the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Location: Washington D.C.

Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Friday, September 01, 2006

Welcome to the #1 Dream School


















Last night was the official Dean's welcome to the Tisch School of the Arts.
 
Set for two hours, I couldn't imagine what would take so long and thought, though didn't vocalize, what the noisy undergrads in the theatre behind me were complaining about.
 
I needn't have been concerned.
 
The evening opened with a rousing musical number. When it ended, we were informed that it was written by a couple of students as part of a larger play while they attended NYU and that it had already been optioned for an off-Broadway run. Indeed, the rest of the evening's introduction to faculty was interspersed with performances from all the various art schools represented in Tisch, from drama to music. The final installment was a student's short film that went on to win the Animated Short Film Academy Award in 2004.
 
I found myself in awe and once again had those twinges of, "You're a fraud. They see right through you. Do you really think you belong in a group like this!?" (Interestingly enough, I confessed these musing to numerous other Cinema Studies grad students following the presentation and it seems it was a universal feeling.) I found myself looking around the beautiful Skirball Center Theatre trying to take in all the hundreds of faces around me. You are all so talented and amazing. I want to be friends with each and everyone one of you. We are going to do great things.
 
The faculty is hardly any less impressive. The old adage, "Those who can't, teach" does not apply here. It should more accurately be said, "Those who can and do, teach." I can't tell you how often I heard, "Professor so-and-so is a multiple Emmy/Tony/Grammy/Academy Award winner." This faculty is so inspiring. Unfortunately, Spike Lee was not there last night. He was out promoting his new, lauded HBO documentary "When the Levees Broke" which he shot along with a crew of NYU students shortly after Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans.
 
The Dean gave an inspired speech about NYU Tisch being a place where art and the study of art collide; a place where artistic scholars reside. She congratulated us all on being the absolute top of our chosen academic subjects, or else we wouldn't have been sitting there. NYU, she informed us, was this year named the #1 Dream School in the nation by the Princeton Review, beating out other such prestigious schools as Harvard, Stanford and Yale. It was a night in which I pinched myself several times to ensure it was not, in fact, just a dream. Oliver Stone, a Tisch graduate, was asked why he attended film school at NYU, the Dean told us, rather than simply begin working in the industry--a question I was asked often and wrestled with more than once. “Because,” he answered, “film school is a place where one has the opportunity to find one's creative voice in a safe environment that fosters creativity, supplies the resources to give that voice release and opens avenues for that voice to be heard.”
 
After the Dean's welcome, the grad students were treated to hors' dourves and wine and a chance, finally, to begin meeting, up close and personal, those within our various programs. I am struck, first of all, how international the student body is. Within my discipline alone, there are Canadians, French, Brits, Chinese, Koreans and numerous other nationalities. In terms of age, I am the second oldest in the program, it appears. My advisor even commented on my age and actually said he was so happy to have me in the program. "We used to get many more students in your situation," he said, "returning to school after a few years of working. They brought a great deal of experience and maturity. These days the students always come straight from their undergrad. We've lost something because of it." The graduate Cinema Studies group seems fantastic, and the mingling gave us all a real chance to connect. No longer are they just faces from an orientation meeting. Now it's Neal, Anoosh, Jeremy, Carolina, etc.
 
This is going to be fun.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Matt said...

I am to glad to hear that things are going well and that you are excited. It sounds like a lot of work, but a great opportunity.

Good luck and Godspeed !!

Matt

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Thank you for sharing these experiences, Brandon. I feel like I'm there with you...

You are surely where you belong. Keep the musings and experiences coming.

Paul

12:52 PM  
Blogger Grinth said...

God I am so happy for you. You deserve it. You wont regret your choice I think.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a marvelous post. I am just so happy and excited for you!!!!!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous BP said...

Second oldest?!?!? You are only 32!! I think that rocks! Brandon, I am so excited for you. I feel like all of us who are too scared to step out can live vicariously through you!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I tell myself that everyday Brandon, "you area fraud everyone knows it, what is it that you think you can do". I look up to you and see you as one of the most talented people I have ever met, so I must say to know that you have your doubts makes me feel a little less anxiety about reaching my dreams.

Point is I guess we all have those moments. I would not be a good friend if I didn't tell you that I think you are amazing. You are not a fraud...you are a talented visionary with the goods to back it up. I will be in your corner if you need a pep talk...The hardest part is showing up...you are there, you did it man, now just take it one day at a time.

SD

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon,
I was thrilled to read your blog about the first night of school. God has given you an amazing gift to be able to go there. The "Impossible Dream" used to be my theme song in life. You are living it. Keep your humility and you will soar. Happy to be part of this dream as your friend.
Cindy

7:45 AM  
Anonymous liz stephens said...

Brandon,
I loved the blog about the first night at Tisch! I am so glad that we have all connected for sure! Love the blog, and love the pics on your other webpage! Wow! What a great eye! I'm so impressed.
Liz-

6:06 PM  

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