SRQ Daily Nov 27, 2021
Lights. Cameras. Works.
There are few industries that rival filmmaking in terms of what’s the most fun to cover. Of course, that’s part of the glitz – chances to interview movie stars at the Sarasota Film Festival prove to be the easiest way to impress high school friends on Facebook. But there are also few sprawling effects of cinema on the local economy that are virtually unparalleled.
Want to develop a creative class? Cinema powers all kinds of things, from writers who write scripts to props in sculpture building and tech geeks who innovate in special effects. Aid for higher education? Ringling College of Art & Design quickly built one of America’s best film schools and began attracting A-level talent to shoot or edit their work in Sarasota to boot. Do you want an industry with spinoffs? A film production often ends up hiring local caterers to create craft service tables, local retailers for wardrobe actors, and even local furniture stores to furnish the sets.
This is why it has been so sad over the past decade to see movie incentives mocking left and right as a kind of corporate welfare. The result was Florida’s economic bait for Hollywood spinning (pun intended) as other southern states practically stole the show.
There is a show called “Florida Man” that ended up filming in North Carolina this year. “Ballers,” an HBO series set in Miami, began filming in Florida but ended its final seasons elsewhere because state incentive funds ran out of gas in 2016. Locally, the series ” Claws “reportedly told the story of a Palmetto salon but did virtually all of its shoots in New Orleans with little action filmed here.
These are just a few of the indignities that accompanied the withering away of a successful program that, less than a decade ago, made Florida the No. 3 union state of productions. Florida, unfortunately, lost the plot.
For several years, Senator Joe Gruters has tried to capture the script again. He just tabled a new law this year that would put in place a tax credit program for productions employing actors and crews from Florida and offering above-average salaries.
It’s not as generous as the old state cinema incentive program, which saw peak action during the then government. Rick Scott’s Incentives – years of gangbuster economic development galore. Enthusiasm for this type of industry bait in Florida collapsed after the state saw many incentive deals degrade and the state paid substantial sums for jobs that no ‘have never seen the light of day. Sadly, Sarasota also knows a little about it, and deals like the one offered at Sanborn Studios have soured audiences fairly on the incentives but unfairly on the film in general.
So, Gruters and other proponents of movie incentives worked to create a program with greater accountability, fewer opportunities for abuse, and the possibility of as conservative political messages as possible. I hope this will be enough to convince the skeptics, at least those who represent fields like this with a strong interest in cinema. Gruters have long viewed cinema as a victory not only for industry but also for tourism, with the scenic Gulf Coast being shown on television or movie screens around the world.
Meanwhile, Atlanta has become a second Hollywood with Marvel turning the biggest blockbusters of the past decade just a few hours drive north of the Georgia-Florida line. There, travelers buy tickets for tours of the area so that they can see the places where famous superheroes have clashed on the streets of the city.
If the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy land here isn’t your thing, then look beyond the glitter and ask where you want our talent, these young Ringling College graduate filmmakers, to land on their own, creating jobs with creative concepts and help the region’s industry along the way.
Jacob Ogles is editor-in-chief for SRQ MEDIA.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Make your passion your job
Born in 1901, Walter E. Disney was a visionary from an early age. The young artist was already drawing his first somewhat raw characters at the age of 7. He never stopped. His passion took him to Hollywood with $ 40 and an unfinished cartoon in his pocket. In 1923, at the age of 22, the Walt Disney Empire was born. Today we cannot imagine a world without Mickey Mouse, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, or hundreds of other beloved characters. The Walt Disney Company has grown into one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
Walt’s motto: Dream, Believe, Dare, Do. These four words have served him well and are words with which the students of Ringling College live. Because, as Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. “
For many of our students, by the time they arrive on our campus, their passions and dreams are already the guiding force in their lives. The role of Ringling College is therefore to educate and mentor, developing the skills necessary to enable their passions to lead to professional success.
Consider our students enrolled in the Computer Animation, Game Art and Motion Design majors.
You probably know who they are. Growing up, they were fascinated by the fantasy worlds of animation and games. They invented characters and environments and told their own fictional stories through art and, in some cases, movement. According to some parents, they spent too much time on the computer, playing video games or watching animated films.
Well guess what? These kids who play games and watch movies are now competing for jobs in some of the most competitive and highest paying entertainment industries today. And Ringling College allows them to make it happen.
Ringling College’s computer animation program is currently ranked # 1 in the world by Recruits. These students study every part of a 3D animation from start to finish – from storyboarding to visual development, texturing, rigging, lighting and finally composition. With a high-performance render farm available on campus, student animations can be rendered in hours, a process that would otherwise take days. Think of any recent and successful animated film – Frozen, Moana, Toy story 4 – and you’ll find Ringling Computer Animation alumni in the credits.
Then there is the video game industry. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars every year, and Ringling College graduates are also at the center of this booming business. At Ringling College, students of the art of the game are introduced to the strategy and interactivity of games and how they can tell compelling stories in invented environments specially created to keep the player engaged and wanting more.
Likewise, motion design students at Ringling College learn to push the boundaries of visual communication, developing a moving design for any screen, from computers to tablets to movies. Think about how we receive our information in today’s world. Almost everything is visual – commercials, movie and series openings, social media – which makes these students very adaptable and highly employable.
While you might not recognize the names of the Computer Animation, Game Art, and Motion Design students at Ringling College today, they might be as familiar tomorrow as Walt Disney, Tim Burton and Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo’s legendary game designer), each in their own way. revolutionized their artistic practice by always looking to the future and trying things that had never been tried before.
There are many factors that distinguish Ringling College from its competitors. But in the case of these particular degree programs, the difference comes down to the cutting edge technology students have, connections to industry, and the best education in the world.
From day one, our students have access to the latest cutting-edge technology and software, enabling them to learn and compete in these ever-changing and fast-paced industries. We’re also making sure they’re ready to leave Ringling for their careers. This means that helping them build a portfolio will impress the 100+ industry professionals from companies like Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, EA Games, Nickelodeon and many more who come to Ringling College to recruit and hire. Together, these are even more crucial steps on the road to transforming this creative passion into a profession.
As Walt Disney himself would remind us: “Laughter is timeless, the imagination is ageless and dreams are eternal. And, “it’s kinda fun doing the impossible.” Welcome to Ringling College.
Dr. Larry thompson is president of the Ringling College of Art & Design.