There are four essential learning objectives students must master to successfully launch a career in today’s creative economy. The concepts of Story, Craft, Collaboration, and Entrepreneurship are woven throughout our approach and serve as the touchstone of preparation for a career in the arts; a unique advantage that graduates won’t find anywhere else.
1. Students must become expert Storytellers:
We Start with Story.
Starting on day one, all Studio School students begin intensive storytelling training. We want to immediately focus their education by providing a deep-dive into myth and storytelling
Our entire general education curriculum is centered around storytelling that stimulates and supports that training, while molding our students into well-rounded thinkers, artists and storytellers themselves. Naturally, each accredited general education course has its own focus, including science, technology and mathematics. However, symbols, imagery, narrative and motifs are found across all disciplines in life. And, because story is the spine that binds all Studio School courses together, students learn to identify patterns and themes throughout all their classes.
We teach our students how to create compelling stories out of their ideas.
As students understand the elements of story and its power to transform, we encourage them to create stories that express their personal vision of the world today, and more importantly what the world can be when expressed through their stories.
In many circles, Joseph Campbell is known as the father of story. Most famously, his work on the Hero’s Journey has informed prolific storytellers such as George Lucas. Studio School is honored to host the Joseph Campbell Writers’ Room (JCWR), where students can experience the celebrated author’s own broad resources on story and mythology and receive mentoring and coaching from professional masters of story
We help our students along their own hero’s journey.
Studio Enterprise places a strong emphasis on pursuing personal dreams. We believe that when the students see themselves as heroes on their own journey, they’re able to identify personal and global themes that enable them to overcome obstacles and accomplish their goals.
2. Students must master their craft:
We teach excellence.
As artists, students need to learn the paradigm, then have the freedom and encouragement to break it. Our students learn solid techniques from experts in their field. They start hands-on learning with a fully immersive experience in their craft on the first day, and throughout their program. Most importantly, our students will advance on the talent continuum. No matter what their starting point, by the time students graduate their craft will mature into a hard skill that can serve them for a lifetime.
Our faculty are professional content creators.
Our faculty work in the industry—filming, performing, dancing and creating commercial content. They’re successful in their careers, and in their crafts. They teach at Studio School because they want to immerse themselves with the next generation of content creators, and lend experience and insight that will enable students to stretch the norms of creative expression.
We unveil the individual inside of each student.
New students are encouraged to showcase their unedited selves, not what they think we want to see. We want to know who our students really are—their obsessions, imperfections, outrageous ideas and their world views. This is what make them unique and what allows them to become real artists. When we see who our students really are, we can teach them how to develop, brand, and market themselves to the industry.
We create space to be vulnerable.
We encourage risk. Studio School is a safe place to learn how to fail, so our students can then go out into the world as a fearless artist. Vulnerability is what makes for a good performance, good entertainment, and good story. We help students to crack themselves open in their craft, and to take risks, so our faculty show compassion, encouragement, and lots of self-deprecating humor along the way. If the students aren’t willing to create and take risks, they won’t be vulnerable, and their stories will fall flat.
We instill confidence.
We do not believe in starving
We teach consistency.
Most students start out thinking school is for mastering technical skills
Michelle Loucadoux-Fraser, the chair of contemporary musical theatre and commercial dance at Studio School, recognizes the importance of producing well-rounded graduates who are experts in their craft. “In the past, people felt obligated to choose one career,” she said. “Students today have an average of three to five careers in their lifetime. I don’t believe any one person is one specific thing, so our students learn how to master different crafts, and do them all with excellence.”
Michelle’s perspective is vital and informs our greater philosophy at Studio School. She has helped students move from narrow dance to commercial dance to choreography and from musical theatre to acting. In fact, we at Studio School believe that artists who have a strong foundation in craft can reinvent themselves several times a day, not just several times in a lifetime.
3. Collaboration is a catalyst for success:
Our students create content together from day one.
We believe that in every class, every day, for all four years, students need to be able to directly apply what they are learning. Therefore, we encourage students to tap into the talents of others to develop artistic projects they can be proud of. It’s a process for young artists to learn to find value in ideas that are not their own, so we create a feedback loop within our collaboration labs designed to help give and receive input.
We teach the hard skills of the industry.
Far from just learning through lectures, we always take it to the studio. Our students learn through hands-on creation side-by-side with fellow students and industry professionals. For example, the process of page-to-screen is iterative and involves input and sign-off from all stakeholders. Projects at Studio School are only greenlit after employing a real-world process used by professionals in the industry.
We teach the soft skills of working together.
Our Collab Labs teach not only the nuts & bolts of how the creative process works, but also social understanding that comes through professional communication within teams. Soft skills in collaboration are perhaps the most important tool for an artist to master. As our young artists enter industry, their peers and employers will not only respect their craft-based contribution, but they will enjoy working with Studio School Graduates. Expert collaborators get re-hired.
We switch up production roles.
When students become comfortable in their chosen roles we shuffle the deck, so they will learn new roles and gain different perspectives. Over time, this practice helps students to develop and exercise empathy with all stakeholders. Directors who have never been in front of a camera cannot understand the difficulty actors face in expressing emotion in a scene. If an actor has never tried to direct another actor, they cannot understand what it takes to communicate the creative vision of a film. When students learn different skill sets, they become well rounded and able to collaborate.
4. We teach students to be artists and entrepreneurs:
We teach art as a business.
Learning theory and history is helpful. Learning how to survive in the original content scene is imperative. Art classes without entrepreneurial training creates hobbyists. Studio School forges artists who have the knowledge, skill set, and passion to create high-value content suitable for distribution in all its forms. We show students how to apply their art commercially and push them to put those skills into practice as early as possible.
We teach industry survival skills.
Entertainment professionals are career freelancers. Our students take courses on budgeting, contracts, and professional preparation to help them function successfully within the industry. By the time they graduate, our students understand how to move craft to industry, so they are able to keep being artists as long as they are inspired to do so.
We encourage the entrepreneurial spirit.
Our goal is to give young adults the tools to create what they want to see. Why teach them the way it’s always been done in an industry that’s always changing? We teach them how to thrive in the traditional model, but more importantly how to create something new that fits into the way society is consuming content.
We strategically identify the ever-changing challenges of artistic expression, then build classes, programs and projects that help students understand how to connect their content to consumers.
We model entrepreneurship.
Our professors know how to navigate the entertainment industry because they are industry professionals themselves. We limit the time our faculty and staff spend in the classroom, so they can continue to learn from and contribute to the creative economy.
We are nimble and always growing.
We view ourselves as entrepreneurial, so we stay nimble and adaptable to changes within education and the entertainment industry. It’s a strategic imperative that Studio School can pivot quickly because of our close alignment with the industries we serve.
Understanding how to operate as an entrepreneur is vital for working as an independent freelancer. We asked Mark Millhone, Studio School’s Dean of Academic Affairs, to explain his enthusiasm for instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in our students before graduation. He made it clear that he believes their future success depends on it…
“Our students are going to spend the rest of their lives working toward their visions as artists. Having them memorize an out-of-date textbook does not set them up for that,” he said. “Teaching them to be their own entrepreneurs and to problem solve is what’s important. My job is to figure out how to make them accountable to their own dreams and potential, not accountable to my syllabus.”
As Studio School continues to equip students for success in the entertainment industry, we are committed to building programs that help them achieve the outcomes they desire by teaching them the immeasurable value of story, craft, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.