News from 2013

Ambitious Student Commercial Selected as a Top 24 Semi-Finalist in 'Crash the Superbowl'
December 20, 2013

Student films are all about preparation. For every hour spent filming, double or triple the time is spent on location scouting, rehearsing and blocking before the shoot. USC Cinema student Shane Habberstad and recent alum Jack Heston ‘13 took this one step farther with their spec Doritos commercial Dive for the Doritos: Crash the Superbowl contest by filming multiple skydives to recreate a group of skydivers fighting for a bag of tortilla chips.

Simon Wilches-Castro Wins Adobe Design Achievement Award Grand Prize
Hench-DADA MFA Student Takes Home Grand Prize
December 16, 2013

John C. Hench Division of Animation MFA student Simon Wilches-Castro has been awarded the Animation Grand Prize in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Wilches-Castro’s film Semáforo beat out thousands of other entries from over 50 countries. The film, described as  “a beautiful circus act that becomes a terrifying freak show” is an allegory for the ongoing conflict in Columbia where, Wilches-Castro notes, “Some show the only thing they have left - deformities and amputations, in exchange for sympathetic coins”.

Demo Day @ USC
Demonstrations of Student-Produced Games Held
December 12, 2013

It’s an exciting time for student video game design and production at USC. Year after year, the quality of student games produced by USC Games students continues to get better and the industry is taking notice.

Trojan Collaborators Tackle “Kilimanjaro”
Indie dramedy marks second collaboration for producing pair
November 26, 2013

The first day a student steps onto campus at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, they are told “look to your right and look to your left.” The speaker (Usually Dean Elizabeth M. Daley) tells them that these are people they might be working with for the rest of their careers. Trojan grads and Ryan Piers Williams, Jason Michael Berman and Gavin Kelly took this to heart. The long-term collaborators most recently worked together on their new film Killimanjaro which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin and is currently available on VOD.

Michael Kahn Honored at SCA
Steven Spielberg Dedicates Chair in Editing to Longtime Collaborator
November 13, 2013

Film Editor Michael Kahn first worked with Steven Spielberg on 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the years since then they have collaborated on most of the director’s films including Schindler’s List (1993), Saving Private Ryan (1998) for which they both won Oscars and last year’s Lincoln. On Monday November 11th, the Director honored their 37-year relationship by dedicating the Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Editing at the School of Cinematic Arts.

Boots Brings Home the Awards
Television Project by Trojan Grad Hits Festival Circuit
November 8, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is known for its ambitious student projects. Students become adept at transforming sound stages and workspaces into alien worlds, haunted houses or, as a young Trojan named George Lucas did for his thesis film THX 1138, an electric labyrinth. Nowhere is this more evident than in Single Camera Television Dramatic Series,the production class that requires students to produce drama pilots. This year, one of the class’ student projects, a drama titled Boots, continued the School’s proud tradition of ambitious set pieces by transforming Stage 4 of the Cinematic Arts Complex into Los Angeles’ Skid Row.

Howard Rodman Awarded Chevalier Honor
Writing Professor Recognized by French Government
November 4, 2013

VIDEO: Mel Brooks@SCA
Comedian Recieves the Oakie Award
November 4, 2013

In 2009, legendary comedian Mel Brooks recieved the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Masters in Comedy Award. Video in Link.

SCA Family Stories: Vibrancy Studios
USC Sits Down with two Entrepreneurs from Crit Studies
October 21, 2013

Technology has changed everything. From preproduction, to production to post-production to distribution. From video game design to education to architecture. Trojans Steven Corrigan Fine  and Marcus Yves Garfinkle are two young businessmen riding the digital wave by founding Vibrancy Studios, known as the Creative Studio of the Digital Generation.

Bryan Singer Honored at SCA
Alumni Gather at Dedication of the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies
October 14, 2013

This year filmmaker Bryan Singer added his name to the list of Hollywood icons who, over the years, have helped build the programs and facilities of the School of Cinematic Arts. In February, Singer named The Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies with a $5 million gift to the division from which in graduated in 1989. On October 13th the School dedicated the new division with an event that included a Q and A with Singer, a reception and a screening of The Usual Suspects, his 1995 mystery/thriller that is considered a landmark American film.

SCA Family Stories: Priyanka Kumar
An interview with the author of Take Wing and Fly Here
October 14, 2013

USC School of Cinematic Arts alum Priyanka Kumar ‘99 is best known to students for her documentary work on the film The Song of the Little Road. In 2013, Kumar is making the transition to novelist with her debut novel Take Wing and Fly Here.

Tracy Fullerton Honored at IndieCade
October 7, 2013

The pioneering work of USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor Tracy Fullerton was celebrated this week at the Red Carpet awards for IndieCade 2013. The annual celebration of the year’s top independent video games—the largest in the country—kicked off by honoring the best in visual design, gameplay, storytelling, interactivity and more with a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles.

Charles Swartz Honored at SCA
Professor Richard Weinberg Installed as Charles S. Swartz Endowed Chair in Entertainment Technology
September 28, 2013

Charles Swartz enrolled in the master’s program in the cinema school in nineteen sixty two because he loved movies. During those two years he fell in love with fellow student Stephanie Rothman, who later became his wife. He also became enamored with the technology of cinema.

Interacting with Autism
September 18, 2013

On Saturday, September 28th, the website is celebrating its launch with an event at the SCA’s new Interactive Media Building. Starting at 10 AM, the event will feature Interacting with Autism’s executive producers and SCA faculty members Mark Jonathan Harris and Marsha Kinder moderating a series of panel discussions around autism. The event is free to attend and open to any interested parties.

Henry Jenkins joins Peabody Awards Committee
September 17, 2013

Henry Jenkins, USC Provost's Professor, media critic  and author of books like Covergence Culture, has been selected to join the board of the Peabody Awards.

Student Profile: Fatema Sayed
Using entertainment to break the barriers of gender inequality
September 17, 2013

While Sesame Street has been a titan of children's programming in the United States for over forty years, its revolutionary reach has only recently extended to Afghanistan, a country that is beginning to redefine its traditions. Fatema Sayed Mir Aga, a recent SCA Summer Program student from Afghanistan, recognized the importance of the children's show as a means of demonstrating women’s equality in her country. The show has also been influential in her own personal story.

Gilligan @ SCA
Breaking Bad Showrunner Visits the School of Cinematic Arts
September 13, 2013

When Writer/Producer Vince Gilligan visited the School of Cinematic Arts on September 10th, the conversation focused on his journey as a writer, his time on the X-Files and the similarities between modern television and the studio system in the 1930s. Gilligan also discussed the topic that has been leading watercooler conversations for weeks now: How and why his hit show Breaking Bad will end in three episodes. Gilligan told the capacity crowd that he felt fans and critics were reading too much into his motives regarding the demise or survival of lead character Walter White.

SCA Family Stories: Jeremy Kagan
September 12, 2013

Professor Jeremy Kagan is known for his unique and passionate approach to directing and teaching. His new book My Death: A Personal Guidebook tackles a near death experience (or NDE), which shaped Kagan’s approach to life, film and teaching forever.

Jason Squire teaches at Beijing Film Academy
August 30, 2013

Over the summer, Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire was in Beijing for nearly three weeks at the invitation of Beijing Film Academy.

Lynton joins Board
CEO of Sony joins Trojan Family
August 30, 2013

The School of Cinematic Arts is pleased to announce that Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, Inc., is joining the SCA’s Board of Councilors. Lynton will other luminaries like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in leading the school’s planning and development, as well as supporting its fundraising efforts. 

USC’s School of Cinematic Arts #1
The Hollywood Reporter Ranks Film Schools
August 1, 2013

2013 Emmy Noms
Congrats to our Trojan Nominees!
July 29, 2013

Congrats to all of our Emmy Nominees from the School of Cinematic Arts. 

Student-Created PSAs to Debut
Announcements about social issues will run on television stations
July 11, 2013

USC School of Cinematic Arts students have created public service announcements (PSAs) targeting urban violence, veterans’ issues and youth Internet safety that will premiere later this week on CBS 2 (KCBS-TV) and KCAL 9 (KCAL-TV). The three PSAs were developed and directed by students in the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Media Institute for Social Change (MISC) in collaboration with the television stations.

VIDEO: Fruitvale Station Crew @ SCA
Six of the Fourteen Trojans from Fruitval Station at USC
July 3, 2013

On Friday, June 28th, six of the fourteen Trojans who worked on the film Fruitvale Station came home to USC to screen the film and participate in a Q and A with current students.

Anything But Despicable
The writers of Despicable Me 2 visit SCA
June 28, 2013

Those who are still on campus this summer were treated to a 3D, advance screening of the much-anticipated Despicable Me 2, as well as a Q&A with the film’s writers Cinco Paul, MFA Writing ’93, and Ken Duario. Moderated by SCA Director of Programming Alex Ago, the two discussed their methods for collaborating, creating accessible comedies and working with the film’s actors and animators to further the script.

Recent Graduate Wins Student Academy Award
David Aristizabal wins for documentary about canine therapy for PTSD
June 26, 2013

For many Production students, making it to the Oscars is a lifelong ambition. One team of SCA students got a head start by qualifying for the Student Academy Awards, which recognizes outstanding, student-created work before they have finished school. At this year’s 40th Student Academy Awards, MFA Production alum David Aristizabal, who graduated in 2012, was awarded first place for his documentary A Second Chance, which explores and pays tribute to service dogs that help support war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

iMAP Student Earns Intel Ph.D. Fellowship
The fellowship will support Ph.D. candidate’s dissertation
June 17, 2013

When you go to a concert, the audience reacts to the music; however, iMAP Ph.D. candidate Joshua McVeigh-Schultz’ dissertation reverses this process and demonstrates the ways in which technology itself can respond and adapt to the audience. McVeigh-Schultz’ innovation was recently recognized by technology giant Intel, which awarded him with a highly competitive Intel Ph.D. Fellowship to support his work.

Industry Giants “Interact” within SCA’s New Building
The Interactive Media Building Officially Opens its Doors
June 13, 2013

Imagine the entertainment landscape of the future. What does it look like?  On June 12, three of the most influential thinkers in entertainment media, filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and Don Mattrick, the President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, tackled this question at an event hosted by the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA).

VIDEO: Brooks & Moss @ SCA
Legendary Directors Hold Master Class at USC
June 11, 2013

On April 11th, directors James L. Brooks and Larry Moss were invited to teach a master class. The sold-out event was hosted by Comedy@SCA, the School of Cinematic Arts’ academic pathway for the study of comedy in theory and practice.

When Big Leaguers go DIY
CTCS Alum and Co-Producer/Editor of Whedon’s Newest Film Discusses Micro and Big Budget Filmmaking
June 5, 2013

With credits to his name like Marvel’s The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Toy Story, Writer/Director Joss Whedon has earned his keep as one of Hollywood’s most sought after talent. However, the filmmaking process for Whedon’s newest film, Much Ado About Nothing, doesn’t seem too different from that of School of Cinematic Arts students’ approach. Whedon took on the adaptation of the Shakespeare play like a DIY passion project, employing money-saving techniques that students are known for.

Redefining Animation @ SCA
SCA’s Hench-DADA to Host the 25th Annual Society of Animation Studies Conference
June 4, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts’ John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts (Hench-DADA) will host the 25thAnnual Conference for the Society of Animation Studies (SAS) titled Redefining Animation. The event invites scholars, researchers and artists to present, address and critique the expanding art form across disparate media and to contribute their papers, ideas and observations to engage a variety of topics in the ever-evolving field of animation and digital arts. Redefining Animation will take place at USC from June 23-27.

Trojans Get “The Spirit of the Marathon”
New Documentary has SCA Alumni in Key Roles
May 31, 2013

Running culture has become an international phenomenon, with people from around the globe gathering at various locations for scenic, challenging short races and marathons.  Seven years ago, SCA alum Jon Dunham changed the face of documentary distribution by creating a one-day event screening for the running community to showcase his documentary Spirit of the Marathon. On June 12th, the sequel The Spirit of the Marathon II will once again be the feature at a one-day screening event. Through Fathom Events, the new film will screen on over 600 movie theatres across the United States.

SCA Welcomes New Division
Media Arts + Practice Becomes the School's Seventh Division
May 22, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is adding a division designed to study cutting-edge digital technology. The new Media Arts + Practice Division (MAP) will focus on emerging forms of storytelling and use of the moving image in diverse vocations and academic spheres. The Media Arts + Practice Division will offer Bachelor of Arts and Ph.D. degrees.

SCA Family Stories: Tadious Odissu
Alum Discusses Newest Film
May 21, 2013

The School of Cinematic Arts houses a diverse body of students, each offering a unique background and point of view that they in turn bring to their work. For Ethiopian Tadious Odissu, his international upbringing would play a significant role in the stories he wanted to tell as a filmmaker.

Recently, MFA Production graduate Tadious Odissu sat down with SCA to discuss his film, What to Bring to America, his experiences as a refugee from Ethiopia to his journey to SCA and how passion is the driving force behind getting a filmmaker’s story told.

Alum in Jeopardy
Hannah Spector Wins Big with Film Topics
May 20, 2013

Hannah Spector had been trying to get on Jeopardy! for 10 years. Here she was with a slim lead heading into the final round, and host Alex Trebek reveals the deciding subject to be “70s Blockbusters.” It's a movie category and she got her graduate degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2003.

IMGD Announces New Minors
Four New Minors Added to Available Degree Programs
May 16, 2013

As the marketplace for videogames continues to expand, the demands put on game developers continue to grow and change. Today’s video game professionals need to be skilled in areas as diverse as audio design, animation and entrepreneurship. Fortunately for students at USC’s Interactive Media and Games Division (IMGD), four new minors in Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design and Game Entrepreneurism are now available to give students a key advantage before entering the industry.

Alumni with a “Cannes-do” Attitude
Two alumni films to compete at Cannes
May 13, 2013

School of Cinematic Arts alumni have two films in competition at this year’s Cannes. Fruitvale (renamed Fruitvale Station) and The Immigrant will be competing in the 66thFestival de Cannes, running from May 15-26. Longtime SCA ally Steven Spielberg will serve as this year’s President of the Jury.

USC Games Presents: Demo Day
May 10, 2013

USC Games, a joint venture between the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science will host Demo Day on May 14, it was announced today by Tracy Fullerton, Chair of SCA’s Interactive Media & Games Division and Michael Zyda, Professor in the Viterbi School of Engineering.  Demo Day will take place on the USC campus at the Eileen Norris Theatre. In its ninth year, Demo Day is an annual industry exhibition that showcases student-developed video games ranging from traditional video games to mobile, iPad games, as well as immersive game experiences. Visit USC Games:

In Memoriam: Ray Harryhausen
Visual Effects Pioneer was a Lecturer and Alum
May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen, an alum and former lecturer at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), died on May 7th in London. Harryhausen is known for pioneering visual effects work on films that include Mighty Joe Young (1949), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), the original Clash of the Titans (1981) and on several Sinbad films. His breakthrough effects featured in the film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), inspired the monster movie genre.

Student Stories: Jorge Molina
BFA, Writing for Screen and Television
May 6, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts profiles students through the year so that aspiring SCA students can know what to expect from their time here. Student Stories recently profiled Writing Division BFA Jorge Molina. Below is that profile.

Tracy Fullerton Named a Technology Innovator Nominee
Chair of IMGD Honored for Work on Mission: Admission
May 6, 2013

Chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media and Games Division was named a nominee of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2013 Technology Innovator list. Fullerton’s work on Mission: Admission, a video game that teaches kids the ins and outs of applying for college, was featured as an example of Fullerton’s work.

The Iron Men of Marvel
President of Marvel Studios and Writer/Director of Iron Man 3 Visit SCA
May 3, 2013

Last night, students of Leonard Maltin’s Theatrical Film Symposium (CTCS 466) had a special treat for their last class of the semester with an advanced 3D screening of Iron Man 3. Following the film, Writer/Director Shane Black and Producer/President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige visited the School of Cinematic Arts to discuss why “geek is good” and how superhero films are making huge strides today. Filling in for Maltin, Writing Professor Howard Rodman moderated the Q&A.

Crystal @ SCA
Actor Discusses His Latest Film, Monsters University
May 1, 2013

On April 26th, the Cinematic Arts students attending the screening of Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University knew that a special guest was coming after the film but didn’t know who. Director of Programming at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Alex Ago told them that their guest was someone who worked at Pixar by the name of Mike Wazowski. When Billy Crystal (who voices the character Mike Wazowski) took the stage, there was a full standing ovation.

USC Launches Industry Summit in Beijing
Dean Daley Discusses the Relationship Between China and Hollywood
April 29, 2013

Hench-DADA Chair Kathy Smith Honored
Smith Honored with Award in Faculty Mentoring
April 26, 2013

One of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ primary missions is to provide a world-class faculty for its students. Kathy Smith, the chair of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts exemplifies this tradition and was honored with the 2013 USC Mellon Mentoring Award for Graduate Mentoring by Faculty on April 25th at a ceremony at the USC University Club.

SCA Family Stories: Susie Yankou
Student Talks About Her DIY Web Series
April 25, 2013

High school can be a tough time for many teenagers, but it helps when someone else can relate. This is precisely what Susie Yankou ’15 wanted to accomplish when she started a DIY web series called 101 Ways to Get Rejected to chronicle the not-so glamorous blunders of an average high school student.
Writing student Yankou recently sat down with SCA to discuss the making of her web series, how her time at SCA has helped her build a collaborative team and advice for students looking to follow the DIY web series path.

The Simpsons @ SCA
Writers/Producers of TV’s Longest-Running Animated Series Discuss the World of Comedy
April 23, 2013

In the 20th century, the standard way of getting hired as a television writer involved writing a spec script and hoping an executive would like your work. Now, writers and comedians are using previously unconventional outlets like YouTube and Twitter to get their work out to a major audience. On April 17th, Simpsons writers/producers Tim Long and Matt Selman and writing/producing comedy team Tom Gammill and Max Pross (Seinfeld, Futurama) visited SCA to discuss their careers and how anyone who wants to work in comedy can thrive in the digital age.

Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment Established
USC Alumni Giving Back
April 22, 2013

Video game industry pioneers and USC alumni Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers have made a donation to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) to establish The Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment. The gift was announced today by School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and will establish a fund for student support to be awarded to students showing initiative in the emerging fields of interactive and immersive media.

Rhythms + Visions / Expanded + Live 2
Friday, April 26th. 8 PM to Midnight
April 17, 2013

Rhythms + Visions / Expanded + Live will light up the School of Cinematic Arts Complex in an eventing of large exterior projections and animated sonic performances. Innovative artists Quayola & Sinigaglia, Miwa Matreyek and Charles Lindsay will perform an eclectic program of contemporary audio-visual art and visual music. The exterior spaces of SCA will come alive with interactive installations and building projections created by faculty and students from USC’s Digital Arts and Animation and Interactive Media divisions.

USC | 5D World Building in Action
April 15, 2013

USC | 5D Institute's first live, interactive festival, "The Science of Fiction: World Building in Action," held April 13 at the Norris Theater and SCI building, brought together a wide range of professionals, students, and youngsters to create a near-future LA 2020 in a single day.

Robert Zemeckis Profiled by the DGA
Trojan Alum Talks about the Role of Technology in Film
April 9, 2013

Robert Zemeckis Profiled by the DGA!

2013 Commencement Speakers Announced
Alumni Stacey Sher and Matthew Weiner to Address Student Body
April 8, 2013

Long-time ally of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and legendary producer of Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Erin Brokovitch Stacey Sher will be the 2013 commencement speaker. In addition, alum Matthew Weiner, the executive producer of Mad Men will receive the 2013 Mary Pickford Alumni Award for distinguished alumni.

On the Towne
Academy Award-winning Screenwriter Visits SCA
April 8, 2013

In addition to classroom work, internships and creating projects, part of the School of Cinematic Arts’ student education is the many guests the School brings in through the year. On April 2, legendary screenwriter Robert Towne made his final of three visits of the semester to discuss Shampoo (1975) and, among a host of subjects, touched on how research is key to making a standout script.

The Science of Fiction Coming to SCA
5D Institute to hold Festival on World Building
April 4, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts emphasises a mixture of technology and storytelling in its curriculum across all six of its divisions. To explore this further, USC’s 5D Institute will host The Science of Fiction, a gathering of leading theorists, practitioners and students in the emerging field of “World Building.” Presented in partnership with Boeing and Warner Bros. Pictures, the festival will feature a live, interactive event where participants will use the narrative design principles of World Building to create a visionary, near-future world. The festival will launch on April 13 at USC’s Norris Theater.

From Vertigo to Avatar: Tom Sito Covers the History of Computer Graphics
Hench-DADA Professor Presents History Book
April 3, 2013

Computer graphics are in the DNA of the cinematic arts. Tom Sito, Professor of Cinematic Practice for the John C. Hench Division of Digital Arts, has written the first book detailing the history of computer graphics as an art form and a workhorse for the entertainment industry. Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation is available on

SCA Family Stories: Talia Myers
Student Discusses her YouTube Video Going Viral
April 2, 2013

Each year, SCA students make countless shorts, music videos, TV pilots and even feature films. Making sure these projects are seen, however, can be a whole different ball game. For SCA student Talia Myers ’15, who recently had a surge of media attention after her YouTube video became a viral hit, the battle of getting one’s name out there just got a whole lot easier.
Myers recently sat down with SCA to discuss her viral YouTube video, “Kate Upton, Will You Go To Prom With Me?,”  how her short time at SCA helped her make this project and her advice for students looking to get their work seen.

Trojan Vision Turns Fifteen
Award-Winning Student Television Marks Anniversary
April 2, 2013

Students working at the USC School of CInematic Arts’ television station Trojan Vision have a simple rule. When you are doing your day-to-day activities, you’re a normal student. When you’re at the station, you’re a professional. On April 6 the award-winning station will be celebrating its fifteenth anniversary with a gathering at the station’s headquarters in the Robert Zemeckis center for Digital Arts.

The “Journey” Continues to GDC
Visionary Game form SCA Alumni Wins Six Awards
March 29, 2013

Journey,a downloadable game from for the PlayStation format, won six awards, including Game of the Year, at the 13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards on March 27th. Journey was developed and produced by thatgamecompany, a video game company run by alum Jenova Chen ‘06 and co-founded by Kellee Sanitago ‘06.

Summer Program: Applications Open
Unique Program Also Open to Non-Major and Non-USC Students
March 15, 2013

The School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program offers participants from around the world an opportunity to attend intensive and creatively demanding filmmaking classes taught by world-class faculty with the use of state-of-the-art equipment. Offering over thirty classes each summer, SCA Summer Program courses cover all aspects of filmmaking, including cinematography, directing, screenwriting, film and television business studies and computer/hand-drawn animation and gaming. Full semester classes condensed into six or seven weeks creates a total immersion experience unlike any other film school in the world. SCA Summer Program students have gone on to become producers at major companies/studios, independent filmmakers and even Emmy Award-winning documentarians.

USC Games Has Big Night at BAFTA Awards
BAFTA Honors SCA Alumni-Created Games
March 14, 2013

London recently got a little warmer when several of the School of Cinematic Arts alumni indie gamers gathered for the 10th British Academy Games Awards on March 5. USC alumni games The Unfinished Swan and Journey both took home awards, including Outstanding Debut Game, Outstanding Game Innovation and the Game Design award.

USC to Hold 3-Day Event on Groundbreaking Cognitive Therapeutics
March 12, 2013

Following its successful inaugural symposium in 2011, the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society (ESCoNS) is holding its second annual conference from March 15-17 at USC to advance the development of videogame therapy in diagnosing and combating mental disorders, as well as how to improve cognitive learning, brain capacity and function through interactive gameplay. Partnered with SCA’s Interactive Media and Games Division and the Game Innovation Lab, this year’s conference will bring together over 200 attendees in the tops of their fields to create scientific and medical breakthroughs through interactive games and media.

USC Games Number One
Graduate Program Secures Fourth Consecutive #1 Ranking
March 12, 2013

The University of Southern California has been named the number one game design school in North America by the Princeton Review for its graduate program.  This ranking is shared by the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Interactive Media and Games Division and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. USC has been ranked the number one school for game design for each year the Princeton Review has released the college ranking.  Additionally, USC took the number 2 position for its undergraduate program.

A “Phantom” in SCA
Filmmakers/SCA Faculty Discuss Latest Movie
March 8, 2013

When filmmakers join the School of Cinematic Arts faculty, they do anything but slow down. Many of SCA’s faculty, adjuncts and professors continue to be an active part of the industry as writers, directors, producers and everything in between. This commitment to the moving image was on display February 22nd when SCA faculty members Todd Robinson, John Watson and Pen Densham screened their newest collaboration, Phantom, at the Ray Stark Theatre.  Following the screening, Phantom’s writer/director Robinson joined fellow SCA faculty members/Phantom producers Watson and Densham and Academy Award-nominated actor Ed Harris for a Q&A to discuss how the industry is becoming more open to small-budget films and that students shouldn’t wait until they graduate to start their own collaborations.

The Yellow Brick Road Leads to Norris
James Franco and Zach Braff Discuss Their Time in Oz
March 8, 2013

Students of Leonard Maltin’s Theatrical Film Symposium (CTCS 466) were able to view an advance screening of Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful in Norris Theatre last night, with a special Q&A with the film’s actors James Franco (Spider-Man, 127 Hours) and Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State). The two highlighted their experiences on the blockbuster’s set, the need for keeping a strong relationship and emotional arc in the midst of grand visual technology and the importance of having a strong, collaborative director at the helm.

Putting Games in the Name
IMD Gets a New Name
March 7, 2013

The School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media Division has long been at the forefront of innovative gameplay. To emphasize its commitment to studying games and playable media in all forms, IMD will be renamed the Interactive Media and Games Division.

SCA Family Stories: Kylie Nicholson and Jack Morgan
Students from SCA’s New B.A. in Media Arts + Practice Give Advice
March 5, 2013

The School of Cinematic Arts is proud to announce the new Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts + Practice as its newest B.A. To celebrate the new degree program, SCA Family Stories sat down with students Kylie Nicholson and Jack Morgan to talk about the new degree program, how students can prepare themselves for the new major and how collaboration is the key to success in the new program and the real world.

The Berlinale Talent Campus in 5D
5D Institute Hosts Two Seminars in Berlin
March 5, 2013

Having a globally diverse marketplace is a key component for groundbreaking collaboration. For mediamakers pushing the forefront of technology, the Berlinale Talent Campus (BTC) hosts just the place for this community of innovative thinkers. As such, Alex McDowell, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the 5D Institute at the School of Cinematic Arts, recently visited the BTC in Berlin to discuss World Building and its impact on technology’s use in design fields.

EA Visits USC
President of Labels Frank Gibeau Coming to Campus
March 1, 2013

Chris Terrio For The Win
USC Alumni Wins Big at Oscars
February 25, 2013

At last night’s Oscars, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) alum Chris Terrio took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Argo. The win epitomizes SCA’s mission to keep an engaging story at the forefront of filmmaking.

SCA Family Stories: Max Taxe
Recent Black List Recipient Sits with SCA
February 25, 2013

Students in the School of Cinematic Arts’ Writing for Screen and Television program are told right off the bat that a career in Hollywood is a marathon, not a sprint. However, for alumni like Max Taxe ’11, their career path could get jump-started more quickly than anticipated when their work receives attention early on.

SCA recently sat down with Taxe to discuss his screenplay Goodbye, Felix Chester, which made the 2012 Black List, his time at SCA and his advice for budding screenwriters.

Trojans at the MPSE Awards
Three SCA Student Films Nominated for Award in Sound Editing
February 22, 2013

School of Cinematic Arts students strive to make their projects at the industry-standard level, and that dedication shows. SCA is known for its ranks of writers, directors, producers, video game designers and editors, but one of its best kept secrets is the caliber of sound editors who graduate from the School every year.

On February 17th, the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) hosted the Golden Reel Awards in downtown Los Angeles to recognize outstanding works by student and professional filmmakers in the field of sound design. Of the eight student films up for the Verna Fields Award in Sound Editing for Student Filmmakers, SCA held three nominations. Two days prior, the SCA Sound Department hosted an event to screen each student film nominated for the award.

School of Cinematic Arts Oscar Noms!
Congrats to our alumni
February 21, 2013

Congrats to the SCA alumni nominated for Oscars!

USC Cinematic Arts Announces Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Practice
New B.A. Will Cover Emerging Media
February 15, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is always on the cutting edge of the digital marketplace and digital technology. In this vein the School is proud to announce a new degree program, the B.A. in Media Arts + Practice.

Jim Gianopulos Joins Board of Councilors
Entertainment Industry Titan to work with School of Cinematic Arts
February 14, 2013

Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film, has joined the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Board of Councilors. The Board of Councilors takes a leadership role in the School’s overall planning and development as well as supports its fundraising efforts.

Thatgamecompany’s Journey Sweeps Interactive D.I.C.E. Awards
SCA IMD Alums’ Game Takes Home 8 Interactive Academy Awards
February 11, 2013

The Interactive Media Division (IMD) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts is known for bringing an unparalleled level of artistry and innovation to video game design. thatgamecompany, which was co-founded by alumni Jenova Chen ‘06 and Kellee Santiago ‘06 exemplifies this approach, with highly-artistic games Cloud, flOw, Flower and, most recently, Journey. On February 16th, Journey was the big winner at the D.I.C.E (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Awards, which are presented annually by the not-for-profit Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) to honor outstanding achievements in interactive art form. Journey was the Awards’ most recognized game, with eight wins: Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming, Outstanding Innovation in Art Direction, Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design, Casual Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay and Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction.

Producer Andy Friendly Makes Major Donation to SCA
Friend and Alum Gives Direct Aid to Students
February 8, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is fortunate to have a strong roster of alumni who are eager to give back. Among them are SCA alumnus, producer and executive Andy Friendly ‘73 and his wife, actress Pat Crowley, who have created an endowment to help students who are struggling to complete their education. In January, Friendly augmented his existing gift to the School of Cinematic Arts with an additional $50,000 and renamed the fund the Pat Crowley and Andy Friendly Endowed Fund for Student Support.

USC has Two Options: be “Funny or Die”
Comedy@SCA and Funny Or Die Team Up to Host a Workshop for All USC Students
February 8, 2013

At the School of Cinematic Arts, students are taught to take the study of the moving image seriously, and that includes studying comedy. As a way of providing students with hands-on experience in creating online video content, SCA has teamed up with Funny Or Die, the award-winning, top destination for comedy on the web, for a two-day workshop. Running this Friday and Saturday, February 8-9 at USC’s Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts and in the SCA Complex, students will get the chance to prove just how funny they can be.  

Bryan Singer Shakes Up Critical Studies
SCA’s Most Populated Division Renamed After Alum
February 7, 2013

From George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to Sumner Redstone to Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ray Stark, the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) foundation has literally been built through the names of its friends and alumni. Now filmmaker Bryan Singer ’89 joins the ranks of these entertainment industry powerhouses with a major donation to the School, a $5 million gift to name the Critical Studies division, from which Singer received his BA.  The Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies will be the first USC School of Cinematic Arts division named for one of its alumni.

Redstone Production Building Opens with a Bang
Entertainment Industry Icon Dedicates Two Soundstages
February 6, 2013

Legendary entertainment industry executive Sumner Redstone has named the Sumner M. Redstone Production Building housing two soundstages at the USC School Cinematic Arts (SCA). On February 5th the School hosted a gala reception in his honor attended by filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, Chairman of the SCA Board of Councilors Frank Price, School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, and entertainment industry titans Brad Grey, Brian Grazer, Jim Wiatt, Les Moonves and Bob Evans.

SoCal Meets Beijing
Professor Jason E. Squire honored at Beijing Film Academy
February 1, 2013

From writing division professors visiting Russia to IML’s relationship with Effat University in Saudi Arabia and the global outreach of the American Film Showcase, The School of Cinematic Arts has made incredible strides in the realm of international relations. Students from around the globe study at SCA, with one of the largest populations originating from China.  As one of SCA’s leading professors interested in both continuing and expanding this discussion between SCA and its international outreach, Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire visited Beijing over winter break for various events and honors.

Fruitvale Sweeps Sundance
Sundance Hit is a Trojan Family Affair
January 28, 2013

Graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) have a reputation for sticking together after they graduate. Fruitvale, the Grand Jury and Audience Award Winner at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is a prime example of this practice, with fourteen USC graduates on the crew, four of whom met during the production of an SCA student film. Fruitvale was written and directed by SCA alum Ryan Coogler ‘11, with seven other Trojans who either attended or graduated from three different schools in key creative roles.

USC Has Record Year at Sundance Film Festival
Films with SCA Alums in Key Roles Make Deals in Park City
January 28, 2013

A record twenty-one films showcasing SCA talent screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and its sister festival, Slamdance. The festival launched on January 17th and ended last weekend with an awards ceremony highlighting standouts that resonated with critics and audiences. To support the alumni, students and friends of the School who visited Park City this year, SCA hosted two events, a filmmaker breakfast and party, at the Riverhorse Tavern on Main Street.

Sumner Redstone Makes Major Donation to SCA
Industry Icon Names The Sumner M. Redstone Production Building
January 17, 2013

Sumner Redstone has changed the face of the entertainment industry. His leadership at Viacom and CBS will be studied by students of the moving image and the entertainment industry for generations to come. Students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts will now be able to study Redstone’s legacy in a building named in his honor. Redstone has made a $10 million gift to the School to name the Sumner M. Redstone Production Building, part of its expansive new Cinematic Arts Complex.

Sundance Blog 2013
January 17, 2013

Check out the newset blog posts from USC Students and Alumni!

USC Cinema at the Golden Globes
Five Alumni Honored at Awards
January 17, 2013

At the 2013 Golden Globes award on January 13th, four USC alumni’s films were honored for the categories of Best Drama, Best Series: Musical or Comedy, andBest Miniseries or Movie.

Mary Sweeney Named Chairman of Film Independent
January 14, 2013

USC Cinema Professor Mary Sweeney, the current Dino and Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professor who teaches in the Writing Division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has been elected to the position of sitting Chair of Film Independent. Sweeney, who teaches Graduate Writing Thesis and Dreams, The Brain and Storytelling at SCA, is known for her work on The Straight Story and the indie film Baraboo.

Project Holodeck in Dublin
IMD Video Game Debuts at Trinity College, Dublin
January 14, 2013

Projects from USC Cinema’s Interactive Media Division are often very ambitious. For a project to stand out in the competitive world of IMD, they need to step up in a big way. USC video game Project Holodeck attempts this by taking the science fiction staple of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise’s Holodeck and making it a reality. This December, the Project Holodeck team presented their project at GAME: The Future of Play, a conference on experimental and future game forms, at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

USC Cinema Oscar Nominations
January 11, 2013

The USC School of Cinematic Arts would like to congratulate the following alumni for were nominated for Academy Awards!