New program is connecting students with film industry professionals and good-paying jobs.
PITTSBURGH-Students in the Community College of Allegheny County's Film Technician program will present short films they have created at the CCAC South Campus Theatre on Friday, December 15, at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to view the films and to engage with the students in a critique of their final projects, which are designed to demonstrate their proficiency of the film making process. The films will include a romantic comedy, a drama about super heroes, a comedy about Stockholm syndrome, an experimental film about color and a puppet movie about gods discussing the destruction of the human race.
"I think the movies are all wonderful," said P.J. Gaynard, assistant professor, CCAC Film Technician program. "These are some of the first films these students have ever made, and a lot of the work is just incredible."
The students will also show a variety of humorous, fake commercials they have created. On display will be the final project of production design students-a set designed to look like Frankenstein's laboratory. Production design, production management and acting students collaborated with the film students on their projects. Also on display will be the production books for the short films created by Production Management students, as well as resumes, cover letters and business cards created by Survey of the Film Industry students
The Film Technician program, which was launched in January 2017 at CCAC South Campus, is designed to address the shortage of qualified crew members that occurs when the region has multiple film and TV projects. The focus is on getting industry professionals in the classroom and getting paid work for students. The program is attracting major players in the film industry who are joining the faculty or visiting as guest speakers, largely through their association with George Jaber, long-time CCAC Theatre professor and department head. Jaber's strong connection to the Pittsburgh film community-he is former president of the International Alliance Theatre and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 489-is clearly benefitting the program and students, several of whom are already working in the industry.
Recent guest speakers include Emmy award winner Gary Kosko, art director for the "Mindhunter" TV series and films such as "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible III" and "Captain America." Virginia Phillips, wardrobe expert at IATSE 489, will join the faculty next month to teach Wardrobe for Film, drawing upon her experiences as costumer for films such as "The Avengers," "Jack Reacher" and "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
The three-semester program is also expanding with the addition of six new classes, for a total of 24. The new courses are Set Dressing, Wardrobe for Film, Film Production 2, Film Direction of the Actor, Scenic Paint for Film and Film Sound. The latter will be taught by Jack Bailey, who has been described by Nancy Mosser Casting as "Pittsburgh's most experienced soundtrack designer & producer." In addition, Scott Conner, who created the mask for the character Bane in "Dark Knight Rises," will teach Mask Making and Special Effects Makeup.
The CCAC program is unique because it is open enrollment and inexpensive, according to Gaynard, who has worked on multiple films and TV series, including "Boston Legal" and "Private Practice." Class sizes are small, and students are able to use new, high-quality equipment and shoot in a range of campus facilities, including a four-story historic building, theater, hospital setting, ambulance, Starbucks, motor pool and more.
For more information about the program, visit https://www.ccac.edu/FilmTechnicianCertificate.aspx or contact PJ Gaynard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCAC South Campus is located at 1750 Clairton Road (Route 885) West Mifflin, PA 15122