Saturday, December 10, 2005

US film school students turning to TV

There was a time, and not so long ago, that any talk about television at film school was considered crass — the low road to a higher calling. Film school was for budding auteurs, not TV hacks.

"Television has always been the redheaded stepchild of virtually any university's film program," said UCLA professor Tom Nunan, who produced the film "Crash" but spent most of his career as a television executive. "It's a hard medium to come out and just embrace right out of the gate. I don't know if it's because [television] is in your bedrooms and living rooms, but there's a lot less glamour in film school studying an appliance in your home versus going to the theater."

Then came "The Sopranos" and other TV shows that pushed the pop culture envelope, not to mention a burgeoning job market in the new cable and digital universe, and a downturn in the movie biz and suddenly studying television didn't seem like a bad option.

Nunan, who has taught television development and production at UCLA for eight years, sees a sea change among many, if not all, of his students.

"I've seen a definite trend toward people converting toward an interest in TV as a career, yet every spring there's that percentage that come in with their nose up into the air wanting to talk about their screenplays," he said. "Not only is there a lot more opportunity in television, but the material you get is much more mature and complex."
More from Merrill Balassone in the LA Times.

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