For this post, I decided to sit down for a chat with John Carr, one of my fellow Creative Producing MFA students. Like all of the students accepted into the program this year, John has a unique background and brings a wealth of experiences to the table that will aid him in his career as a Creative Producer – as well as those of us fortunate enough to get to work and study with him.
I asked him to share his perspective on the Creative Producing program and to talk about how things are going so far.
Why did you decide to go to Columbia?
When I looked at producing programs, Columbia had the best combination of skills required to be a Creative Producer. The other programs seemed more focused on writing and directing, on having a tremendous amount of time behind the camera. While that’s something I’m interested in knowing about, it’s not something I want to do to professionally. In the conversations I had with Bruce Sheridan, the founder of the Creative Producing program, I liked the emphasis he and the program places on business expertise and collaboration with writer/directors. I think that Creative Producing students will get tremendous value out of that.[flickr id=”6325455689″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Because I have a very strong business background (I was a serial entrepreneur, having started and sold 5 businesses), this was an opportunity to work in an environment where I could pick up the expertise, the language, the contacts, and the context to work within that could jump-start me into a new career.
How do you like it so far?
There are times when I love it. There are times in which I feel like the information’s coming so fast that I can’t absorb another word. But overall I’d say I’m getting tremendous value for my dollar. I’m getting what I’m paying for.
What has surprised you most about your experience at Columbia?
I was most surprised by the degree to which the teaching staff really cares. They all deeply care about our success and about teaching us. My experience has been if I show any interest whatsoever in what they’re teaching me, they really want me to get it and they’ll work with me until I do.[flickr id=”6326209322″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Is there anything you would want to say to someone who is thinking about applying to Columbia?
Be prepared to come here and work. You get a lot of value out of the experience, but there’s a lot of work that goes into it: it’s graduate school.
Also, I think the leadership at Columbia has been timely in creating this program, because the timing is good to be a Creative Producer. The historical distribution channels for film are under tremendous pressure. Just this past week YouTube announced the creation of 100 new premium channels, and they’re financing it with hundreds of millions of dollars. To me, that’s the exciting business opportunity: all these new channels are going to create demand for additional content, and that’s a new arena that a Creative Producer can step in to.
John Carr is in his first year in the Creative Producing MFA program.