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Guest Artists 2023-24

Writer/Producer Jim Patterson (Two and a Half Men/Call Me Kat), accompanied by Professor Jim Burnstein, conducted an open session with the FTVM Mitchell Scholars on Friday, September 15, 2023. wherein he opened the floor to questions about how to navigate a career in a writers' room. Interspersed with personal anecdotes and several doses of laughter, Patterson left the scholars with excellent advice on breaking into the industry - and on making oneself an invaluable asset. During his time on campus, Patterson also visited and engaged with students in Oliver Thornton's FTVM 311 & 411, and Thornton and Rayher's FTVM 421. 

On Friday, September 29, 2023, Screenwriter, Television Writer, and Director Maegan Houang met with Professor Burnstein's FTVM 427 Advanced Screenwriting Seminar writers in a special morning session to review the first five pages of their new feature-length screenplays.

(Pictured, L to R - Elle Pugh, Morgan Kisner, Adam Miros, Maegan Houang, Luke Lencioni, Elizabeth Stewart, Jim Burnstein. Not pictured, Aidan Harris) 

In mid-October of 2023, Writer and Actor Matt Price (UM 1993) visited campus and worked with students in every segment of FTVM -- from Chris McNamara’s Animation and Digital Media Practices class in production, to John H. Mitchell Visiting Professor in Media Entertainment Miranda Banks' Hollywood Cultures studies class, to Jim Burnstein's 427 Advanced Screenwriting Seminar, to Oliver Thornton’s Television Writing classes (both spec and pilot). In addition, he held a special session with the Mitchell Scholars and finished the week speaking to a large crowd of FTVM students and non-majors alike in the Rackham Amphitheatre. Price's visit was truly a Benedek Visiting Artist tour de force!

On Friday, October 13, 2023, in North Quad's Studio A, FTVM alum Nicole Teddone (’19) spoke to FTVM students about her career pathway. Beginning in the mailroom at WME in Los Angeles and then transitioning to a position as an agent trainee in WME New York specializing in working with up-and-coming comedians, Nicole now works in the Kaplan-Perrone Entertainment Company’s New York office. In addition to detailing her personal journey, Nicole answered students' questions about how best to find jobs in the agency mailrooms and explored other paths they might want to pursue. Thank you for sharing your time and your knowledge with us, Nicole! 

Above photos courtesy of FTVM Chief Engineer, Rob Gingerich-Jones 

photos courtesy of FTVM Chief Engineer, Rob Gingerich-Jones 

Eddie Rubin (FTVM '09), the producer of such films as The Guilty, Blue Bayou, and The Farewell, spent time with Ling Hsu's FTVM 366 Introduction to Producing class on October 20, 2023.  He spoke to students about what producing entails, how he finds and develops material, and how to get into the industry.  He also regaled the class with tales of shooting all over the world and the crazy -- but extremely funny -- situations he found himself in as a producer.

On Friday, October 20, 2023, UM Alum and EVP, Head of Content Acquistions, NBCUniversal, Val Boreland (pictured at top right) joined Lecturer and Screenwriter Cindy Davis to meet with a group of women screenwriters from FTVM's advanced screenwriting classes in our FTVM conference room.  During this special session, Val Boreland was wonderfully candid about the skills required of her as head of content acquisitions for NBCUniversal.  Additionally, she provided valuable advice on pitching and outlined the specific qualities a project should possess to align with the Peacock mandate.

Writer/Producer Doug Miro (Narcos, The Great Wall) met with Professor Colin Gunckel’s Latina/os and the Media class on Thursday, November 2, 2023, followed by a special session with the Mitchell Scholars and a visit to Professor Oliver Thornton’s 411 pilot class to hear the students’ pilot pitches. On Friday morning, November 3, he met with Professor Jim Burnstein’s 427 advanced screenwriting seminar to review the students’ beginning pages of their original feature screenplays.

Pictured (at top) Professor Jim Burnstein (at left) with FTVM 427 and Doug Miro (at right) 
Pictured (at bottom) Doug Miro (at center) with FTVM Mitchell Scholars 

(At left) Lauren Freeman (Mitchell Scholar, 22-23) joins the current Mitchell Scholar cohort in a playful pose with Writer/Producer Phonz Wiliams after his engaging session with them on Friday, November 17, 2023, about how to proceed in the industry. Joined by Director of Screenwriting Jim Burnstein, Phonz shared invaluable advice about forward thinking, the power of visualization, and how to "give as much as you ask" to those around you.  

A special thank you goes out to Phonz for sharing so much of his time with FTVM during his visit. During his three-day stay, in addition to his open session at Rackham, Phonz met with students in FTVM 427 (both in class and on an individual basis); students in FTVM 311 and 411 -- and members of the Black Film Society!