This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Sam Wootton ’10

Summer Filmmaking Workshop

The Summer Filmmaking Workshop was started by Professor James Steerman “because in those days,” he says, “we couldn’t really accommodate all Vassar students who wanted to study filmmaking in the winter,” and because filmmaking is such a time-consuming process. The program gave students an opportunity “to work with screenwriting and film production in an integral combined way,” which was difficult to find during the loaded class schedules of the winter months.

The program, which has been around nearly as long as the film department itself, is a seven-week intensive course in screenwriting and film production. The students do four film projects of increasing complexity over the seven weeks and work on developing a full-length screenplay. Steerman, who teaches the screenwriting part of the workshop, says, “It’s a way for students who may be thinking of majoring in film to get some filmmaking experience sooner than would otherwise be the case.” Professor Kenneth Robinson teaches the film production portion.

The workshops were “very successful from the beginning,” says Steerman. This year, 15 students participated in the workshop, among them Nathaniel Allister ’10, who worked on, among other things, adapting the ’90s Saturday morning cartoon show Gargoyles into a feature-length screenplay. “Since this was our only class, and fewer people were around this summer, we were pretty obligated to help each other out with shooting all the time, and so got really close with each other really quickly,” says Allister. “This was great because shooting a movie is all about trust and patience.” Allister says his favorite part of the program was shopping with Jon Read ’09 for a wizard hat when both their films featured wizards.

September 2008

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