Introduction to Film and American Culture (TH208),
California Polytechnic State University - Pomona
Spring, 2022 - Fall, 2023
Storytelling for Virtual Reality (MCJ420), 3 units
California State University Summer Arts
Introduction to Dramaturgy (THEA103)
California State University - Long Beach
Spring - Fall, 2020
I am passionate about the subjects I teach. Whether I am sharing with students the history of film or an introduction to dramaturgy or an exploration of writing for interactive mediums, I believe that storytelling in any and all forms is an essential part of the human experience - of making sense of the world around us and experiencing emotions in full and healthy ways. The more that students can gain an understanding of how and why these stories are constructed, and how those particular constructions work on them, the more they will be able to appreciate the power of those stories and use them in proactive ways.
When I teach, my goal is for my students to leave the class more excited and curious than when they entered, more entranced by that power. On one hand, we are surrounded by more story than ever before. We are inundated with it at every waking moment, from advertisements in their myriad forms to streaming content and even the narratives advanced through social media. But its ubiquity has perhaps diluted story’s power, and the importance of each of its elements. As a teacher, I want my students to learn it almost as a science; to develop an understanding of key storytelling concepts like plot, character, theme, tone, and style, and to be able to connect those concepts in a cause-and-effect way to the feelings a story can leave them with. By fostering this kind of critical thinking and an appreciation for the essential crafts and roles necessary to bring stories to life, students should be able to develop their own informed opinions and a personal aesthetic that will help to define them.
I believe in a flexible manner of instruction, and one that is adaptive to the unique qualities of any given class. This is especially true of the students themselves, whose varied backgrounds will impact the way they relate to any given story. My own genuine curiosity about their backgrounds and the wealth of experiences they bring to these stories is essential, and so I work to create a warm, inviting tone, allowing students to at least partially dictate the way in which we talk about these stories. I teach the arts which, broadly speaking, is fueled by the personal and often inherent passion one has for the subject, and not necessarily its utility in the modern world. As such, I try to lead with my own passion for the subject, relating to students in a way that emphasizes my enjoyment of the material and the enjoyment that is there for each of them to find.
I strive at all times to teach not only with my personal passion for the subject but from a place of genuine empathy and with a true desire to see each student succeed. I take joy in enriching a student’s ability to read, watch, think about and discuss stories, and in giving them the tools to enrich their own lives.
Additional Pedagogical Experience
The Robey Theatre Company
I led the Advanced Playwright's Lab there from 2006 to 2020. The lab consists of a ten-week program that meets once a week for three hours. The group ranges in size from six to twelve writers. The program I developed there included discussion of plays from a reading list I created and/or around fundamental aspects of playwriting, guided feedback on writing that lab participants submit to the group weekly, and rriting exercises that I select from a list I’ve assembled and in conjunction with that day’s discussion topics.
Youtube VR Creators Lab
I served as a guest speaker and mentor to content creators at the inaugural Creators Lab in 2017. My work included co-authoring an article for the website VR Scout and presenting it at the three-day bootcamp offered to lab participants. I then offered editorial feedback to select, participating groups, all of whom manage Youtube channels with 100,000+ subscribers, as they continued through a three month production period.
VRLA School: Cinematic VR Writing & Directing Workshop
In August, 2016, I participated as a speaker and a mentor during this one-day intensive workshop covering writing, directing and designing for 360° cinema.