Work, Shoot, Play… and STUDY?
Would you be surprised to learn that the Los Angeles Center Studios house a hidden gem of a learning institution? And even more surprised to hear that it’s an accredited college that specializes in creative arts? In case you haven’t figured out whom we’re talking about, it’s The Relativity School. A long-standing tenant of LACS, we had a chance to chat with Glenn Kalison, the President of Relativity Education, about the school.
Q: First of all, we’re so excited to get a chance to chat with the only film school located on a working production lot, but that’s not all you do at the Relativity School, is it?
We are the only accredited college of its kind created in partnership with a motion picture studio, Relativity Media. We offer BFA degrees in Film + Digital Content, Commercial Dance, and Acting. Our programs feature a “business core” of courses designed to prepare artists and craftspeople in these storytelling trades to approach the industry as entrepreneurs. They also feature Collaboration Labs, which bring all the natural collaborators on our campus together to create videos and films in a project-based learning environment, with amazing production assets at their disposal such as the great practical sets of LA Center Studios.
Q: What was the original goal of the Relativity School? Do you think you’ve surpassed that?
We wanted to build a school with a unique industry alignment that would give students the opportunity to work in the “real-world,” while accomplishing a high level accredited bachelor’s degree program. We wanted to attract top tier young talent to train in a place that would position them to enter the industry with significant experience and resumes. We have nailed those goals and now it’s about refining the training and producing the graduates that are ready to redefine Hollywood.
Q: Let’s talk students. Who is the Relativity School student?
Our students are talented young artists from around the world that are ready to focus on craft and develop their artistic voices in a pre-professional setting. Many of our students have been recognized at youth film festivals, dance competitions, and visual and performing arts fairs as tops in their field amongst their peers. Others have demonstrated to us enormous potential for growth. In all our students, we look for open-minded learners that will thrive in a collaborative, conservatory-type setting.
Q: So the campus must be a big draw. What are the benefits of being on the LACS lot?
It’s an incredibly inspiring setting because our students enter with a love of film and a hunger to learn about all facets of the process. So while they are creating their own content, they see the industry at work with major film and TV production literally going on outside of their classroom door. Additionally, when there is not pro-work happening on the sets, they have the opportunity to shoot and hold class on them, which provides for a great variety of environment for student project.
Q: Have students been able to get a hands-on experience because of those benefits you mentioned?
Absolutely. They see the work going on around them and then they can step in and do it right where the pros make it happen. It doesn’t get more hands-on then that. Our location on the ground floor of the lot and the only permanent green screen has opened us up to digital and low-budget productions (Relativity productions and other production companies) that seek our students out to round out crews with 3rd positions and PAs.
Q: Tell us about some of the faculty. What makes them so unique?
Our instructors are passionate about teaching and active in their respective fields. Crista Flanagan is one of our Acting teachers and she was a regular here on the lot in Mad Men as well as many other shows. Colin Campbell, an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, is a wonderful teacher that covers Screenwriting for us. He was previously a resident artist at Harvard. We’re lucky to have Michelle Loucadoux as our Commercial Dance program director. She has multiple Broadway shows to her credit as well being an active screen performer. Our students are incredibly lucky!
Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer LACSLife’s questions. Any last parting words or advice for future creators and entertainers?
My advice is follow your heart, choose your heroes, and decide what kind of stories you want to tell. Be an entrepreneur and grow an audience as soon as you decide the above because you can do that now! And find a great school that will nurture your talents, support your growth as a person, an artist, and craftsperson – and if you think being connected to the industry while you are training is a good idea, I’ve got a school for you to check out.