Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Back to School

Conor O'Farrell

Back to School

Back to school last week. Despite that more than helpful JC Penney back-to-school commercial, I still didn’t know what to wear. I dug out all the clothes that I had stored at Javi’s over the summer, and even though they felt new compared to the suitcase I’d been living out of this summer, I’m sure I still looked tatty at best. The rest of the producers looked good though; fresh-faced and sporting summer glows.

The first class of the semester was Cinema Studies III, and the origin of cinema was the debate of the day. France versus America. Round One: Does the Lumiére brother’s Cinématographe device trump Edison’s Dickson’s earlier Kinetoscope device? Really interesting stuff, but in short, if you define cinema as projected motion picture, then yes. France made cinema. France 1 – 0 America. Here’s one of the earliest motion pictures which we watched in class, in the form of Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903).

Later that same day we had Marketing, Distribution & Exhibition. In my application to the program two years ago I remember referencing this class, as it is one of the areas of producing I am least familiar with, and thus most excited about. In that first class our professor, Michael Kaplan, brought our thinking back to one key idea: Why? It made for some interesting discussion that ranged from Steve Jobs to Walt Disney and everywhere in between. He showed us this TED talk | ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’

Later in the week we began Long-form Narrative Development. I consider myself a story guy. I want to be JJ Abrams. So I can’t overstate how much I’ve been looking forward to this class. I have a feature length film I’ve been working on developing this past year with a writer friend. In terms of where we’re at, we’ve spent a lot of time developing character and story before jumping into screenplay, and right now we’re at a second-draft treatment, but with this class we’ll be at least at a first-draft screenplay by the end of semester. Next semester I will be packaging the feature in LA.

So, that’s week one in the can! And by all accounts it’s set to be yet another busy semester. I’m sure the fresh faces will fade fast and I will only become tattier in time. But for now, we look good. Sort of. And that’s all that matters.

Back to School

Back to school last week. Despite that more than helpful JC Penney back-to-school commercial, I still didn’t know what to wear. I dug out all the clothes that I had …

Cinema Art + Science - Creative Producing Conor O'Farrell, conor.ofarrell@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605