in the top row, 2nd from the right.

Which should probably be a feature film screenplay down the line…

But I survived. And after rescuing a Miata from the Sunport, and the aforementioned shipping from the Albuquerque Greyhound station, I’m safely sheltering in place just outside of Santa Fe with my wife … and planning grocery expeditions as if they were secret wartime missions…

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