Caucuses: Entertainment Industry

Caucus Co-Chairs: Evan Lieberman and David Tarleton

Who is the EIC?

Faculty who teach production are likely to be active in their craft, typically in independent documentary or narrative projects. Faculty might also be active in the professional educational or corporate markets. However, because of its competition and demands—apart from writing speculative screenplays—it is less likely that full-time faculty members have been or will be active as entertainment professionals, particularly outside of Los Angeles and New York.

Yet, many cinema students aspire to work in the entertainment industry, whether in "Hollywood” or on productions that are invariably linked to it if they are commercially viable. Accordingly, there can be a disconnect between the professional experience many faculty members bring to academe and the professional experience to which their students aspire.

Many entertainment professionals do not have the degrees required to easily move into teaching, hence their numbers in academe have been relatively small. However, with MFA programs maturing and multiplying, and more institutions willing to waive traditional degree requirements, there is an increasing number of faculty with entertainment industry experience in the University Film and Video Association (UFVA).

While professionals will likely have far less scholarly knowledge from reading, researching, or writing than their more academic peers, they can potentially access that knowledge through books and journals. On the other hand, the industry and empirical knowledge professionals have is less likely to be published and, therefore, less accessible. The UFVA’s Entertainment Industry Caucus (EIC) will seek to make its professional members a more visible and accessible resource for their colleagues at other institutions through activities such as setting up conference panels that draw on its members’ firsthand professional experience.


In short, the EIC’s goal is to help UFVA members with both professional and academic backgrounds share their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses in the quest to educate the next generation of cinema professionals and academics.


2016 Entertainment Industry Caucus Minutes


Barbara Doyle, Evan Smith, Nothrup Davis, Hafed Bouassida, Laura Medina, Betsy Pollock, Russel Schwartz, Katherine MacDonald, Dennis Conway, Jason E. Squire, Steve M. Savanyu, David Tarleton, Fred Ginsburg, Frank Deese, David Landau, Frank Tomasulo

Report from 2015 questions:

The UFVA best practices guidelines for tenure and promotion are being updated. Valuing professional work was raised as an issue to be addressed.

To aid the tenure process, professional work can be submitted for peer review but as a screening or script only, not a panel. There may not be previous instances of highly commercial work being screened at UFVA. It might not hurt to note with such a submission that the board believes professional work has a place at conference screenings.

New business:

Barbara Doyle announced that Belmont would be conducting a search for a full-time screenwriting faculty member. More positions are anticipated. Faculty with professional experience are encouraged to apply.

The caucus felt that there are too many things available on the web and that scheduling multiple schools at a common time makes the proposal to host monthly or other periodic guest web speakers impractical. In it it’s place other ideas were broached based on expanding the UFVA website:

-A page of curated links to guest speakers, whether generated by UFVA members or from other sources.

-A page with salary information for various film careers, suggested by David Landau to encourage students to consider a wider breadth of careers.

-A forum for asking questions of EIC or possibly other UFVA members with specific expertise.

-A forum for providing advice about tenure either for just the EIC or the UFVA as a whole.

2015 Entertainment Industry Caucus Minutes


Attendance: Peter Kiwitt, David Tarleton, Will Akers, Norman Hollyn, Lisa Gottlieb, Hafed Bouassida, Jack Sholder, Frank Deese, David Waldman, Laura Medina, +1


We should consider establishing a mentorship program for new professors entering academe from the entertainment industry.

We should consider establishing a blog for teaching, service, scholarship (textbooks)—this is also an association-wide issue.

EIC members can assist professional relations with entertainment industry contacts for both the conference and as a liaison for schools year round.

We should consider establishing a peer review program for professional work. This will require Board approval.

We discussed establishing a program to certify professionals as having MFA equivalency. Norman said that was not viable.




In attendance were Peter Kiwitt (Chair), Hafed Bouassida, David Carren , Kevin Dole, Craig Huston, David Landau, Jack Sholder, and Diane Walsh.

The origin and purpose of the caucus were recapped. The caucus discussed looking at broader initiatives, but will keep its focus on initiating panels and presentations. At this year’s conference, the EIC successfully instigated three panels and one presentation. The panels were "Keeping Current and Relevant in Film, Television and New Media,” "Cinema-Style Television,” and "Teaching the Art of Collaboration.” The presentation was "They Don’t All have to be Directors.” Members were encouraged to credit the EIC in the descriptions of panels initiated by the caucus to help raise the caucus profile and further its mission of bringing industry or industry inspired insights to the academic community.

The caucus will continue to use the EIC forum on the UFVA website to post and initially form panels. The Chair will update the website: noting presented panels, renewing previously suggested panels that did not run, and adding newly suggested panels.

New panel ideas include: 

"Those Who Can Do, Can Learn to Teach” or "Teaching Tips from Working Pros” This panel would look at the pedagogical tips, tricks, and techniques that converts from the industry found most useful in learning to teach.


"Those Who Do Can’t Necessarily Teach,” "Pedagogy Chat Room,” or "Transpanel” This panel is similar that listed above, but it would be more of an open forum where panel presenters and attendees would have a two-way discussion of tips, tricks, and techniques for the classroom.


"Hollywood Isn’t Going Away”

This panel works from the premise that, despite the increasing democratization of media, the entertainment industry will still remain a primary source of employment. While "self-employed new mediamaker” will no doubt join "academic” and "regional professional” as career options for students, many will still aspire to "Hollywood” careers and, as such, still need to be prepared for it.


"Where You Start is Where You End”
A presentation or panel on story structure.


"Virtual Panel – What Do We Need to Teach?”
Two versions were suggested for a panel that is moderated at the conference with panelists at remote locations. One was with established industry professionals, the other with more recent film school graduates. The graduate version could also be called "How are Our Graduates Doing?”


Finally, new member Kevin Dole is hoping to shoot a feature next year and offered to have an intern shoot video for weekly web updates, or some other means of making the production available as a virtual experience for current students.



In attendance: Peter Kiwitt – Chair, Will Akers, Hafed Bouassida, David Carren, Northrop Davis, Lisa Gottlieb, David Landau, Francisco Menendez, Claudia Myers, Jeff Ryder, Jule Selbo, Diane Walsh

The Entertainment Industry Caucus (EIC) discussed what "entertainment industry” means and who should comprise the caucus. The EIC welcomes all who are interested in preparing students for the professional world, but seeks out those who have made their livelihood working on national, professional productions, whether above-the-line, below-the-line, or managerial. While the main focus of the EIC is to share lessons learned in the professional world, it recognizes that effective teaching is more significant than professional experience and, so, also seeks to help professionals transition to and thrive in academe.

The main topic of discussion was brainstorming about what panels might be offered at next year’s conference. I will post the ideas discussed on the EIC’s UFVA forum so members can put themselves up for the panels that interest them. Once we gauge interest, we will try to assemble the panels.

Also discussed, was using the forum as a means of communication rather than forming a Facebook page.


Group Feed
Jay Wertz joined the group Caucuses: Entertainment Industry.
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2020
Randall Blair joined the group Caucuses: Entertainment Industry.
Posted Friday, June 12, 2020
Lisa Tervo joined the group Caucuses: Entertainment Industry.
Posted Monday, June 1, 2020
mona mwakalinga joined the group Caucuses: Entertainment Industry.
Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Julian Berrian joined the group Caucuses: Entertainment Industry.
Posted Monday, December 30, 2019
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