I was a guest lecturer at NYU's Tisch film program in New York city today and was impressed both with the facilities and the students. They say you can judge a lot about a Film School by the quality of its output and there's no doubt that the Tisch Film program deserves it's fine reputation. The students I worked with that day were immensely talented, passionate about story and brimming with intelligence.
I was invited to lecture there by Professor David Zung who is himself a working storyboard artist of the highest caliber not to mention a deeply gifted artist. We had hired David on a project last year and it was the best director/storyboard artist relationship I had ever encountered. On reflection I believe this was in some part because David and I see story the same way but it was in large part to David's remarkable humility as an artist. There are far too many egos in our industry and it was refreshing to work with someone who brought such passion and talent to the project.
The lecture was three hours long, the first half of which consisted of working one on one with the students going over storyboards they had done for their film projects and the remaining half was the lecture I gave entitled: "The Director's Vision - Creating and Sharing your Vision to Cast and Crew."
As part of the lecture we deconstructed the films "American Beauty" and "In the Mood for Love" and then ended with an exercise from one of my recent films "The Accidental Activist." I gave the students the script of the film's opening scene and then asked them to storyboard it. I then asked them to figure out how to shoot what they had storyboarded. It was, at times, a comic reminder of how differently a script can be visually interpreted and at the same time underscored some of the challenges involved in visualizing the written word.
All in all it was a great day and I left looking forward to seeing how their films turn out. If it's anything like the school I'm sure they will be brilliant.