As a producer, I spend a lot of time working with directors but that doesn’t mean I totally understand them or their thought processes. So..
The ~best~ thing about the MAM program is getting to see student work come to life. About a year and a half into this program, we are getting to see each other’s ideas turn into plans and plans turn into work and work turn into fully realized art. The Hokin Project, The Third Mask Festival, and The Fresh Connect are all examples of student ideas becoming reality. In the past few weeks, we have seen another MAM student’s idea take full flight. This would be none other than 2nd year and resident #doordork, Yvvi Atanassov. Since starting the program, we have heard about Yvvi’s obsession with doors, which is fully detailed on her Instagram @enchantingdoors_ (go follow!). Yvvi describes her love of doors through her favorite quote from Julie Powell: “Doors are going to open doors you can’t even imagine exist”. This passion and obsession with doors has led her to create the amazing project below!
I had the opportunity to chat with the current cohort of graduate students in the European Devised Performance Practice program (shortened to EDPP for obvious reasons) about their experiences. For context, the EDPP MFA program is two years in length. The first year takes place in Berlin, Germany studying at arthaus.berlin. Students then return to Chicago for their final year of study on Columbia’s campus. I asked some of the cohort a few questions about the program to give you all the inside scoop! Check it out below:
Hey all! The best cohort around is back, back, back again!
Are y’all ready for the back-to-school bonanza?? I sure hope so, because I’m not entirely convinced that I am. Excited? Totally! Ready? Absolutely not.
Happy August, all! Even though I’m a Leo baby, August really snuck up on me this year. In a month, my internship with Steppenwolf will be over. I’ll be back in the grind of school and on the road to graduation. And with the internship coming to a close, I am increasingly thankful that this experience at Steppenwolf worked out. Intern life has been a major shift away from the life of a first year grad student, but I’m just now finally getting to dive into how and why it feels like I’ve stepped out of the safety net of school and into the real world.
As a creative producer, getting to come up with ideas, develop stories and work on scripts is my heart and joy. I love it. Another big part of being a creative producer is logistics, which is often not as fun as scripts and stories. Most of the logistical work ultimately gets done by the line producer, production manager, and assistant directors, who are hired by and work with the producer to make sure the production happens as hitch-free as possible. A lot of the time, those jobs are considered non-creative, but I beg to disagree. There is creativity involved in logistics, especially with low-budget filmmaking.
As we say so long to the one and only Kelly Schmader, I wanted to take a moment to say a quick hello! The metaphorical torch of Graduate Ambassador-ship has been passed from Kelly to me. I am currently in the summer between years one and two in the Masters of Arts Management program at Columbia. Grad school—specifically the MAM program—has been a whirlwind thus far. Tons of reading. Lots of writing. Many, many new friends. And a love affair with the city of Chicago. I will for sure dive into more detail about all of these things at some point over the next year, but for now—a few basics!
Summer break is in full swing, and school is done. What’s not done is the creative work. That never stops. School or no school, there are still stories to develop, scripts to write, films to produce and footage to edit. The difference that arises with getting all of that done during the summer is routine. During the school year, you have a bit of structure: you know where you’ll be and how much free time you’ll have, so you can figure out when and where you will write or edit or have meetings. In the summer, you have the freedom to figure that out on your own terms.
Cue up the graduation music, pop off the streamers, and light the fireworks…because it’s time for me to GRADUATE! Wow, has it been one hell of a ride! The last three years of my life have been full of learning about my craft and myself. I have grown in so many ways…I appreciate my life so much. I don’t even feel sad about graduating, unlike when I received my undergraduate degree and then wept all that night.