6 Film Professors Share Their Teaching Philosophy

Film School, or No Film School? Read these teaching philosophies from rockstar film professors and educators.
Photo by Jakob Owens, Filmmaker and Photographer, LA-PHX. Follow @JakobOwens.


6 Film Professors Share Their Teaching Philosophy


“My approach and philosophy to teaching any course is to motivate and inspire my students, encouraging them to stretch their own learning goals. I engage students with real world assignments and hands-on challenges and try to make the learning process a fun adventure. Because of my professional background and experience, I am able to bring in concrete examples of films and videos that I have worked on, using them as examples to be analyzed. I also believe that students respond and retain lesson plan goals best with hands-on activities. It is important for students to read and understand the information from the assigned text, but the learning experience is even more effective when combined with practical in class work and supporting outside assignments. This, accented with group critiques and discussion, helps to foster a more pro-active learning environment that involves and excites students.”
~David Landau

“I am a filmmaker. I have a disease, it is called ‘production’, and I am contagious. I am not sure I can teach anyone anything, but I know that I learned and I can guide you in your journey. I feel like I am a back country guide, I know the forest and love it and can help you travel along the way. This causes me to have conversations rather than lecture. I make presentations and structure the semester to make sure we make it to our destinations, but each class and each semester is different because the students are different and have different needs and goals. I am as much a student as anyone, and I am learning every day. My attention span is short, I get bored easily, that is why I love production, new problems to solve all the time. I believe in asking questions. Questions directed at the student, at myself, about everything. Some of the questions have answers, some of those I know the answers before I ask, some questions the answers need to be worked out. But living in the questions is an essential part of how I work.”
~Douglas Miller

“The technology is, in the end, not that hard. Be a filmmaker if you have a story you want to tell. Get over the fascination with technology and you’ll be fine. That said, no harm in becoming a technician in the business – it’s a living and it beats working in a cubicle.”
~Federico Muchnik

“My personal teaching style, which I believe is shared by most of my colleagues, is ‘Hands On’. I want my directing students to learn by doing.”
~ Stu Berg

“Philosophically, I’d give 30% lecture time to 70% doing it and instruction while doing.”
~Mimi Edmunds

“A student should learn every piece of equipment that they use.”
~Ted Wachs

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