TV set as classroom and other reasons to get into television

February
4
2015

The resurgence of TV is attracting a new generation of talent. Students are increasingly interested in jobs for the small screen, whether they are above or below the line. I tell them it’s a great time to get in, and that chances are good they’ll one day work for the same shows they binge watch. It seems that people used to get into the business because they were well connected, starry eyed, or gluttons for rejection. But the reasons why TV is a great career to shoot for are now better than ever. Here’s a few:

1.) There are more shows than there are staff to produce them.
When I was starting, jobs were scarce, and they were mostly limited to network. Not so today. For example, there are more than 60 network and cable TV shows and films now shooting in New York. This past summer there were 80. In Atlanta, there were 158 film and TV projects shot in 2014 alone, with frequent reports of new productions opening shop. Attached to each of these productions are a myriad of roles and responsibilities that show runners need to fill.

2.) You don’t have to move to New York or Los Angeles.
Seventy five percent of my graduate class moved to LA or New York for work. Now I tell my students to go wherever they have contacts, especially Atlanta, where the opportunities are equal to those in New York and LA. There are big incentives for shows to hire locally, and tax credits aren’t the only ones. I like to hire local crews because they know the area, are well connected and help a show run efficiently. If you build the labor force, the productions will come. Banking on this trend, I recently changed my DGA residency to Savannah believing that more production work will come to the city as the talent pool grows.

3.) New talent can grow with new platforms and content.
Viewers have an appetite for fresh content and for new ways to consume it. With original productions streaming on the likes of Amazon, and cable networks increasingly supplementing unscripted content with scripted, new talent can get in on the ground level of new shows with new forms of distribution and grow with them. Ratings buster Empire or Golden Globe-winning Transparent anyone?

4.) TV teaches on the job.
TV is still an industry that’s willing to teach on the job. We bring in students with little experience, train them in the strange and technical nuances of our business, and hire the promising ones. I placed recent SCAD grad Gabe Gilden as an intern on a Comedy Central pilot. That internship turned into a job as a set PA on Broad City.  Now he’s in the process of joining the DGA Trainee Program. To get there, Gabe had to experience a set and learn what the other 100 crew members do. The beauty is that because he was taught that way, one day Gabe will create opportunities for students, too, and keep the pipeline going.

TV will thrive with a well-trained work force, which will result by expanding pathways between the classroom and the set. The sooner students know what they want to do, the sooner faculty can train them and place them on shows for course credit and real world experience. Such is the case of senior Allie Schultz who, beginning in sophomore year, spent early morning classes repeatedly setting up and breaking down tripods. Her active interest in cinematography landed her at the top of the list we handed the The Walking Dead when producers called SCAD for interns. Later on set, when a camera op threw her the sticks, of course Allie put them up rapidly and evenly, much to the surprise and delight of the harried crew. There are dozens more like her ready to be tested; ready to show the industry that its future is in good hands. And with job prospects looking better than ever, their ranks will grow, starry eyed and business-minded.

Megan Lombardo is an adjunct professor of film and television at Savannah College of Art and Design. Her credits as 1st and 2nd AD include Broad City, airing on Comedy Central, MTV’s Eye Candy, Fox’s Glee and HBO’s VEEP. She holds an M.F.A. in film and television from SCAD.

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The students of Oscar de la Renta

February
2
2015

Legacy can be tangible and intangible. In the case of Oscar de la Renta, it is both, and it is flourishing in a place where young designers begin their careers.

During his 2001 visit to Savannah College of Art and Design’s fashion show to accept the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award, the designer shared this wisdom for breaking into the industry based on his own start with Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Everyone should seek the opportunity to go somewhere they can work and observe how it happens. - Oscar de la Renta

This is the story of how two industry hopefuls are living that advice and what they learned from hands on experience in Mr. de la Renta’s studio.

A prom dress and a purpose
Nikki Kaia Lee first encountered the tangible aspect of Mr. de la Renta’s legacy as a 14-year-old girl: a beautiful dress the designer chose just for her. This rare gift, which she later wore to prom, was a momento from a special day spent with him in New York. SCAD graduates, whom Nikki met through her mother, a SCAD architecture professor, conspired to bring her to New York as a distraction from cancer treatments. The dream trip grew, and soon insiders like WWD’s Bridget Foley were opening doors to opportunities such as lunch with Mr. de la Renta in his studio. 

I was just this girl from Georgia, but to him it didn’t matter where you come from. He treated everyone with such dignity and respect. - Nikki Kaia Lee

Nikki, now 20 and a junior at SCAD double majoring in fashion design and fibers, learned her first lessons from this dress, fitted for her right there in Mr. de la Renta’s atelier. Its lines, the slight variation in color, the way it made her feel. Her cancer long in remission, Nikki has spent the last four summers as a design intern for Oscar de la Renta in New York. Working in all areas of the studio – including stints with design assistants, in the atelier, and with the embellishment designer – has informed Nikki’s design approach and moved her to pursue a career in textiles. 

What I took from Oscar’s work was how he formed space around the garment. A lot of his garments, especially eveningwear, were like sculptures. -Nikki Kaia Lee

Needless to say, she eagerly awaits the opening of the exhibition, Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style at SCAD Museum of Art.

I think people have a preconceived notion about fashion. They think it’s frivolous. But I think that when people see his work in person they will truly understand why it can be an art form. - Nikki Kaia Lee

Thanks to the diligence of her fellow fashion student Sloane Mayberry, who is assisting SCAD Trustee André Leon Talley with the exhibition and corresponding catalogue, the public will have this opportunity.

Young hands help surface Oscar de la Renta classics

This summer, Nikki ran into Sloane in the elevators at Oscar de la Renta. Unbeknownst to her, Sloane was a merchandising and buying intern there. Organizing garments, assigning style numbers, and collecting sketches for the ODLR Spring 2015 fashion show put Sloane’s studies in perspective and conditioned her for the rigorous process of bringing the ODLR exhibit to SCAD MOA.

Learning of her internship at the designer's study and with his archive, Mr. Talley tapped Sloane to work on the exhibition. If her long days in New York didn't drive it home, then her apprenticeship on the exhibition did: fashion may be a glamorous, but it is also arduous. As Mr. Talley told her, “Put your gloves on and get to work.” And she did by taking possession of rarely seen couture gowns belonging to Mr. de la Renta’s wife, assisting with the exhibition’s layout and fitting mannequins to Mr. Talley’s specifications.

This project is like a class in itself. I am learning more than I ever thought I possibly could at such a young age, and in such a short amount of time. - Sloane Mayberry

Pouring over lookbooks and canvassing eBay and Google for custom gowns quickly paid off. Sloane’s trained eye prevented a photo of the wrong white jacket, worn by Laura Bush for the 2005 presidential inauguration, from making it into the exhibition. “It’s the pockets,” she observed. They were square.”

Messrs. de la Renta and Talley have taken Sloane a long way away from being that high school student who didn’t know anyone who attended art school. Now her education, reinforced by proximity to fashion legends, has raised her expectations for her career.

I think my exposure to such influential figures in fashion has changed my career path exponentially. This is the best education for what I want to do. - Sloane Mayberry

Along with the exhibition, these students, two paths indelibly changed, would certainly make Mr. de la Renta proud.

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Studio Logic: Monica Cook's airy space is a palette for the intricate

January
23
2015

Multi-media artist Monica Cook (B.F.A., painting, 2006) is a self-described scavenger. The materials and objects she finds in places both obvious and unthinkable are the basis for her life-size sculptures, which bear the same overt realism as her paintings. She makes these creatures, a blend of human and animal, to be posable so she can bring them to life by shooting them frame by frame for animation. The thrill of the hunt, and her knack for it, helped Monica stumble upon her dream studio in Brooklyn, where she creates pieces that have been acquired by collectors like Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, which recently purchased Phosphene.

Monica’s upcoming shows include Beautiful Beast (Jan. 27 - March 8) at the Wilkinson Gallery in New York and Milk Fruit (Feb. 3 – March 19) at the Cress Gallery in Chattanooga. These images by Adam Kuehl (B.F.A., photography, 2005; M.F.A., photography, 2014) take us inside the laboratory that’s home to Monica’s prolific practice.

Thread: What is your ideal work environment. What can’t you work without?

Monica Cook: Natural light and good music.

T: It appears that you prefer a space that’s a clean, blank slate. Is this related to the nature of your work?

MC: I have to be very organized, otherwise I will spend all of my time searching for materials. I also prefer not to have old work around because I feel it holds me back. If my studio is orderly, like a blank slate, my mind feels freer and clear.

 

T: Has your studio changed as you’ve transitioned to 3D?

MC: Yes, drastically. I've had to collect so many more materials, tools and supplies. Also, I need a big, open space to create large-scale sculptures and animation sets.

T: Where do you get the pieces for your sculptures?

MC: I get the materials for my sculptures at junk stores, flea markets, eBay, or found on the streets and in the garbage. I have shelves of storage bins that are organized by object.

T: How did you find your studio?

MC: My studio is in Bushwick, Brooklyn. About two years ago, I needed to move to a larger space. I literally found my dream studio, but it was way out if my league financially, and I was scared to make such a leap. I called my mom and told her. She asked if other people in the building had such large spaces on their own. I said, "Yes." She said, “Well, what's the problem then? If they can do it, so can you.” So I did, and by the grace of God I have made it work. Having such a large, inspiring space has helped me and my work grow tremendously.

We'd love to be invited into your studio for this series. Please tells us about your workspace in the comments below or share your tips for keeping your studio organized and productive.

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Students, SCAD rack up pancontinental recognition

October
15
2014

The year is not quite over, but SCAD has already put 2014 to good use. Both the university and its talented students have been the center of several prominent international spotlights. Here’s a roundup of recent recognition:

Two grads snag Will Eisner Comic Industry awards
Andrew Robinson (B.F.A., illustration, 1993) and Sean Murphy (B.F.A., sequential art, 2003) both received Eisner awards — the comic book industry’s Oscars — at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Robinson won the Best Reality-Based Work award as the lead artist on “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” a Dark Horse graphic novel that details the life story of Brian Epstein who is credited with discovering the Beatles. The 2013 New York Times bestseller is set to be adapted to film under “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed.

Murphy earned two awards for his work on “The Wake,” a horror series published through Vertigo, an imprint of DC. Murphy earned the Best Limited Series award and the Best Penciller/Inker award.

Animation grad earns college-level Emmy
Prasad Narse (M.F.A., animation, 2014) won third place in the Emmy College Television Awards competition for his animated film "I M Possible," which was made at SCAD. Prasad has also won acclaim with the Best of Festival award from the Speechless Film Festival and a Star of Festival award from the Grand Film Festival.

Colorful videogame “Prisma” wins big at E3
Nine months of hard work paid off for a SCAD team at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The team — composed of gaming and animation students and graduates — designed “Prisma,” which earned the top prize in the 2014 E3 College Game Competition. This is the second year in a row that SCAD has earned the award.

The winning team included Kyle J. Bolton (B.F.A., interactive design and game development, 2013), Alex Méndez (B.F.A. interactive design and game development), Khoa D. Nguyen (B.F.A., interactive design and game development, 2013), Kevin Ridgway (B.F.A. animation, 2012), Angelica M. Rodriguez-Vazquez (B.F.A., interactive design and game development, 2014) and Hank M. Silman III (B.F.A. interactive design and game development).

Student film becomes fan favorite in Sprite Films contest
Olivia Riley Day (B.F.A., film and television) had her short film “See Your Dreams” recognized by the 2014 Sprite Films student filmmaker competition when it was voted Fan Favorite. Day won a $5,000 donation from Sprite that went into the SCAD film and television department, as well as a trip to the American Film Institute’s AFI FEST 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

SCAD, students renowned with Red Dot awards
SCAD received major recognition after being named a top ten university in the Americas and Europe at the 2014 Red Dot Design Award, given to the university for its innovative design programs.

Additionally, three alumni and four students were recognized at the prestigious Red Dot Awards in Singapore in September.

Red Dot Awards — a coveted prize of approval from Germany-based design authority Design Zentrum — draws more than 11,000 submissions each year from roughly 60 countries across the globe, making it one of the most ambitious worldwide competitions in design.

A jury of international design experts selected astounding work from graduates Yue Jia (M.A., industrial design, 2014) and Sebastian Campos (B.F.A., industrial design, 2012) for Red Dot Awards. Graduate Qing Xu (M.A., industrial design, 2014) and current students Jian Shi (M.F.A., industrial design), Weijing Zhao (M.F.A., industrial design), Yunman Gu (M.F.A., industrial design), and Holly Chisholm (B.F.A., industrial design).

SCAD Museum, Sottile and Drummond get top honors at AIA
In January, the SCAD Museum was recognized with the 2014 American Institute of Architects National Honor Award for Architecture, a key award for newly established buildings given by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) each year. Already a cornerstone on campus, the museum continues to draw international buzz.

AIA later recognized Christian Sottile, dean of the school of building arts, as the recipient of the AIA Young Architects Award, while Adam Drummond (M.Arch) was named one of five recipients of the 2014 AIA Fellowship for Emerging Leaders. The event took place in Chicago in June.

In August, the Georgia chapter of AIA further recognized SCAD’s architectural footprint by recognizing the SCADpad experiment with the 2014 AIA Georgia Design Award. The unique project, which turned parking spaces into micro-housing in a midtown Atlanta parking deck, was recognized for its sustainability- and community-focused initiative.

SCAD’s global mindedness recognized by Atlanta Business Chronicle
More major acclaim came SCAD’s way early this month when it was recognized as a pancontinental university at the 2014 Atlanta World Showcase and Governor's International Awards.

The event was hosted by the Atlanta Business Chronicle magazine and honored institutions and leaders with ties to Atlanta that represent the very best in international business. SCAD won in the International Education Program category for its diversified presence with locations in Atlanta, Savannah, France and Hong Kong.

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Fink’s five musts to finding a good fashion career

October
14
2014

There’s good news for fashion students. The fashion industry, like many others sectors, is starting to dust off the recession.

In that time, though, we’ve advanced light years in technology and culture. Yet the fashion industry has been slow to change. That’s important to keep in mind when doing the resume rounds.

As much as you want to be the best fit for your potential employer, make sure the company is a good fit for you, too. If they are maintaining the status quo from 10 years ago, think hard about your place on their team when the offer comes. Business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore.

Here’s five signs to identifying a good fashion company in today’s world:

Their market is more than data.
The downfall of many businesses in today’s world is thinking that everything they read on paper is factual or offers the full picture about their market. Companies can spend hours crunching demographics, reading research articles or spending money hiring someone to make sense of the numbers.

Sometimes the best way to know your market is to get out off the office and go find them. Yes, it takes time, but there’s nothing deadlier to any business than going to a buyer who has no use for your product.

In the information overload age, having a conversation with one customer can often do more for a company’s perspective than sifting through data on a screen. Make sure your potential employer can tell you more about their market than regurgitating demographic info.

2014 SCAD Fashion Show

They think globally, but find a place to land.
Not so long ago it was OK to compete with the store down the block. Now, every customer has a counterpart in Turkey, China and everywhere else in the world. That means companies have the opportunity to make a product achievable in many different cultures.

But sometimes fashion leaders get stuck in the clouds trying to be all things to everyone. Make sure your boss-to-be has a focus. For example, if they are made in America they should be proudly displaying that fact. There is a huge consumer base here at home that checks the tags for exactly that.

Ask them about their future. See if they’re making specific decisions on where to put their time and money. Not everyone associates Savannah, Georgia, with premier fashion, even though it exists here. But the Savannah College of Art and Design knows that you don’t try to be everywhere at once. You go to where your market exists and build from there. Make sure you’re joining a company that has both a grasp on the big picture and their place in it.

They know consumers demand and deserve better practices.
The fashion industry is notorious for bad practices from the past like offshore working conditions and misuse of resources. Consumers demand better. Sustainability isn’t optional anymore.

A good example is fast-fashion store H&M, based out of Sweden, which is very transparent about their manufacturing process with consumers. This is important, especially to younger consumers who care more about how their purchasing power is impacting the world.

By enforcing sustainability practices and being open about manufacturing, H&M creates trust between the buyer and the seller. You cannot undersell trust. Trust creates loyalty, which turns buyers into best type of marketing: advocates.

Widespread acceptance of green practices will likely take time. It’s difficult to overhaul an entire industry overnight. But the person behind the desk asking the questions should be able to give you their take on sustainability. That’s because getting ahead of the green curve could reap big benefits for those willing to take steps towards long-term sustainability.

Fashion Show 2014, garment critique

They know not to spin their social media wheels.
A shameful amount of major companies talk about social media like it’s all the same thing. A good business is more nuanced than that. It’s not enough to post something on Facebook, aiming for 300 or 400 likes. Today’s users are far savvier.

Fashion has been an especially late adopter to social media. Just as the industry begins to fully embrace Facebook, there’s a mass exodus from it. In a Teen Vouge poll, roughly half of teens are now saying life would be better without social media altogether.

There’s probably never going to be a social media blackout because those same users are still on the sites/apps they supposedly hate. But fashion businesses have to be on top of trends as their consumers migrate from platform to platform.

What works, what’s new, what’s fad — it will change in six months. Right now, it’s visually heavy media like Instagram and Pinterest. That could change. Bottom line: a company needs to be adaptable and more nuanced in their usage of each account. Ask how often they review their benchmarks and revamp their social media strategy.

They know a good story is as important as design.
Every business that succeeds has a singular vision by which everything is filtered. And that means having total brand definition. Design is sometimes only as impactful in its reach as the marketing around it.

Good marketing requires honest human emotion that comes through a narrative supported by a product. In a world where people are more conscious about what they consume, that requires storytelling.

Storytelling is one of those vague terms you’re going to hear in marketing seminars one day. It can be confusing and often left undefined. For me, it boils down to creating a dialogue with people, telling them what your product is and why it could be good for them.

If a company does this one thing well, the consumer will start telling the story for them. That’s something you’re going to want when you join a team because passion breeds success.

Michael Fink is dean of the school of fashion at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Architecture: a return to art is the way forward

June
26
2014

What would it look like if architects were allowed to be artists again; as comfortable in the manual and intuitive realms of drawing, painting and sculpture as with parametric modeling and digital imaging? What if we were to reject the limitations of product-driven, systematic design and production and re-engage the full range of tools innately available and refined over the course of millennia?


Watercolor by Christian Sottile.

The evolution from humanities to technology
Once considered to be among the principal arts, Architecture has passed through a technological revolution over the course of a century, moving from the art based approach of the famed French academy, the École des Beaux-Arts, to the functional dictums and objectivism of the German Bauhaus that would forever alter the course of design and education.

This revolution in education culminated during the digital era. Both the product and process of design entered the last phases of a radical transformation, unmoored from centuries of humanistic origins. Its success proved the potential of something distinctly other, with little emphasis on anthropomorphic, geographic or cultural connection; thereby embracing the full, expansive possibilities of the virtual and the synthetic. This last stage of the revolution has now passed its third decade, and we have grown increasingly detached from humanistic concerns.

An opportunity within reach
Firmly planted as we are in the digital era, the opportunity exists to reconsider the practices that preceded the revolution, to rescue tools that may have been set aside too quickly; tools that will prove essential in charting a way forward for architecture and design. What was jettisoned in the exuberance and upheaval of unprecedented technological innovation is the elusive quality that allows our buildings to speak to us: their humanity - evident and embedded in the pursuit of beauty and the art of making.

Today, this places the architecture profession at an extraordinary moment in history, an era in which we may now synthesize the best of the past with the victories of the digital revolution to embrace a truly hybridized future. It’s not the tired old debate between the École des Beaux Arts, a school of art, or the Bauhaus, a school of building, but rather a ‘BeauxHaus,’ a School of Building Arts.

Activating a fresh approach
At Savannah College of Art and Design, this approach to architecture is reflected in the SCAD Museum of Art. Built in 2010, SCAD MOA embodies what has long been taught in the SCAD School of Building Arts: the dissolution of boundaries between design disciplines. The museum is a place where the highest ideals of urban design, architecture, interior design, architectural history, historic preservation and furniture design all find distinct yet integrated expression.

SCAD Museum of Art: a case study
So how would a renewed emphasis on the tactile art of making - on the real - change the design process and the built environment?


Returning to SCAD MOA as a case study, at its core, the museum is a testimonial to synthesis, created using a design process that included the full spectrum of available tools and methods, from digital modeling and BIM, to physical model making, in situ mock-ups, sketching, painting, and digital collage. It’s a building brought about through a construction process that included full scale enlargements of hand-drawn details to create field templates; that included prefabricated modular building envelope components, integrated with local craftsman, practicing the most ancient of building trades, hand-crafting the building using the human hand and eye as their primary tools.



The confluence of disciplines embodied by SCAD MOA makes it one emblem for a new order of design that will allow architects to create the next generation of cities, to reject the soulless, placeless design strategies that characterized city centers created or recreated in the latter half of the 20th century; that will empower architects instead to create new places that come alive with a synthesis of art, humanism and delight, as well as technology and innovation.

This is the way forward.

Christian Sottile (M.Arch., 1997) is the dean of the School of Building Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design where he oversees programs in architecture, urban design, interior design, historic preservation, furniture design and architectural history. He is also design principal of Sottile & Sottile and the design architect for the SCAD Museum of Art.

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Thread: your connection to the SCAD community

April
21
2014

thread: that which runs through the whole course of something, connecting successive parts.

Thanks to heavy doses of social media and constant connectivity, realities of the digital world in which we live, some say we’re more in touch than ever. But we launched Thread because we felt there was room for more connection, and for a destination that would reflect the dynamism of the Savannah College of Art and Design community and connect our far-flung members through time and space.

As you can see below, 35 years since the university’s founding in 1978 and SCAD alumni are everywhere, living, working and influencing art and design in cities worldwide. In addition to this macro view of where your peers work and reside, we wanted to get specific. So, in celebration of Thread’s launch, over the next few days we’ll kick off a new project: a human almanac of sorts; snapshots of what those 28,000 people who share the SCAD experience are up to and what their time at SCAD meant to them.

We hope this project inspires you to share your story with us so Thread can continue to document your journey and “map” your progress. Send your updates to: blog@scad.edu

We celebrate what’s to come. Thanks for joining the ride.

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SCAD alumni fan the flames of Super Bowl ad fever

January
13
2014

An Ostrich. Doritos. The chance to be seen by one of the largest television audiences in history. Not getting the connection? Keep reading.

"Breakroom Ostrich," by a team from Atlanta-based FUGO Studios, including cinematographer Richard Webb (B.F.A., Film and Television, 2005) and Brandon Morris (B.F.A., Motion Media, 2010) is one of five finalist commercials, out of thousands submitted, in the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl ad contest.

What made this spot by Savannah College Art and Design alumni break through for a real shot at the $1 million prize?

An ostrich named “Clyde” had a little something to do with it. Though Clyde wasn’t invited, Brandon and Richard will attend Super Bowl XLVIII with the other Doritos finalists and watch on the edge of their private suite seats to see whether "Breakroom Ostrich" will be one of two finalist ads to air during the big game. I caught up with them before they depart for New Jersey.

Thread: What led you to enter the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest?

Richard and Brandon: We've always been interested in advertising. The main reason for entering the contest, besides the awesome prizes, is to truly learn what makes a commercial successful. There is a true art to getting your message across in 30 seconds, and the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest allows us to sharpen our skills every year.

T: How did you come up with the concept “Breakroom Ostrich”?

R & B: The spot was written by director Eric Haviv and VFX supervisor Bryan Westberry. The concept was born out of Eric's longtime fascination with ostriches and a solid brainstorming session over a beer or two. Another factor that drove the idea was the success of previous Crash the Super Bowl entries. There is no formula to winning this contest, but it helps to pay attention to what works and what doesn't. There were a few different versions of the script floating around in pre-production. One idea was based on the hilarious way ostriches eat, but we figured we probably wouldn't get the shots we needed from the birds. We really went into production with the notion that the ostriches themselves would dictate where we could go with the final spot.

T: Where in the world did you find Clyde?

R & B: Clyde was found by a cold call to Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch in Sherills Ford, N.C. The owners were so accommodating, which was a huge help. Believe it or not, there aren't too many ostrich farms near Atlanta, so when we found one that was eager to help a few young filmmakers, it was very exciting.

T: What challenges did Clyde pose on set? Any problems that made you think you couldn't pull it off?

R & B: The main challenge in filming Clyde is that he is a big, mean, flightless bird. Ostriches are virtually un-trainable. In fact, as the shoot day wore on, it seemed like they just wanted to do the opposite of what you needed them to do. Our initial plan was to get the ostriches in front of a green screen, which would make visual effects much easier. As it turned out, Clyde was terrified of the green screen. These birds knew something was up immediately, and it made the shoot day a real gamble. Once we realized we were in a plan B situation, we knew that it would be up to the magic of visual effects to make this spot happen. We brought the footage back and did a couple of tests, which came out great. This was a wonderful boost for morale, and we decided to move forward with the office portion of the shoot.


T: When did you know that you had a winner, or at least a finalist, on your hands?

R & B: Honestly, we never had that feeling until we were notified. We are always our own worst critics and once you watch something 100 times during post-production, you start to wonder if it's funny or not. Luckily, we started to get a great response from the people we showed it to, and we knew that, win or lose, we had something we were proud of.

T: Did you get any advice or learn anything from other SCAD alumni who have entered the Doritos contest before?

R & B: We always enjoyed the entries from the Dandy Dwarves, who are SCAD alumni.

T: What would you do with the $1 million prize?

R & B: Besides buy an ostrich farm of our own? You know, the four of us have been working hard and honing our craft for years now, and we want to make a feature film soon. I think $1 million would make our dreams come true.

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Happy Holidays from Thread

December
24
2013

Here it is, Thread's inaugural holiday card featuring festive scenes of the season at Savannah College of Art and Design's locations around the globe. We thank you for joining us on our new editorial adventure and can't wait to show you what we have in store for 2014. Warm wishes for an inspired holiday and a happy New Year!

A new fallen snow at SCAD Lacoste.

The annual delivery of 'Secret Santa' gifts from faculty, staff, and students to children at the Savannah Union Mission...

...and a visit from Santa Bee.

SCAD Atlanta's Ivy Hall decked out in the theme, "A Tony Duquette Chinoiserie Christmas."

Holiday bling lights up Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.

Wherever your celebrations take you, may your travels be easy and safe.

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UNTITLED.: A gallerist and a curator dish on art and the fair itself

December
5
2013

UNTITLED International Contemporary Art Fair Miami Beach

Wandering through UNTITLED’s airy pop-up tent on Miami Beach, I bumped into Savannah College of Art and Design curator Alex Sachs in the booth of Andrew Rafacz Gallery, which represents Wendy White (B.F.A., Fibers) in Chicago. Always curious about the works that catch a curator’s eye, I asked Alex to tell me what has her attention at the fair. In this case, it was the geometrical forms, beguilingly folded aluminum, by artist Robert Burnier that drew Alex in.

What followed, after Andrew approached us in the booth, was an enlightening and organic conversation about Robert and why UNTITLED is the best fair in Miami Beach.

Andrew Rafacz: Robert is Chicago-based and studied at the art institute but he is in his 40s and started as a software engineer years ago and decided to go back to school for art, because it was his first love. And that kind of informs his work because these start as designs in the computer and some of the lines are very precise and then he’s manipulating them by hand in his studio. So they have that hand-involved quality, but they straddle different lines. For me they’re about drawing. They look like folded paper, they’re sculptural and they have this mystery of materiality that I think is really epiphanic.

Alex Sachs: When you walk up to the booth you have no idea what they are. You really need to approach them to see what the materials are and to see the intricacy of the folding. The discovery is also why they’re really intriguing.

AR: This piece, you know, I stared at it in the studio and then we had it in the gallery, but having it in here, I was walking up to it and there are so many crazy folds inside this thing and it’s revealing itself even further.

Robert Burnier Thirty Six primer on aluminum

Tarana Mayes: Andrew, have you exhibited at UNTITLED before?

AR: This is my second time exhibiting here. These guys are doing something really special. It’s a curated fair. I feel like some art fairs have said they are curated, but nobody curates a fair like Omar Lopez-Chahoud, who curates this. Because he is hands-on from day one all the way through this fair. He has been on site every day.

AS: Did he make any changes to your presentation?

AR: He didn’t. I feel like – last year he loved it, too. I had Wendy’s work here last year. I’ve watched him make changes here and there, which is an amazing thing, actually, to have somebody that dedicated, because sometimes you do art fairs and the person across from you, maybe the booth’s over hung or things don’t visually line-up. I mean a fair is always about a multiplicity of artistic voices, so it’s never going to be seamless.

AS: Yeah, the diversity.

AR: But you also want it to be like, we’re here as exhibitors for seven days. You want it to be visually arresting and not oppressive. So the combination of a really well curated fair with a tent bathed in natural light during the day makes it a joy to be in.

AS: The other thing I’ll say about this fair is that there’s a lot of restraint. A lot of times at art fairs there are a lot of people taking photos. I think it’s so overwhelming.

AR: Yes, they’re over-stimulated.

AS: Often times at fairs people are just taking photos and they’re like, “I’ll think about it later, I’ll look at it later.” But here it’s open and bright, and there’s plenty of wall space so that you really see each work individually, the way that you’d want to see them in a gallery. So it’s proximate to an ideal situation for showing art. Lots of natural light, lots of white space between the walls, and plenty of room between the booths, so it’s really open.

Wendy White with Anna Kustera Gallery at Untitled Miami Beach

AR: And what’s amazing is that all of the things you said…having a fair take those things back, which we know worked in the first place, that is radical. It’s radical in what it’s not, actually.

TM: Having a fair remove the things that weren’t working?

AR: Remove the things that work for the big fair, I guess, or work for selling a lot of product, but they don’t work for taking in art in any sort of substantial way. I’d even go a step further and say the art fairs are starting to eclipse what happens in the gallery. So many galleries are struggling to stay open because they only sell art at an art fair. Well, that is truly problematic in the long run, because if you don’t have a space for an artist like Robert Burnier or Wendy White to develop and articulate a solo idea or exhibition in a space like that, what do we have left? We don’t have artists who can evolve like they need to. My point is that [UNTITLED] is taking it back by not reinventing the wheel.

So many galleries are struggling to stay open because they only sell art at an art fair. Well, that is truly problematic in the long run, because if you don’t have a space for an artist like Robert Burnier or Wendy White to develop and articulate a solo idea or exhibition in a space like that, what do we have left?

AS: Again, I’ll just say restraint. It just feels elegant and shows great restraint, which enables the viewer to see the work in it’s best light.

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