Last week was the final week of my first semester teaching at the University of Texas. It was amazing! I loved every second of it and although I'm mildly sad that it's over, I'm glad to be getting my Tuesdays and Thursdays back until next year. I love teaching, especially for the UT RTF department. It won't take long until I start looking forward to doing it again next January.
I wanted to do something really special for my students toward the end of the semester so I arranged to have my class conduct a live Q&A via Skype with Academy Award winning composer Michael Giacchino (THE INCREDIBLES, UP, RATATOUILLE, JOHN CARTER, SUPER 8, SPEED RACER). It took a few weeks, but we finally scheduled to hold the Skype session on the third-to-last-day of class. When I announced to the class a few weeks before the scheduled date that we would be doing this, they went nuts! They're were pretty excited to say the least.
So the day arrived and we were all set to go. I got confirmation from his office the night before. We were going to do a test just before class started and then conduct the interview about ten minutes after the hour. A few minutes before class was scheduled to begin, I got a call from Michael's assistant telling me that the power just went out in their studio! I could tell the students could tell it was bad news. We waited about fifteen more minutes and again I got a call saying that it had still not yet come back on. We decided to cancel and reschedule the following week on the last day of class.
I was bummed. I could tell the students were bummed. I didn't want to let them down and crossed my fingers that our rescheduled appointment the following week would stick.
The day arrived and just before class began I got an email from Michael's assistant saying he was all set and ready to go. He would be at Pixar that morning and would be conducting the interview from their offices. That's pretty cool! Sure enough, I called him up via Skype and there he was! For the next hour, I allowed the students to come up and ask questions. Michael was great! He has such a positive and unique outlook on life in Hollywood. He really was the perfect inspiration for a room full of starry-eyed ambitious film students. I think the students really got a kick out of that experience. I hope it sticks with them wherever they go.
I projected the computer monitor onto the screen as students asked him questions (foreground left)
Here is how the computer was set up so that the students could ask Michael their questions.