July 10, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

Locking and Popping in New York City

Tisch’s own Alan Watson, administrative coordinator at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and instructor for the Open Arts summer course Steps Rhythm, and Movement of Hip Hop Dance, will be competing in the hip-hop dance competition StepYaGameUp 2014. This is one of New York City’s most anticipated annual dance competitions.

Alan Watson's photo by Samantha L. Siegel

Alan took some time out today to answer a few questions for us.

How did you get involved in hop hop dance?
After studying briefly in high school, I got involved in hip hop when I moved to New York City to become a student at NYU. Since then, I’ve studied different forms of freestyle hip hop, danced with a few different crews, and now primarily teach and battle.

How would you describe your style of dance?
When I’m battling, it’s all about being funky and charismatic, as I compete in the “Locking” categories at battles. When I’m teaching, I hope to infuse freestyle into my hip hop choreography. In either case, I’m usually keeping it fun with deep connection to the music.

web-AlanWatson-SamanthaLSiegel-46Who influences your moves?
Most of my moves are influenced by “old school” party grooves, popping, locking mixed together to create something new and fresh. I’m always trying to keep a connection to the old while infusing some of the new.

Is this your first time competing at StepYaGameUp?
I’ve competed in StepYaGameUp for 4 years, and each year I feel like I get closer and closer to the goal of eventually winning. We’ll see how this year turns out :)

StepYaGameUp 2014 is produced by the first hip-hop dance choreographer and dance pioneer, Buddha Stretch. The event will be held on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19. Judges on the panel include legendary pioneers in street dance and international street dancers. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Photos of Alan Watson by Samantha L. Siegel.

June 27, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

RADA Helped Marcela Unlock Her Tools

Marcela Biven ’14 (BFA, Drama) spent her final semester at Tisch School of the Arts as part of the London program Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. We often hear from our RADA program’s alumni that the experience is unlike any other and here Marcela shares her personal story of getting what she “craved” in London.

Why did you want to be part of a specialized program in the Arts of Shakespeare?
As actors we are apprentices to language. We are a playwright’s vessel for the transference of meticulously placed words on a page into agents of change. There is no better way of befriending language then working with Shakespeare. To be immersed and eventually freed from the seeming “confines” of Shakespeare’s vernacular and pentameter was a prospect that enticed and excited me about RADA. Scores of great actors have revered Shakespeare as an actor’s best work out and that was exactly what I craved: material that demands engagement of an actor’s intellect, sentimentality and empathy.

A unique point of the program at RADA is the one-on-one tutorials offered to students. What did you learn about yourself in the tutorials?
Classes at RADA provide a good deal of creative and technical intimacy with the teachers. Generally we worked in two groups of eight. Yet, it was in the one-on-one tutorials that I decisively quit prioritizing my work ethic for time to productively explore. It was in these tutorials that the pressures of “right and wrong” and “good and bad” dispersed from my consciousness and confidence took root. The teachers became creative confidants urging me to never settle but to keep moving forward and through the text, to relax, breathe and let the words coming out of my mouth surprise and excite me.

Spring 2014 RADA cast of Titus Andronicus with director Mel Jessop.

Spring 2014 RADA cast of Titus Andronicus with director Mel Jessop.

Students in the RADA program also collaborate with screenwriting students in the spring and playwriting students in the fall. Please tell us about your collaboration with the writing students?
The collaboration between the screenwriters and the actors kicked off directly after finishing our program and final show at RADA. It was a thrilling time where we diverted from time honored work saturated with the imprint of great portrayals past to explore the fresh, incredible imaginations of our peers. With the writer’s scripts, fresh out of the brain bank and the product of their semester’s work, we found the playfulness of creating something new with the best textual litmus tester as our aids: the writer of the work! And the scripts varied in genre from sci-fi adventure to heart break and drama. It was in this time that I felt the rigor of the semester in Shakespeare inform the confidence I felt in contemporary work.

London is a popular study abroad destination for students. What made the city exciting for you?
London is where a theater lover finds his kindred spirits. As a young actor this exhilarated me, appealing to me to finagle a way to see every film and show possible. Where New York is a buzzing stimulant, London acts similarly but allows space for thoughts to grow on unfamiliar streets and sights unseen. Taking long walks with friends ultimately would turn into adventures the likes of haphazard dance parties on the West Bank bopping along to Indian music, spur of the moment movies at the BFI, running through water fountains, tiny antique and book shops, many pubs with many different personalities and killer coffee stops. While I was very close to the people in my program, sharing a common language made it possible to strike up friendships outside of NYU London.

Now that you’ve graduated, what from your study abroad experience or training at RADA is influencing your professional career?
I have been given the keys to my own actor’s tool box. For some time I felt that I was collecting instruments of knowledge from my teachers only for them to be placed under lock and key in a box that I could not easily access. Leaving RADA I knew the tools, whether insight from teachers or exercises, that I had collected, recovering those from my earlier studies, and I feel ready to build a life as an actor. Even more, I felt my fear of being seen turn to excitement to share what made me feel whole and alive.

The application for Shakespeare in Performance at RADA spring 2015 will be available on July 1. Please visit the Tisch Special Programs website for the full admissions calendar.

May 23, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

The Anticipation of Tisch and NYC

HighSchoolGeneralIn a little more than one month there will be over 200 high school students coming to New York City to spend four weeks at Tisch School of the Arts. The students will be part of the Tisch Summer High School Program and receive professional training in drama, dramatic writing, filmmaking, photography and imaging, and recorded music, as well as an immersion in the arts and culture of New York City.

This is the first article of our three-part series in which we follow five high school students who have been accepted to the Tisch Summer High School Program. What we first wanted to know as they start preparing for this exciting opportunity is what they are looking forward to and hoping to get out of Tisch and living in NYC. Mid-program we’ll check in with them again to learn all about creating and collaborating. At the end of the summer we’ll share with you their final thoughts on their experience at Tisch.

Now let’s meet Austin Weyant (Drama), Alex Welch (Dramatic Writing), Audrey Elizabeth Thomas (Filmmakers Workshop), Annie Choi (Photography and Imaging) and Spencer Light (Recorded Music).


I am 16 years old (soon to be 17), finishing grade 11. I live in Calgary, Alberta and attend Strathcona Tweedsmuir School, a private school (Grades 1-12), located south of Calgary. I was accepted into the Stonestreet Screen Acting workshop. I applied to Tisch because of its great reputation, and because I know will learn a lot from the instructors (and I want to spend the summer in NYC).

At Tisch, I am most looking forward to being around kids like me, who love movies and acting. I am also looking forward to learning from great instructors and improving my acting skills. What’s not to look forward to in NYC? A burger at the Shake Shack in July, Broadway, Times Sq, Central Park at night.

I am hoping to take away new skills, contacts with great instructors who might continue to mentor me, and a group of new friends. I love SNL! It would be a dream come true to meet some of the cast this summer.
–Austin Weyant

Dramatic Writing

I’m a high school junior living in Weston, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston). I love writing, acting, directing, and dance. I have been accepted to the Dramatic Writing track of study. I applied to this program in order to improve my writing skills, connect with other writers, and spend a summer living and working in New York City at my dream school!

I am most looking forward to working with the incredibly brilliant and qualified Tisch faculty as well as meeting other passionate writers.
I am most looking forward to taking advantage of the amazing cultural opportunities of New York City- seeing plays and analyzing the writing style, etc etc.

I am hoping to leave this program a stronger writer, a better collaborative worker, and with a better sense of myself and my future. I hope to use the cultural offerings of New York City as part of my learning and writing experience this summer
–Alex Welch

Filmmakers Workshop

I live in Seattle, Washington, and I attend Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. I absolutely love to sing and create films. In my spare time I’m involved with multiple leadership activities, as well as different parts of the arts. I was fortunately accepted into the NYU Tisch Summer Film Program! I have wanted to attend NYU since third grade. A few years ago, before I was eligible to apply I found out about the program and have counted down the days until i was able to apply.

I am really looking forward to meeting young filmmakers with dreams like myself. I can’t wait to collaborate and get involved with them to make incredible pieces of art. I can’t wait to explore the NYU campus and meet people!

I am hoping to learn more about the filmmaking process and to work with others that can teach me while I teach them. I’m really quite excited to extend my skills and help them grow. I just want to keep learning! It would be fun to just explore the city for a while, I would love to have an unscheduled evening to just explore.
–Audrey Elizabeth Thomas

Recorded Music

I am from Los Angeles, California and I attend the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California. I am extremely interested in pursuing a career in the music industry. I am very passionate about music production and music business. I was accepted to the Clive Davis Institute of Record Music Summer Program for the summer of 2014. I chose to apply for this program for various reasons. Primarily, the programs description really appealed to my interests, and the offered courses fascinated me. Secondly, New York is my favorite city in the United States and I am counting down the days until I can explore the city with new friends.

I am looking forward to getting a hands on education about how artists effectively work in the studio. I am also looking forward to exploring the arts in New York and seeing the culture of the city in all artistic forms.

I’m hoping to take away a greater understanding of the music industry to be able to make my creative visions come to life, make new friends with similar interests with whom I can collaborate musically with, and gain a new appreciation for all artistic art forms in the diverse city of New York. One thing I would love to do while in New York is try all different types of foods and see the Museum of Modern Art, and if possible see as many concerts as possible!
- Spencer Light

Photography and Imaging

I am a junior at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) High School. I enjoy dancing and taking photos. I dance a variety of genres ranging from hip hop to ballet, and jazz to acrobatics. I help out at my dance studio by hosting photo shoots for the ballerinas in their tutus, and that’s what really sparked my interest into applying for the Tisch Summer High School Photography and Imaging Program.

I’m looking forward to learning all the ins and outs of photography like working with film and black and white images. As of now, I only work with my DSLR camera, but by the end of the program I hope to be able to work with both film and Photoshop.

I’m excited about exploring New York City from eating at their famous Shake Shack to standing in the middle of Times Square. Definitely the one thing I want to do while I’m in New York is visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
–Annie Choi

We can’t wait to talk to our students again! The second article in this series will be posted in July. Will they have had a burger at the Shake Shack by then? We’ll find out!

May 20, 2014
by Alana Bonilla
1 Comment

Four Years Without Coffee

I survived four years without coffee.

Four years ago I was graduating from high school and New York University was my dream school that I would be starting in the fall. That summer I had my very first internship at Warner Bros. Studios in California. When my boss took me out to coffee I ordered hot chocolate (it was the middle of July). He told me that once I moved to New York and was in college all I would drink was coffee. I was a ball of energy and never needed coffee to keep me going.

High School Graduation

When I arrived in August for move-in-day I felt like I was coming home. The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I had participated in the Tisch School of the Arts Summer High School Filmmakers Workshop. That summer made me fall in love with NYU but especially with Tisch. It confirmed that I wanted to study film and more importantly it gave me the opportunity to meet other students that were just as passionate about filmmaking as I was, if not more.

Freshman year

The hardest part of being a freshman was that I didn’t know anything. I went the wrong direction on the subway, I ran out of meal swipes two weeks before school ended and I very quickly spent all my graduation money on Broadway plays, concerts and maybe a little too much shopping.

I also took a class called Three Moments in Witchcraft. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn any spells but I received a good understanding of witches presence throughout history. One of my favorite activities was going on a freshman dorm camping trip! I never thought living in New York City I would have a chance to sleep below the stars.


Freshman year was also my first winter. Since I am from southern California I had never lived in the snow much less owned a winter coat. Having my first snowball fight in Washington Square Park was more fun then I had ever imagined.

First snow angel

As snow turned into flowers blooming I finished my freshmen year.

I returned to Warner Bros. that summer without ever having a sip of coffee. My internship was spent reading scripts and I began to learn the balance of telling a good story and making a lot of money. I enjoyed my summer but I was so excited to go back to school.


My first semester as a sophomore, I enrolled in one of my favorite classes, Sight and Sound: Film. I reunited with my crew from the Tisch Summer High School Program to make five short films shooting on 16mm film and editing on a Steenbeck. Making movies in black and white in New York was simply the best. I did have a few sessions of overnight editing where others were slurping coffee nonstop. I thought I might need coffee but I remained determined and never took a gulp.

we titled our crew Double Indemnity

We titled our crew Double Indemnity


Editing on a Seenbeck

That semester I also took Introduction to Web Design and Computer Principles, I thought I was going to be a computer master but I soon found out the computers were not my thing.

What was my thing was break dance club and joining a sorority. Most of my closest friends were also Film and TV majors. I enjoyed their company but I wanted to get to know other students with different majors. I also wanted to get more involved in the NYU community so I decided to join a sorority. I made friends that majored in chemistry, studio art, and economics. I love Tisch but meeting students who were passionate about something different then me gave me a better understanding of the whole NYU community and not just my Tisch family.

My Sorority

That summer between my sophomore and junior year I worked on Pretty Little Liars at Warner Bros. and had one of my favorite internships ever! I was doing what I loved on a show that was more like a family then anything else. It was difficult to leave my internship but studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic made it much easier. I completed my internship and the next day I flew 12 hours to arrive in Prague!


Studying abroad in Prague was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. I learned the two most important words in Czech: Brambory and Zmrzlina. The first meaning potato and the latter meaning ice cream. I knew no matter what restaurant I went to I would be able to eat both of those things and be happy! For Czechs, instead of coffee, beer was consumed at every meal and was cheaper then water. I shot on 35mm film and also traveled all over Europe. Studying abroad was so valuable because I learned how filmmaking worked in a different part of the world. I liked working with different teaching styles and understanding how to look at telling a story with a different perspective.

Paris Ronda, Spain

For my second semester junior year I returned to New York but I wasn’t quite finished with studying abroad. I enrolled in Topics in Cuban Culture, which is an Open Arts course. All semester we learned about Cuba and for spring break we actually traveled to Havana! It was different then visiting the Czech Republic because I learned about the culture by experiencing it. With Cuba I had an understanding of what it would be like before I went. Meeting the people, dancing and walking around Havana was a beautiful experience. From diving in the ocean to break dance battling a Cuban, it was an experience I am so glad I took advantage of. When I was in Cuba I did have an espresso after every meal but I was soaking in the culture.


I worked at Warner Bros. for my fourth and final summer. I am so glad that Warner Bros. gave me the opportunity to try so many different things while interning and helped me decide what I wanted to do in the entertainment business.

For my fall semester senior year, I worked at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at NBC, 30 Rock and took an Open Arts class that was entitled Motown Legacy. It was a blast working at Jimmy Fallon, taping a live show every day was such a fast paced learning experience that I could not believe how much I got to see. Everyone drank coffee to keep them going but I never had to make it for them. It was also amazing taking a class about Motown. Now whenever a Motown song comes on I can tell you the name of the artist singing and what year it was released.

Jimmy Fallon

I was going to graduate early but I decide that I wanted to get a producing minor and I am so glad I stayed for the final semester. Getting the producing minor opened my eyes to another side of filmmaking that I really enjoyed.

My little sister is a freshman here at NYU in Tisch and I would like to be in New York as she experiences her college career. It is so exciting to watch her go through some of the same experiences and making her own. I still have so much to learn but I am sure it will all go by very fast. I am so happy I took pictures and wrote things down. I have had a variety of shared memories!


I am about to graduate from the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and I can’t believe how fast it went. I now give directions to tourists on how to use the subway. I have my own kitchen and make my own meals. I have become quite the baker. I now know about New York thrift stores and student rush for Broadway. I attend much less concerts and instead use Ticket Central for discounted tickets to movies. My love for NYU has really grown into my love for New York City. I am not ready to leave a city that I am able to navigate so well. I would love to live abroad and may move back to California but I hope to be in New York for at least a little while longer. Moving to New York from California was big step. I am so happy I did it because it gave me so much responsibility. It made moving from New York to Prague a much easier transition. I feel that it has prepared me to make a home wherever I decided to start my career.

I have had several all-nighters including when I spent a whole night on the set of a major motion picture as a background artist and when I stayed up till 4:00am in Prague to hear who won the presidential elections.  My determination has outlasted my need for caffeine for four years!


Working as an background artist on Now you See Me

As I move onto the next chapter of my life I may have a Starbucks cup in hand but I assure you my determination has not dwindled and it is probably nothing more then hot cocoa topped with whipped cream.

May 19, 2014
by Alana Bonilla

Weekend Adventures: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I wanted to spend a day exploring Wiliamsburg because I have heard there is a lot of great food to try and I wanted to visit a new neighborhood. Going to NYU I often find myself getting in the same routine. I like to stay by school because I know which restaurants I like best and I can easily navigate the area. At least once a month I like to challenge myself by visiting another neighborhood to get a better sense of New York City and its boroughs. I feel that I am living in New York City and I should take every advantage to see as much as I can especially when it is only a subway ride away like Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

You may know Williamsburg,Brooklyn as hipster central but there are many more sides to discover of this popular neighborhood with all things old and new. So take the L train to Bedford Ave. and discover Williamsburg on your own!

I visited Williamsburg through different sites but also through my palate. Brooklyn has a vast amount of cuisine spanning from street food to chocolate made from the best cocoa beans in the world. Williamsburg is known as one of Brooklyn’s “foodiest” neighborhoods so come with an empty stomach because it will be more than full when you head home!

Right as you get off the train you will find Oasis. They have a great selection of Mediterranean food that is easy to eat while walking around. I recommend the Falafel, it was delicious and a perfect snack for my weekend adventure.



While walking around Williamsburg keep your eyes open for street art. It could be stickers under your feet stuck to the ground or it could be a mural of a squirrel by ROA. ROA is a very well known street artist who many paints in black and white. He also usually paints animals that are native to the area, like a squirrel for Williamsburg. If you want to see more of ROA’s work here is a great site!

street art


Now that you have had a falafel and have taken in the street art, I recommend dessert at Mast Brothers. A Mast Brothers Chocolate bar was listed in The New York TimesA History of New York in 50 Objects.”It stated “Brooklyn never hit bottom as deeply as the Bronx, but it began hemorrhaging its population in the 1950s in a mostly white, middle-class exodus. Today, the borough is booming again, inching toward its peak population of nearly 2.7 million in 1940, as young couples gentrify neighborhoods that not long ago were considered marginal at best. Brooklyn has also become a global brand, most identified with artisanal businesses, like Mast Brothers Chocolate of Williamsburg, which opened in 2007.”- Lucas Jackson/Reuters


Mast Brothers’ name comes from the sail boats that bring chocolate to them. They pick the cocoa bean that every chocolate bar is made from. This gives each bar distinct flavors. There are free samples of all the chocolate so make sure you choose the right one…. or ones.


My favorite part of Mast Brothers is that everything is made in Brooklyn including the paper the chocolate bar is wrapped in.


After filling your stomach with some lovely delights I would head down to The Sketchbook Project. The Sketchbook Project is a growing library of sketchbooks made by everyday people and well known artists. Anyone can buy an empty sketch book and decorate it however they would like. Once it is filled you return it to the library and it becomes part of the collection. The coolest part is that you can check out the sketchbooks by creating a library card in just minutes! So grab a cup of coffee and relax into a beautiful sketchbook. Oh, and did I mention it is all free?


If you are in Williamsburg on a Saturday and aren’t sure what to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner, head to Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is open from 11am-6pm on Saturday and has over 100 food vendors. It does get a bit crowded and sometimes the lines get a bit long. Here is the video of the wait at Smorgasburg at Mighty Quinn’s BBQ tent vs. going the Might Quinn’s location in the East Village.

While at Smorgasburg I had Dough which makes wonderfully delicious donuts! These donuts are not your average morning treat. I had the hibiscus donut which was not just a perfect shade of pink, but was also to die for. So whether you prefer sweet or savory Williamsburg has it all and this was a great way to end the day.

Here are directions


I had a fantastic time exploring Williamsburg. I got a library card for the Sketchbook Project and found a new love for chocolate at Mast Brothers. I loved visiting a new neighborhood because it reminds me that I live in a place that has so much to offer. One of my favorite parts about living in New York is that so many different things are so easily accessible. In Williamsburg I found a great mix of food to try and street art to take in. I am sure I will be visiting again soon.


Where are your favorite places to go in Williamsburg?






May 14, 2014
by Alana Bonilla

The Importance of Networking

Whether in New York or abroad it is important to network. I am graduating this semester and so happy that I have networked with my peers and my professors who are now helping me find jobs.

The best example of this is my friend May who now works at Pixar. When she was a senior and I was a freshman, I talked to her about her plans after graduation and said she applied to the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Trainee Program among other jobs and internships. She got to the final round of interviews for the DGA and got a job offer from Pixar, so she decided to work for Pixar. When it came time for me to graduate, I decided to apply to the Directors Guild of America trainee program, too. I contacted May for advice and tips since she had already been through the process. I am so happy I made a connection with May because even three years after we first met she was still willing to offer her advice. It really made the process much less stressful. Every step of the way I would let May know if I got to the next round and she would offer more advice. Keep in mind that when someone does give you advice always be very appreciative. May took the time out of her day and I can’t thank her enough!

Making the kind of connection I made with May is just as important when studying abroad. Going abroad is not only about experiencing a new learning environment it is also about taking what you learned abroad and applying it to your career. One of the main points some advisers make about studying abroad is that it’s a great networking opportunity. You’ll meet new people who you will not only collaborate with while in the program but also make connections with for future projects.

Here some fellow students tell us about the connections they’ve made while studying abroad:





May 14, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

Tisch Open Arts Summer Update

Summer in NYCIf the second half of the summer is a better time for you to take classes, you now have three more Tisch Open Arts courses to choose from!
The following courses have been moved to Summer Session II:

Digital Filmmaking (NCRD-UT 680)
July 7-August 15
Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm

This one week filmmaking intensive is a class composed of lectures, discussions, screenings, and exercises designed to engage students in the fundamentals of digital filmmaking and visual storytelling. In this workshop students will work in small groups to write, produce, direct and edit an original short film. The workshop will begin by focusing on viewing and discussing examples of visual storytelling, focusing on technique, intention and narrative structure. Participants will then workshop the practical and aesthetic elements of visual storytelling and relevant filmmaking techniques by using digital video cameras and computer editing. The focus will be on idea development, applying narrative structure to organize ideas and choosing and supporting a meaningful theme by writing and directing with purpose. Starting with creative story idea development and thematic intent and then working through the practical steps of filmmaking, all course elements will be presented in a workshop format in order to develop or enhance the personal experience of the participants. Learn more and register.

Modern Dance: Mind, Body Knowledge (OART-UT 804)
July 7-August 15
Monday & Wednesday, 3:00-5:20pm

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Modern Dance technique that focuses on the dynamic rapport between body-mind knowledge and expression. In movement, students will become more aware and organized in their bodies. They will explore certain aesthetic characteristics that help to define dance material as “Modern” or contemporary. Through structured improvisation and teamwork approaches students will learn to dance from the inside out, exercise choice with imagination and work together as an ensemble. Ultimately, students will gain an appreciation for the expressive capacity of the body, recognizing shared, unifying attributes and those that are unique and intrinsic to each individual. The thorough warm up places an emphasis on breath and proper placement for safe practices and well being. It includes floor work, stretching and strength exercises and patterns that incorporate elements of Bartenieff Fundamentals. Short dances / sequences will be learned to sharpen knowledge of the Modern Dance lexicon and increase facility for translation of weight, space, time and energy ideas. All levels are welcome. No previous dance experience is required. Learn more and register.

Politics of Portraiture (OART-UT 826)
July 7-August 15
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00-5:30pm
This is an undergraduate course which is also open to high school students through the NYU Precollege Program.

This course explores the pictorial articulation of individual human likeness and its fiction in the public forum. The art of portraiture has survived its own origins in myth making and archetype building. The human image, or icon, forever landmarks the voices, textures, physicality, spirituality, symbols, politics, aesthetic concerns and military contexts, religious rituals, government, calendar ceremonies, daily functions, heroic acts and social disorders of diverse cultures throughout recorded history. It is the history of creation, the story of romance, the mark of progress, the record of royalty and the profile of democracy. It is the revolution of fine art and a catalyst of discipline. Imaging the individual in the public eye is the story of humankind. This course bridges the worlds of the oral and written mythologies which inhabit and empower us and the creative manifestation (conscious and unconscious) of these ancient archetypes into contemporary art, media and design. Students will critically rethink the implied and material presence of portraiture in everyday life. Students will gain practical knowledge and insight into the origins and potential power of the archetypes which permeate our collective unconscious.
Learn more and register.


May 7, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

George Lucas Talks to Students in ‘Portait of an Artist’

George Lucas Photo courtesy of IMDb.com.

George Lucas
Photo courtesy of IMDb.com.

If you have been reading the Tisch Special Programs blog this semester, then you know that Tisch Open Arts faculty and teacher in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television Brane Zivkovic has had some talented, award-winning artists as guest speakers in his class Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch. Whether in person or joining the conversation by phone, students were fortunate to get real industry viewpoints from not only film editor and sound designer Walter Murch himself (who joined the class numerous times), but also from directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Mark Levinson; sound production engineer/mixer Chris Newman; composers Osvaldo Golijov and David Shire; authors Charles Koppelman and Lawrence Weschler; actress Fairuza Balk; sound designer and editor Pat Jackson; film preservationist and silent film scholar Rick Schmidlin; screenwriter Gill Dennis; and sound mixer and author/writer/journalist Larry Blake.

Last night’s final class was no exception: award-winning director and screenwriter George Lucas, best known for such films as Star Wars I, II, III, and IVAmerican Graffitti, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, talked to students by phone. The students thought is was going to be a typical last day of class but little did they know this would be a class they would never forget.

Here is one student’s reaction to having George Lucas speak to the class:

This Tuesday, the Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch class was visited (via telephone) by a well known name in the film industry. Without a doubt one of Walter Murch’s most famous collaborators: George Lucas.

What seemed like a routine final class of the semester, occupied by presentations and class evaluations, soon turned into an exciting and informative conversation with one of the most innovative masters of the Sci-Fi genre, and film itself. Fresh off of the coat-tails of May the 4th (International Star Wars Day), Brane began the conversation by asking George how he spent the holiday dedicated to his universe. To which George responded something along the lines of, “I’m retired, so I don’t hear much about it.”

He proceeded by recounting his days with Walter Murch at USC, meeting him in a darkroom as they were working on a class project. The Portrait of an Artist class had begun the semester with the introduction of Lucas’s USC piece THX:1138, as George took us back to this production he revealed to us that it was actually Walter who had the basic idea of this character in a sci-fi world.
As students began to ask questions, George gave us some perspective to his philosophy and approach to filmmaking, specifically stressing the importance of sound. He showed great admiration in Walter’s ability to use sound as music and crafting the soundtrack into a cohesive entity. “Art is technical…” he continued, “that is why it is human, it is human to take charcoal out of the fire and make drawings on the wall, and then we learned how to make drawings that moved people [with different shapes and colors]”.

Lucas continued with his approach when first beginning Star Wars, stating that he knew that he wanted to make a “kinetic and cinematic movie, one that moved technology forward.” He stressed the point, that as filmmakers we should not be bounded by the technical limitations around us. Answering a question that we were all wondering, Lucas claimed that he would have definitely used Walter for Star Wars had he not been working with Coppola on Apocalypse Now. His visit to the Portrait of an Artist: Walter Murch class was a perfect bookend to the semester, and was a class visit that we will not soon forget.
–Ian Wallace

May 5, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

Another First for ‘Portrait of an Artist’

The course Walter Murch: Portrait of an Artist was the first of its kind in the Tisch Open Arts curriculum and now its instructor, Brane Zivkovic, has established another first with the course.

Walter Murch speaking to students via video conferencing tools in pilot mode at NYU.

Walter Murch speaking to students via video conferencing tools in pilot mode at NYU.

The students in the class recently had their final guests for this semester: Walter Murch via video conference and Larry Blake, an award-winning sound mixer and author/writer/journalist, who is also Walter’s friend, joined the class over the phone. What was new about these live conversations was that Walter was not speaking with the students through Skype as he had in the past. Walter joined the class from George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch through video conferencing tools that are currently in pilot mode at NYU.

Professor Zivkovic partnered with NYU ITS for the easy-to-use, high-quality video and audio conferencing which allowed for real-time conversations between the artists and students. As Professor Zivkovic told NYU ITS, “Talking to renowned filmmakers and hearing directly from them about the filmmaking process makes a big difference in getting their perspective.”

Jake Peterson, a student in Professor Zivkovic’s class, said “Walter gave us the great advice that our best way of learning how to make movies was to make movies, and not to limit yourself. Larry Blake also spoke along the same lines, saying no matter what technology is available, it’s better than what Walter had 40 years ago, so there’s no excuse to not go out and make whatever it is you want to make.”

Here is the full article from NYU ITS.
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April 30, 2014
by Mariangela Lardaro

Tisch Special Programs April Newsletter

Newsletter2013_NewLogoWhat are our students doing with the BBC in London?

What are Understanding Story and Politics of Portraiture all about?

What new Tisch courses are offered this summer?

Learn about all this and more in the Tisch Special Programs April Newsletter!