Teaching Philosophy

As a teacher and filmmaker, I aim to create a learning environment comprised of three things: stimulation of the students’ creativity and voice, provision of the tools for creating original work, and honing historical and philosophical understanding of new media and film, which develops students’ ability to situate and discuss their own practice.

For the last thirteen years, I have worked in broadcasting, education, art, photography, web development and post-production. I am also an actively screening filmmaker, using multiple forms of digital media and photography to structure my personal work. All of my professional and artistic experiences have given me a comprehensive understanding of the way digital and analog medias are used in different aspects of media culture, and consequently, I can offer a broad and thorough grasp of the tools available to students. In short, my teaching methods are informed by my experience as a working artist combined with multi-disciplinary technical expertise.

The ability to join systems of ideas and processes is the key base from which I build curriculum. It is imperative to create an underlying structure and language that will develop the life and voice of the students’ projects. Digital media and its associated technologies change at such a rapid speed that just learning a program is insufficient. To learn the technical language of new media and film, which can then be interpreted and reinvented, is a fundamental necessity.

The theory of montage (Eisenstein, Vertov, Manovitch) says it is not the images themselves, but the way they are ordered and juxtaposed that creates structure and meaning. This can be applied to multidisciplinary media-making practices. I believe meaningful, original work can come from reinterpreting the traditional visual and story structures, blurring the barriers across traditional genres and sub-genres. The world of digital tools, compositing, web and editing provides limitless potential for experimentation and new methods to develop looks and structures in which traditional media development processes are embedded. The revolutionary potential in these tools of media can bolster the creativity in student work. As an instructor, I encourage students to create work with experiential honesty, regardless of the medium.

I work to establish thorough historical and theoretical knowledge while developing technical skills, workflow and interdisciplinary forms of storytelling. In-class, hands-on production combined with constructive dialogue and student collaboration creates a sense of motivation and excitement for students establishing their own media art practice. Viewers are savvier in the current cultural climate of mass media that is created twenty-four hours a day with an unlimited distribution system and an unlimited audience. I use a collaborative classroom environment to help the students build a critical awareness of how their work may be interpreted by this outside world.

It is necessary for curriculum to adapt to student needs and student interest. Actively engaging students comes from a base of respect and open dialogue between faculty and student, and between students. Establishing that environment in the beginning can create successful group dynamics and working relationships for collaborative projects. I also emphasize mutual responsibility in the classroom. Communication and respect are fundamental means of establishing this goal, and a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment for all participants is created everyone is held accountable in their educational roles.

Combining these fundamentals (historical, creative voice, expressive tools, historical knowledge, and collaborative feedback) creates a dynamic learning environment and community. As I focus my energy on teaching, I truly feel nothing is more fulfilling than cultivating the creative voices of media artists, which, of course, in turn informs my own practice.