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The period from mid-November to mid-December at the Department of Film and TV can be easily named the international month. Well, it’s because we had even three foreign teachers —  Barry Primus, Los Angeles (USA), Theodore Life, Boston (USA), and Jan Forsström (Finland) — running online classes at the Department.

Theodore Life

Our first virtual visitor, Jan Forsström, a screenwriter and theorist from the faraway Lapland, hold a lecture Using Personal Experience in Screenwriting, in which he shared how to be authentic and avoid elements of autobiography when writing a screenplay. Building both on his own experience and examples from well-known films, Jan Forsström showed how to integrate personal experience into the storytelling of made-up events.

Theodore Reginald Life, a lecturer at Emerson College (USA) and a film director, shared with our master’s Film students his knowledge and experience of the film director’s preparedness to work with the actors. In the lecture, Theodore R. Life, the author of Becoming an Actor’s Director: Directing Actors for Film and Television, referred to his own method described in the book. He emphasised that the director’s “homework” is the prerequisite for being creative on the film set.

Jan Forsstrom

And, finally, there was a three-week acting workshop for our undergraduate Film Directing and master’s Acting students. The online training programme was led by Barry Primus, a film actor, director and experienced coach from Los Angeles. During the workshop, the aspiring filmmakers had a thorough introduction into the abilities of the actor, special techniques allowing actors to prepare for various emotional states. In the future, all this knowledge will enable our filmmaking students not only better understand their actors on the film set, but also clearly articulate the tasks they are setting for the actors.

The classes led by foreign teachers attracted high numbers of participants from different study programmes. The students were actively engaged in discussions, eager to express their opinions, demonstrating both their interest in the topic and excellent knowledge of English. And not only students: in fact, these learning events proved to be a source of experience for our teachers who also took part in the workshops and lectures of the international month at the LMTA Department of Film and Television.

14 December 2020