Belmont University’s new program in motion pictures announced today the inaugural workshop in a series of master classes for the program. Special guest J. Todd Harris, a producer of more than 40 feature films including 2010 hit, The Kids Are All Right, will lead the first workshop, “Producing the Independent Film,” on Mon., April 15 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the campus’ Neely Dining Room. This event is free and open to the public.
Harris noted that this workshop will be a practical guide for individuals who are new to, or are looking to learn about, production. “As a producer, you have to inspire people to give you money, give you time, effort and compassion,” he said. “You have to create a sense of higher purpose and credibility. You have to pick and manage a team and take them the distance. I find credibility to be a huge factor for all kinds of producing. You have to convince yourself that you have a valid project and then go about convincing dozens of others.”
Over the course of the three-hour workshop, Harris will guide attendees through the entire cycle of producing, including obtaining rights, developing a project, pitching a film, packaging and financing a movie, marketing, distribution and much more.
Last summer Belmont announced the opening of a new undergraduate degree program in motion pictures, the study of screenwriting, directing, producing, etc. The curriculum for this Interdisciplinary Studies program has been developed by Will Akers, Belmont’s new assistant professor and chair of the program. Motion Pictures classes will begin in fall 2013.
Akers said, “The Master Class series is an integral part of our curriculum, and Mr. Harris, an Oscar-nominated producer, is the perfect person to kick it off. Everyone needs to know how to produce. No matter what aspect of motion pictures interests you, you better be comfortable wearing the producer’s hat.”
J. Todd Harris is the president of the Los Angeles-based Branded Pictures Entertainment. Originally from New York City, he spent many years in Palo Alto, where he earned both his B.A. and MBA from Stanford and served as managing director of the award-winning repertory company TheatreWorks. Of the nearly 40 movies Mr. Harris has produced, highlights include Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated The Kids Are All Right, Bottle Shock, Crooked Arrows, Jeepers Creepers and Piranha 3D. A former lecturer at the Los Angeles Film School and columnist for trade publication Indiewire, Harris has been a member of the Motion Picture Academy since 1999 and recently became a founding board member of the Napa Valley Film Festival.