On Campus News
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
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
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
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.
SFM: Was it difficult or tough for you to get the
approval, or accreditation, for your new degree
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.
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
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!
This article may not be reprinted in print or internet publications without express permission of StudentFilmmakers.com.
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