San Jacinto College video and film professor Billy MacTavish (center) provides directions for students (from left) Lauren Ayala, Kourtney Pepper, and Alec Trevino during a class project. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Video, film program covers creative, technical areas of training
Rob Vanya, August 14, 2012
PASADENA, Texas — In its second year of operation, San Jacinto College’s innovative video and film associate degree program is now enrolling students for anyone interested in either the acting or technical production area of the film production industry.
San Jacinto College has offered video and film classes for several years, but the College launched the full video and film associate degree program in autumn 2011 to meet growing industry needs. Due to an increasing growth in film employment in the Houston area, the College renovated its theatrical facilities in order to offer the new associate degree program. The department of theatre and film now has several new facilities, including an 874-square-foot production studio. The studio is equipped with cutting-edge video equipment, a separate lighting grid, and blue screen equipment. The renovated facilities include a post-production room with editing bays, and a 609-square-foot classroom with an electric screen and a ceiling-mounted projector. The 1,000-seat Slocomb Auditorium and the 175-seat Powell Arena Theatre have also been re-designed to allow for conversion into back-up video/film studios.
The associate degree program prepares students for a number of career choices and possibilities. “Practical skills in the areas of performance, education, and film production prepare them for film careers such as acting, directing, video production, cinematography, digital editing, gaffer work, sound production, special effects production, makeup design, set construction, and work as casting agents,” commented Dr. Jerry Ivins, theatre and film department chair.
Students may also consider other potential career paths such as arts administration, public relations, festival and special events coordinator, artistic director, business manager, and program planner. Areas in education include film acting, digital editing, film production, construction, lighting, and sound, while entertainment industry areas include lightboard programing, sound engineer work, and audiovisual work.
In addition to required core subjects, courses in the new associate degree program include writing for electronic media, film appreciation, introduction to cinematic production, television production, acting, practicum in electronic media, and stagecraft.
For the 2012-2013 academic year, San Jacinto College welcomes veteran film director, writer, and producer Billy MacTavish to serve as the program’s lead instructor. “People are producing videos for Internet broadcast, but the quality of the work is missing,” commented MacTavish. “I’m looking forward to working with students, and helping them to raise the quality of their work.” A new course available this semester will be Practicum in Electronic Media, which addresses not only quality, but also production consistency in a series of related videos.
MacTavish was drawn to filmmaking and television at an early age and has nearly 25 years of professional experience in producing, directing, writing, shooting, and editing films and video projects. His credits include dozens of feature films, documentaries, national and international broadcast and cable television programming, music videos, industrial films, and commercials.
MacTavish says he feels professionals have the responsibility to train the next generation. “As a working filmmaker I always found myself helping the ‘new guy’ learn their way around the equipment and how to act on set,” he remarked. “To me, teaching at San Jacinto College is just a natural evolution in continuing that practice.”
MacTavish holds a bachelor’s degree in film editing and cinematography from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in multimedia communications from the Academy of Art University, located in San Francisco. In 1998 he founded the Houston based production company Moving Camera Solutions. His noted film and video awards include a Telly, an Accolade, a Remi, and a Golden Ace.
Jay Thomas, a graduate of the College’s theatre program, is thankful for the well-rounded training he received. “San Jacinto College’s theatre and video program is ahead of the times,” remarked Thomas, who earned an associate degree in theatre at San Jacinto College in 2007. Thomas went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Houston, and now serves as the theatre arts director at League City Intermediate School.
Thomas said working in live theatre, doing video and film acting, and learning the technical side of theatre work at San Jacinto College helped him to grow as a performing artist. “Acting for the video camera is much different than live theatre, and it was challenging and rewarding to get experience in both fields,” he commented. “It also looks good on a résumé. It’s sort of like being a switch-hitter in baseball, which increases a player’s value.”
The training he received at San Jacinto College has helped him as an educator. Under his direction, a group of his students recently produced a documentary style video dealing with the negative impact that bullying can have on young people. “Everyone who has seen the video is really impressed,” Thomas commented. “Doing video work and learning the technical side of theatre, in addition to doing live theatre at San Jacinto College helped prepare me for these kinds of projects.”
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of courses and degree plans in theatre at the Central and South campuses. The Central Campus houses the associate degree program in video and film. For more information, please visit arts.sanjac.edu.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.