Academic Pandemic

undefinedConcluded a second year as Visiting Professor in the Film department of Ringling College of Art+Design. Needless to say, this was not a typical year in academia. Mid-semester, everybody picked up and went home on the (wise) prompting of the College, to escape the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Undergraduates completed their courses on Zoom.

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Visiting Professorship During the Pandemic

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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.

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The 20/20 on 2020

It’s probably appropriate that a post about the new year gets published January 31, when the year’s already well underway. (You can see I spend a little time at Albuquerque’s Sunport: here’s a shot just before dawn one Monday morning.) So here’s the professional update:

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Visiting Professorship, Year 1

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Ringling College Studio Labs panel: L-R, Dylan McDermott, Andy Armstrong, Terry Borst.

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The academic year is coming to a close and that means I’m wrapping up my visiting professorship at Ringling College Art+Design’s Film department. I’m honored to have participated in the mentoring of a number of senior thesis films, along with senior thesis screenplays and one documentary. Additionally, I moderated a Ringling College Studio Labs panel featuring actor/director Dylan McDermott and legendary stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong, and racked up up a lot of frequent flyer miles ping-ponging between Florida and New Mexico.

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Faculty colleague Damon Maulucci and I discovered we shared the identical fashion coordinator.

As the adjacent photo shows, there were moments of levity during the academic year, and perhaps as a consequence, the College has been kind enough to invite me back as Visiting Faculty next year. Since I know my way around Tampa International Airport pretty well by now, I’ve accepted. You can’t have too many frequent flyer miles.

Meanwhile, my feature film 2-WAY moves forward, and in case you haven’t already liked 2-WAY’s Facebook page … your ‘like’ would really be appreciated, as it helps us with potential investors and marketing opportunities. My co-producer and I have moved forward on fundraising, attachments, and distribution, and if all goes well, we’re hoping to shoot in the Fall. Another feature screenplay I’ve written is in “active development”, and I’ll be working on another feature over the summer.

Stay tuned…it should be an interesting rest-of-the-year…

Moderating Panel Featuring Actor Dylan McDermott

DylanMcDermottExcited to be moderating a Ringling College Studio Labs discussion panel featuring actor/director Dylan (“The Practice“) McDermott and legendary stunt coordinator/A.D./producer Andy (“The Amazing Spider-man 2”) Armstrong, in my role as visiting faculty in Ringling College of Art+Design’s Film department, this Friday, March 22, 2pm, at the Studio Labs.

We’ll be discussing Dylan and Andy’s collaboration last summer that enlisted Ringling Film students in key crew positions. For better or worse, it’s an invitation-only event —– but if you grab an invitation, please come!

And in the meantime, if you’re reading this and still haven’t liked my feature film (in pre-preproduction) 2-WAY on Facebook, well … what are you waiting for? (And the film’s on Instagram as well — go follow!)

Heading into 2019…

2WayIf you connect with me via Facebook or LinkedIn, you already know that my independent feature film screenplay 2-WAY is headed towards production — targeting Fall 2019 if money and schedules all align.

I’m co-producing the film with partner Claudio Ruben, veteran producer and managing director at Garson Studios, which has been busier than ever hosting film/TV productions these past months. If you haven’t already followed 2-WAY on Facebook, now’s your chance. Our film’s also on Twitter and Instagram: @2waythemovie is our handle everywhere. Every follow helps us, as we continue to work on securing independent funding for the film (not surprisingly, film funding is not easy!).

20181022_183117I’m also headed into my second semester as Visiting Faculty in the Film Department of Ringling College of Art+Design in Florida. It’s been an honor being part of a department that The Hollywood Reporter ranked #15 in the nation, working with highly-motivated and creative undergraduates. It also means I rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles. 🙂

I’ve got another indie feature film screenplay (that I’m also producing) making the rounds of possible financing entities (this one’s still under wraps), and another couple of indie features in development with the hopes of moving them forward in 2019. Stay tuned — and I’ll let you know about any new developments on my professional website/blog here.

Joining Ringling College of Art+Design Faculty – F’18

RinglingCollege_Logo_1Very happy to share the news that Ringling College of Art + Design has appointed me as full-time Visiting Faculty in Film, beginning Fall 2018.

This is a very exciting opportunity, as Ringling’s Film department has been ranked #16 in The Hollywood Reporter‘s latest scorecard of American film schools, and Film Head Brad Battersby was recently named by Variety as “mentor of the year.” Visiting artists to the program have included writer/director Kevin Smith (Clerks), actor Justin Long (dozens of screen credits), actress Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), actor Dylan McDermott (dozens of screen credits), cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception) and many more. (Just FYI, Ringling’s Computer Animation department ranks #2 in the country!)

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