On Campus News

Los Angeles Film School Expands

By Staff
posted Aug 3, 2009, 17:27

Click here to get a copy of the February 2009 Edition, so you can read and enjoy all of the excellent articles inside. Check out this article in the February 2009 print edition of StudentFilmmakers magazine, page 40 .

LA Film School Adds Three New Degree Programs, Four New Labs, a 4,000 Square-Foot Hollywood Set Sound Stage, and Purchases a Second Theatre to Meet Its New Programs’ Needs

StudentFilmmakers Magazine catches up with Los Angeles Film School(www.lafilm.edu), located in the center of Hollywood, California, to find out about the school’s news and progress since the announcements of the school’s three new degree programs. The new degree programs are an Associate of Science Degree in Film, an Associate of Science Degree in Game Development, and an Associate of Science Degree in Computer Animation.

How are students responding to the new degree programs? Diana Derycz-Kessler, CEO of Los Angeles Film School says, “The response has been great. For our Film program, we have even offered graduates the opportunity to earn an Associate’s by coming back to enroll in general education classes. Our Computer Animation program is going to launch next month while our Game Production program is gearing to start this summer.”

Los Angeles Film School’s Computer Animation Program Director is Bobby Milly; and the school’s Game Development Program Director is Michael Blackledge. Milly has credits on a number of top selling video game titles. He most recently spent time as the Senior Character Artist for Activision Central Technology Group and as the Supervisor of Scan Data Division for all of Central Tech. In addition to his work as a modeler, he has taught at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects for the past 10 years. Blackledge has over 17 years of experience in the entertainment and software industries. He headed worldwide quality for Sony Computer Entertainment (PlayStation) from 2000 to 2007.

In addition to the expansion of Los Angeles Film School’s campus, the school has hosted a number of screenings followed by guest speakers which have included notable writers and directors. Los Angeles Film School’s new Hollywood Set has also become a key part of the school’s curriculum. “Students have been working on a comedy series with real directors, producers and actors,” says Diana Derycz-Kessler.

Interview with Los Angeles Film School CEO Diana Derycz- Kessler and Director of Education, Joe Byron.

StudentFilmmakers Magazine: What things make your programs unique, and stand out compared to other schools?

Joe Byron: Even though The Los Angeles Film School is a complete self-contained campus, it exists in the heart of Hollywood within sight of major studios, venues, and motion picture services. This gives students a complete “Hollywood” experience which enables them to meet with established professionals, use professional services, and create immediate and long-lasting relationships with the industry.

Joe-ByronSFM: Was it difficult or tough for you to get the approval, or accreditation, for your new degree programs?

Diana Derycz-Kessler: Accreditation is a long and timeconsuming process. It requires you to expose all operational aspects of the school and ensure that quality of education and overall services to the students are solid and long-lasting. The school must be strong in all areas before approval can be had. However, it is a worthwhile road because approval meant a level of recognition from a prestigious accreditation institution that what we are doing is right.

SFM: Have you expanded your campus in any way to meet the needs of the new programs?

Diana Derycz-Kessler: Yes, we have added four new labs and a 4,000 square-foot Hollywood Set Sound Stage. The labs are an Avid DX Nitrice lab, a Computer Animation Cintiq lab, and a Game Production lab with X-Box and Dell XPS game stations and a new Adobe editing lab equipped with Mac workstations. All in all, we have 200,000 square feet of facilities, including more than 20 labs and a 345-seat theater. We also purchased a second theater, the Ivar Theater, which resides down the street.

SFM: What kinds of equipment is Los Angeles Film School using now?

Joe Byron: The Los Angeles Film School uses the same equipment that the neighboring professional community uses: Sony HD cameras, Arriflex and Panavision 16mm and 35mm film cameras, DigiDesign ICON and ProTools Sound Editing and Mixing equipment, and Final Cut Pro and AVID picture editing software and consoles.

SFM: Do you have a theatre to view movies in?

Joe Byron: In 2001, we opened our digital high-definition, Dolby Surround, 345-seat THX-Certified Theater. Since then, we have recently added a new Sony 4K projector. It serves host to frequent screenings of major films as well as where students show their thesis projects at graduation.

SFM: Which direction are you going with equipment for the future? And for the near future?

Joe Byron: The Los Angles Film School has close relationships with all major technology developers, and consistently upgrades to current industry standard equipment.

SFM: What is your answer to the age-old question of Film versus Digital?

Joe Byron: Film and Digital moviemaking has a common foundation in the artistic principles of storytelling with pictures and sound. “Film” and “Digital” are both useful tools to support these basics. The Los Angeles Film School will continue to teach and support both areas unless and until the professional industry abandons these sets of tools. LA-Film-School

SFM: Are you looking to, or thinking about, adding any other degree programs or new classes?

Diana Derycz-Kessler: Yes! We are looking to build off of our first animation class, to be followed down the road by game production which should soon be followed by other degree programs.

SFM: Do you have a special message or shout out for your first graduating classes in these new degree programs who will in fact be graduating this summer?

Diana Derycz-Kessler: Follow your dreams and continue to make us proud with your work. The sky is the limit!

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