Star Tragedies: A Career In Film

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Star Wars. Indiana Jones. Grey's Anatomy. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. All these four productions have one thing in common they were all produced by University of Southern California alumni. The Trojans as they like to call each other, pride themselves in their world-class dramatic arts and film schools. From humble beginnings, USC's theatre and film departments have grown to become the best arts programs in the world.
In 1870, Los Angeles was just a small frontier town of 11,000 people. With no roads, electricity, nor a fire system, the city was home to nothing but settlers trying to have a fresh start. However, along came a group of citizens led by Judge Robert Maclay Widney who wanted to advance Los Angeles by means of creating …show more content…

Hollywood sent their best actors to USC to teach a new class of actors, and film producers. Famous Hollywood figures such as director Frank Capra and actress Mary Pickford, lectured to hundreds of USC students interested in cinema arts. In 1932, USC became the first college to offer a bachelor's degree in Cinema and in 1933, the first student-directed film at USC shot at MGM Studios and cost $400 was made. It was called the Oval Portrait. It was based of off Edgar Allen Poe's short story the Oval Portrait and it won the Paul Muni Award for best college film production. Needless to say, the USC Film School was a huge success. In 1939, USC alumni A. Arnold Gillespie won an Oscar for Special Effects in Wizard of Oz. The next year, because of unexpected popularity, the Film School moved to a larger building. After World War II, enrollment in USC’s film school skyrocketed because of the GI Bill. In the next few years, USC’s Department of Cinema continued to introduce new class such as “Films for Television” in 1947, a class in documentary production and direction in 1949 and the now legendary class CTPR 480 (Production Workshop I) in 1951. Throughout the 50s USC’s Cinema Department produces many educational and documentary films. In 1955, faculty member Wilbur T. Blume won the Academy Award and nominated for best Documentary for his film, The Face of Lincoln. From the 60s until the 70s, USC’s students stole the …show more content…

Famous alumni from both schools have paved the way for a new breed of actors and directors. Actors like James Franco, who teaches at USC, and donations from alumni like George Lucas are all part of the reason why USC’s dramatic and cinematic arts programs are the best in the country. Throughout the history of USC’s arts programs one thing remains true, USC’s commitment to produce leaders in every industry is one of the reasons Trojans continue to influence the fine arts world

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