Beginning a Film Career

Mr. Tom Jacques (right) helps a student with a film project. (Photo/Keegan Douglas)

Mr. Tom Jacques (right) helps a student with a film project. (Photo/Keegan Douglas)

By: Keegan Douglass

Art is expressed through many different forms, such as painting and sculpting. Filmmaking is another art form that stands out in modern-day popular culture, but building a career around it is unusual.

Experts on how to begin a career in this field are the TV and Film Production teacher, Mr. Thomas Jacques and Director David Worth who directed the movies Warriors of the Lost World and Kickboxer. The only difference between these two is that Jacques became a teacher and Worth became a movie director.

Jacques majored in education and communication for television and film production, then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked on various productions such as an unnamed extra in the popular soap opera All My Children. After five years of working both in front of and behind the camera, he went to Penn State University to earn his Masters in Fine Art Directing and Acting.

“I always enjoyed the training of the undergraduates during my time at Penn State,” he said, on the subject of his early years of filming.

While teaching undergraduates and other students before arriving at AHS, he learned that the best way to teach filmmaking was through project based learning, or teaching through projects. However, this isn’t always easy with the budget limit and the short amount of supplies.

“As teachers, we need to learn to work with the provided equipment and whatever amount of supplies we are given,” said Jacques, referring to the limited supplies given to the school for this class. He added, “My main goal is to teach students to work collaboratively – teaching students to start with an idea and formulate a story through the process of filmmaking.”

Jacques believes that a filmmaker must have the ability to work collaboratively and this is shown through his methods of teaching. Before the final production, Jacques sends students out to shoot various camera angles so they begin to understand the fundamentals of filmmaking. He believes that anyone who wants to peruse a career in filmmaking should go to any of the film schools in New York or Los Angeles.

Worth also had a passion for film; he used his passion for film to become a director rather than a teacher.

Worth began his career by studying famous film artists such as Stanley Kubrick and D.W. Griffith, so he could begin to build experience. Then, he majored in Motion Pictures at the University of California, Los Angeles.

After college, he started to work behind the camera on a movie called Bronco Billy with Clint Eastwood. Later, after more experience with films directed by other people, he began to direct his own movies and built his career around it.

“If someone wants to make a career out of filmmaking, they should start by watching movies by Orson Wells, such as Citizen Kane. I knew, after watching that, that I wanted to become a filmmaker, and somehow I had already taken the first step,” said Worth.

Both Jacques and Worth share a similar quality, and that is a passion for film; they each began with first-hand experience, then moving on to work in the field. They are both evidence that a degree in film can be used for a variety of careers.