Department News (9-29-14)

Daniel Fine,  a projectionist from Arizona State University who is working with TMA on the projections for The Count of Monte Cristo, made the first of three visits to BYU this last week.  Daniel  characterizes himself as “an artist, scholar, and technologist working in immersive, responsive, mediated environments for interactive users, audiences and performance.”  He presented a great master class on Saturday to 7 theatre and media students.  One of the most interesting things he talked about with the mixed theatre and media group was how we are still discovering how to work in new media that is formed by the combination of media with live performance.  Many directors in live theatre do not realize that as soon as they introduce a projected media image onto the live stage, the audience brings with them all of their experience and understanding of media.  They  can know longer view a live performance with just their understanding of theatre.  Media designers need to help the production team overcome the pitfalls and leverage the potential of this new media.  Mr. Fine will be presenting another master class and forum when he returns in January.   Michael Kraczek noted that he observed how Daniel “is providing a great mentoring experience for the assistant projection designer, Bradlee Hager.  Daniel has given her plenty to work on and has involved her in all of the meetings held last week working through the projection design, along with other design elements forThe Count of Monte Cristo.”  Rory Scanlon noted, “Daniel has mixed well with the students, as he has the natural teacher personality and is excellent at sharing his skills. While we have been working on various parts of the show, he will wave over a student or two to watch what he is doing and explain it to them. He has truly been a great blessing for our students.”  To see some samples of his work, go to http://www.danielfine.net/portfolio.htmldanielfine

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Kelli Loosi went to the Republic of Georgia by invitation of the US Embassy to participate in the Nikozi Animation Film Festival September 1 – 6. The festival is in an abbey in the small town of Nikozi. The festival was started by the monk there to celebrate the independence of Georgia as a country. (Historically Georgia had a lot of great animation as did many former soviet countries.)  Kelly said, “The festival was amazing for being in such a unique location. They were able to get a lot of A-list talent from the independent art-animation world (Germans, French, Italians, Russians, Canadians, and Japanese). Not only were the Georgians amazing, lovely people, but the foreigner animators they brought in were great. I had a chance to see a lot of great films in a unique venue and was able to tour a little with the group. Georgia was one of the earliest countries to accept Christianity- I saw a lot of early Christian religious sights. Because they are so connected culturally and religiously to their Christian heritage I noted that they testified about Christ a lot. I mean a lot. It was actually pretty refreshing in this day and age although maybe a little odd for the other American that I was with who is Jewish. From the high point in Nikozi you can still see Russian tanks from where the Russians still occupy parts of Georgia from their invasion in 2008.” The following are the BYU animations that ran at the festival: Lemmings, Las Pinatas, Kites, Pajama Gladiator, Metro, Owned, and Estefan. Below are some photos Kelly took from his trip.

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As part of the Bravo series this Fall, Jeff Martin brought over Actors from the London Stage who performed Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing with only five actors covering over twenty characters.  The stunning performances were done outside on the JFSB Fulton Courtyard and on the Pardoe stage.  In addition, Jeff made arrangements for the company to teach thirteen classes (including the forum and a session with the facultyon Thursday), including visits to TMA 101, 123, 227,228, 301, 336, 427, among others.  Jeff explains that, “The London actors had a wonderful experience during their residency week and thoroughly enjoyed working with the students in the classrooms. One of them was deeply moved by her experience with our students and was moved to tears following one of her classes. They also particularly enjoyed the opportunity of performing Much Ado outside in the JFSB to a very enthusiastic and responsive audience.”  George Nelson commented on the impact the actors had on his TMA 101 students,”They came to my 101 class on Wednesday and really helped them to see the powerful impact of collaboration in the creation of exciting theatre. They involved everyone in a huge group activity and it really reenforced the things I’ve been trying to set in motion. It’s just so good for them to hear the things we are teaching from people outside of our department and universe. It really strengthens the impact of what we’re trying to instill in them as good theatrical practice.”  Thank you to all our faculty who arranged to have our students work closely with these artists, and a special thanks to Jeff Martin for making the residency possible with these remarkable actors.

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