Truly Free Film In Academia: JUNO - an open case study live! TODAY!!

By Adam Collis

Today, Saturday, January 26th, Arizona State University will be hosting an all day inter-collegiate video conference with members of the Juno team, including director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody, editor Dana Glauberman, cinematographer Eric Steelberg, title designer Gareth Smith, financier-producer Nathan Kahane, producer Mason Novick and Fox Searchlight President of Production Claudia Lewis.  Participating in this Interactive Open Learning Experience/Experiment are students from ASU, UCLA, Duke, University of Montana, Quinnipiac University and Yale.  Film students and film lovers can also watch online.  The event is called Anatomy of a Feature Film: JUNO and all the details are at
I'd love for you to watch the event.  But I'm writing today to share the story of how all of this came together and why sharing film events like this one is important.
For the past 3 years, I've served as ASU's Visting Professor of Film Directing.  I "visit" from LA each week to teach senior directing and thesis film students.

Since I was visiting from LA, I thought I should bring a little Hollywood to Tempe.  So I began organizing events like Hollywood Invades Tempe! and Anatomy of a Feature Film to give my students a chance to speak with, learn from and connect to top Hollywood professionals. 

We started with nothing more than the screening of a film in a classroom followed by a Skype session with a buddy of mine who had worked on the film.  Larry Sher, DP of Garden State and The Hangover films was kind enough to be our first guest.  As you will see by looking at the HIT! website, the Hollywood community has been incredibly supportive.  

But what I soon discovered was that these casual conversations were as valuable to my students as our classes, albeit in a different way.

It's one thing to talk theory and to teach craft - and that is important.  But students need to hear from people on the front lines, the folks who are actually doing what they aspire to do.  I was incredibly lucky as a graduate at USC's School of Cinematic Arts to be able to listen to many amazing filmmakers and to even ask one of them a question.  I still remember what Robert Zemeckis told me about his process for setting up a shot's composition:  "Look to the script.  It will always tell you where to put the camera."  Or something pretty close to that.

But schools like ASU and others around the country clearly aren't close enough to LA to allow for these sorts of visits - except on special occasions, like the two times we at ASU were treated to a Ted Hope weekend seminar extravaganza!  

The good news is that the Technological Revolution, that we are all a part of, allows these sorts of educational experiences to happen remotely.  We should all give thanks to the technological wizards who make these impossible things real - people like Nate Sherman at CISCO, who has given us amazing amounts of technical support and extraordinary amounts of time, which in turn, have given our film students the chance to connect with the exceptional Hollywood professionals behind Juno.

But not only ASU students.  After brainstorming a bit with Shane, we realized that we could, somewhat easily, invite students from other schools around the country to be a part of the conversation.

It seems that, in addition to being in the midst of the Technological Revolution, we are also in the Era of Sharing.  Look at how sharing is all around us.  There's tons of  low stakes sharing, like the Facebook post of a picture of my 6 year old holding the tooth that I pulled for her!  And there's high stakes sharing too like WikiLeaks and Megaupload.  In academia, some of the world's greatest universities, including many Ivy League schools have been sharing lectures online and allowing anyone access to course materials for free.  By sharing their coveted knowledge, anyone now can learn.  And even if they don't get credit or a degree, that has to be a good thing.  This development is known in Academia as the Open Learning Movement. 

Anatomy of a Feature Film represents a new stage in this movement.  I'm calling the event an Interactive Open Learning Experience/Experiment. - one that can also be enjoyed by anyone around the world by going to our livestream site:  My hope is that, after doing a few of these successfully, I'll be able to take "Experiment" off of the name.

By sharing with students around the nation and by "networking" in more perspectives, we hope that everyone's educational experience will be enriched.  And we're delighted that we can share the wealth.

I've been lucky because the leadership at ASU's School of Theatre and Film, chiefly Jake Pinholster (director of SoTF) and Miguel Valenti (head of the film program) have created an incredibly supportive and encouraging environment which fosters these sorts of programs.  Frankly, it makes the trip from LA well worth it.

I hope other film schools, as well as organizations like Film Independent and IFP, will move in this direction by harnessing the power of this mind blowing technology and by fully embracing the Era of Sharing.

If you are interesting in Anatomy of a Feature Film: JUNO, details are below.

If you loved JUNO, you will really love...
Anatomy of a Feature Film: JUNO
Spend THIS Saturday (1/26) with Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, and the amazing team behind Juno.
Watch It:
For Details & Updates:
Members of the local ASU community may come to observe the event at the Marston Theatre - ASU School of Earth & Space Exploration - SESE/ISTB4.

Schedule for Anatomy of a Feature Film: JUNO 
***all times are Pacific Standard Time

9:00am - 9:40am: Producer, Mason Novick

live - in person at UCLA 

9:50am - 10:30am: Cinematographer, Eric Steelberg
live - in person at UCLA 

10:40am - 11:20am: Editor, Dana Glauberman
live - in person at UCLA 

11:30am - 12:10pm: Title Sequence Artist, Gareth Smith
live - in person at UCLA 

12:20pm - 1:00pm: Writer, Diablo Cody
via video conference 

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Lunch 

2:00pm - 2:40pm: Financier Producer, Nathan Kahane
via video conference 

2:50pm - 3:30pm: Fox Searchlight President of Production, Claudia Lewis
via video conference 

3:40pm - 4:20pm: Fox Searchlight President, Nancy Utley (invited

4:30pm - 5:30pm: Director, Jason Reitman
live - in person at UCLA! 

***all times are Pacific Standard Time