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Kartemquin Film Exec Describes to MSLCE Students How Shifts in Media Landscape Affect Documentary Business

By Scotty Stieber

How do you utilize your past experiences while still pushing yourself to learn something new?

Betsy Steinberg, who stopped by to speak with MSLCE students in Professor Dan Gruber’s Business Models in Creative Enterprises class, found herself asking this question when transitioning from her vital position as Managing Director with the Illinois Film Office to her current role as Executive Director for Kartemquin Films, a not-for-profit documentary production company based in Chicago.

As a mission-driven company, Kartemquin is a full media arts organization that prides itself on staying true to its core values and motivations where the story always takes center stage. Unlike Steinberg’s eight years with the Illinois Film Office, where her work often revolved around the state’s economic and political landscape, she is free to explore her creative passions to provide a voice to the stories that might otherwise go unheard. The people at Kartemquin understand how difficult it can be to find an appropriate balance between funding their documentaries and fulfilling their basic mission. (more…)

Illinois Film Office Deputy Director Talks Bringing TV, Movie Productions to Chicago

By Jacob Nelson

During her talk last week hosted by Northwestern’s MSLCE Program, Illinois Film Office Deputy Director Christine Dudley joked that each morning she and her staff light a candle to Dick Wolf.

The reason? Wolf, the producer behind the “Law and Order” franchise, has made Chicago home to the NBC productions of “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Med,” and the in-development “Chicago Law.”

For an office focused on bringing film and television productions to Illinois , these are all positive developments.

“They have laid down such a strong footprint,” Dudley said of Wolf’s Chicago franchise, “and because of that it generates more opportunity.” (more…)

MSLCE Student, China Native Looks for Opportunities to Feed His Fascination with American Culture

By Jacob Nelson

In one of his undergraduate courses, Dan Li was asked to create a Twitter account and live tweet a guest speaker. He hadn’t used Twitter before, and the experience left Li with the realization that “the world of media is really fascinating.”

Originally from China, Li has only been in the U.S. for about four years, first to get his degree from the University of Washington, and now as an MSLCE student.

“It was really important for me to submerge myself into the great American culture,” he said of his time when he had first arrived here. (more…)

King is a Fink Productions Founders Julie Keck and Jessica King: Content Producers Beyond Boundaries

By Zach Hyman

In the final installment of Professor A.J. Christian’s Digital Television speaker series, MSLCE students got up-close and personal with Julie Keck and Jessica King, the couple behind King is a Fink Productions. The writer/director/producer duo travelled a long road to their most recent webseries, OpenTV’s Full Out. (more…)

Rethinking Audio Production Tools

By John Matthew Simon

Bryan Pardo, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science here at Northwestern, wanted to tackle a fascinating question, ‘Why have designers digitally replicated technological interfaces exactly as they are in the real world and can we make them more intuitive for novice users?’

Why would he ask such a question? Well, it turns out that Pardo is a classically trained jazz musician who was perplexed by the complex interfaces in audio production tools, as he explained during faculty talk for MSLCE students on Feb. 11.

He couldn’t quite understand why the rigid forms of the analog production world had to be transferred to the digital realm. Too him, wholly a musician at heart, it made more sense if the knobs, dials, and industry lexicon of old were abandoned for a more interactive and user friendly interface buttressed by a folksonomy of descriptors. (more…)

Lipstick City Creators Speak to Digital Television Students

By Zach Hyman

As part of Prof. Christian’s Digital Television speaker series, MSLCE students met two of OpenTV’s Lipstick City creators this past Monday. The short film focuses on drag culture and stars drag queen Shea Couleé, who also serves as the film’s writer and director. Shea – biological name Jaren Merrell – and producer Kelly Schmader had a lot to say about putting a spotlight on a “interesting and important subculture.” (more…)

VSA Talent Acquisition Leader Leads Interviewing Workshop for MSLCE Students

By Scotty Stieber

The hunt for summer internships is in full swing, and those March 1st application deadlines are swiftly approaching.

The MSLCE cohort recently spent a Saturday in an interviewing workshop led by Amanda Schonfeld, a talent acquisition leader at VSA Partners, a design-based branding agency in Chicago. Students learned the ins and outs of the interview process, including how to prepare for an interview and how to appropriately follow-up with an employer. (more…)

Dreaming About the Future

By Miya Williams

Gerry Garbulsky, senior TEDx ambassador for South America, is excited to be a guest host at TED2016: Dream. He is in charge of curating a TED2016 session on February 18 titled “The dreams that define us” featuring a selection of previous TEDx speakers from around the world.

The panel will include dreamers such as neuroscientist, Mariano Sigman; writer and satirist, Siyanda Mohutsiwa; musician, instrument maker, and composer, Linsey Pollak; artist and photographer, Angelica Dass; and chess player Judit Polgar. (more…)

They’re So Talented: Producers of Our Names Are Sam Talk Chicago TV, Representation in Mainstream Media, and Building a Series from Scratch

By Zachary Hyman

Sam Bailey and Sam Lee, the two minds behind OpenTV’s webseries You’re So Talented, came this past week to speak with Prof. Christian’s Digital Television class. Bailey and Lee frequently work together as the creative production duo Our Names Are Sam and they had a lot to teach us about the challenges of making indie content in Chicago. (more…)