I’ve been teaching since the mid-1990s, when I used to teach adult literacy and ESL classes as a volunteer in Washington, DC and in Prague, Czech Republic. Bored with exercises in the textbooks, I started using personal storytelling as a way to get my students to connect with each other and to generate material for the class. You can practice pronunciation drills and conjugate verbs all day long, but you don’t really learn a language until you have something to say, and everyone is an authority on their own story.
Since 2006, I’ve been teaching screenwriting and film/video production classes at Columbia College in Chicago. I think of film teaching the same way I teach of language teaching – all the fumbling and stumbling you do as you learn the basics will matter more if you are trying to say something real and true about the world.
I also spend a lot of time in class discussing the attitudes and behaviors necessary to be an filmmaker: Collaboration, resourcefulness, good manners, how to critique work and respectfully disagree, how to present and advocate passionately for your own ideas, how to market your ideas to others and use the tools of the web and social media to reach a larger audience.
On this page, you’ll find current curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching philosophy, links to recent evaluations (coming soon), some examples of teaching materials I’ve created for my classes, and selected student work.