Wildcat ignores 'positive' changes in Media Arts coverage

By Michael J. Little, BFA
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 8, 1997


In response to both the article by Mary Fan ("Media Arts students discontent over department's policy changes," August 28) and the follow-up editorial cartoon by Tom Wentzel, it's interesting to note that this paper is not interested in promoting any of the positive changes made by the department to ensure that students receive the best education possible.

As a 1994 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the Department of Media Arts, I can attest to the fact that the program has changed for the better at least ten times over what it was five years ago. The truth is that with the education I received at that time, I don't have the portfolio or the entire requisite knowledge needed to work in the entertainment industry. That is why, in part, I am now working for the department as a member of the office staff.

The bottom line of the article is that students are upset that the department is changing certain requirements on them. Requirements change. That's a fact of life at a major university. Hell, the department changed certain things on me while I was attending classes. That is the nature of media. It does not remain stagnant and unaltered. It is always evolving. From silent film to color to widescreen to video to digital technology, nothing remains the same in media. It is ridiculous to assume that since that's the way it was then, we should constantly keep the same tired requirements.

These BFA students have an incredible opportunity to work in a real-world setting that I never had. We are offering them the possibility to work as a crew, to specialize in a particular area and excel in that particular area. Frankly, if these students are looking at film school after the U of A, they will be accepted into specialized areas. Writers will be accepted into writing programs, directors into directing programs, editors into editing programs.

No one ever has complete creative control of a project. When Kevin Costner was in town making "The Postman," he was not running around adjusting lights and playing with the light meter, that's one role of the Director of Photography. He won't edit or score the film, just as he won't play all the roles in the film. Ass well, when he's completed his cut of the film, the studio will more than likely remove things for time and content. Similarly, when these young auteurs or ours are finished with their projects, they may be told that one scene is too dark, another out of focus, sound should be remixed, re-editing on a scene should take place because of breaking the 180-degree rule, etc. This may affect their grade, and from a certain point of view that is removing ultimate creative control from their hands. Just like in real life. To ensure that their projects are made, all the students had to do was turn in a kick-ass treatment and have it chosen by their peers.

Finally, Mr. Wentzel's crudely drawn cartoon is a travesty. The fact is that Dr. Haralovich did meet with the students and listened to their complaints. She never told them to get out and never refused to work problems out. Ultimately, the Daily Wildcat is an irresponsible publication. The fact that you couldn't even get our department name correct (Media Arts, not Media) speaks volumes in terms of being able to get the facts right.

Michael J. Little, BFA
office specialist, Department of Media Arts


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