When I was 19, and singing in the short-lived vocal group Proudland Singers, our “administrative assistant” was also an amateur astrologer. She “did” my chart and informed me that it was full of fantastic “aspects.” I still do not know what that means. However, what I specifically remember was she saw teaching all the way through it...this, she said, was my true calling. I was a young, ambitious, and “committed to performing” so this news deflated my still developing ego. It was only a few years later, after completing my undergraduate education that I found my first employment as an artist-in-the-schools in Glendale...of all places...who knew?
This was the beginning of what I can only describe as the most satisfying work anyone can do. Since that time, I have supplemented my time between show biz gigs as a substitute teacher, a voice teacher, a nascent piano teacher, a reading teacher, a dance teacher, a religious education teacher, even an algebra tutor...no, not kidding. I finally found myself in higher education when I taught a Theology and Theatre course I developed while in divinity school. At one point, I taught acting and play production at a community college. I believe it was that experience that convinced me that at some point, I would teach college “for real.”
It was my experience in film that landed me adjunct work at DePaul University in Chicago. That experience led to a desire to write a book about Foley. The next step was predictable. I applied and was accepted (by the good graces of the school and the recommendation of Rick Altman, Ph.D. and film scholar extraordinaire). Creatives do not typically pursue a Ph.D.
After graduation and writing the second edition of The Foley Grail, I began a five-year adventure as the Endowed Chair in Telecommunications at Ball State University. Rather than amplify on details, the salient point is that the teaching journey has solidified my philosophy of teaching and learning, led to collaborations I never could have anticipated, and challenged my sense of self in every way. Additionally, academics are typically required to publish or create works. I did both. The publications were books and articles about film sound. There were conferences, presentations, festivals, and, of course, teaching.
My music continued, my acting continued, my filmmaking continued.
I demonstrate, discuss, do podcasts, radio shows, consult, and teach about Foley and filmmaking. I direct and teach singers and actors. I develop curriculum and online courses. I teach film production and film studies.
That time in my life has brought me full circle as a creative. Full Stop. All creative works are infused with some form of educating someone about something in some way.