Thursday, December 6, 2012

Small Studio Education

It's not like it hadn't been tried before:  create an educational program around a working studio, providing real-world production training alongside professional contracting.  I created a similar model at the Academy of Art, but without the studio space.  The strength of this training concept lies in tying creative delivery to deadlines, a better equivalent of the current marketplace.  At 32TEN, we'd set personal portfolio goals for each attendee, and then go about solving for them around our studio production calendar.  The best of both worlds.

Funds tied to studio overhead on the for-profit side would be invested in developing additional stage assets, like high-resolution cameras and DIT stations, lenses, and additional lighting packages which could then be used on the educational side.  I figured that this would be the best way to jump-start a training program without acquired start-up funding.

So that was the plan.


Educational programs are measured by several metrics: access to professional facilities and equipment, program design strength, and faculty.  In order to retain access to industry professionals without providing retainer, I conceived of the Artist in Residence Program at 32TEN Studios.  I would offer office space for contracting in return for faculty performance.  I immediately identified several artists that would benefit from the arrangment:  Catherine Craig, a long-time industry veteran who was in the final stages of writing her independent film, Michael Malione, a mathematician and coder who helped develop Renderman for Pixar and was involved with ILM Training for some years, Sean Mitchell, a professional DP and film director who was in the final edit and post on his mini-independent film, and Jennine Lanouette, a screen-writer and educator in Story Development.   Part of this team would include an affiliation with Michael Buffington, a professional concept and storyboard artist who I had a close relationship with via the Illustration Department at the Academy.

My evil genius plan was coming together, all within the first month of company launch.  I had the facility, the faculty base, a larger network of independent contractors in my phone book, a solid design plan, and access to a rather well-developed educational region in the Greater Bay Area.

All that I required now was a marketing strategy.

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