In 2015, the MFA in Theatre, Acting Concentration instituted a new program in acting for film, in association with Paul Kampf, of Paul Kampf studios in Los Angeles. Mr. Kampf is a highly regarded screenwriter, director, producer, and teacher, with a specialty in micro-budget films made in an innovative model based upon collaborative theatre companies. With a background in theatre as well as film, Mr. Kampf brings deep expertise to the UT MFA programs as a recurring Guest Artist with extensive experience and connections in the world capital of the film industry.
The current structure of this new component of the MFA training is that Mr. Kampf teaches a one-week workshop in each semester of the first and second years of training. Regular classes are suspended for that week, as Mr. Kampf works intensively with the actors. In the first year, the focus is on individual presence and auditioning for camera, on basic principles of craft, and on simple familiarity and comfort with the intimacy and spontaneity of the medium. In the second year, Mr. Kampf again returns for a week long intensive in each semester. The focus builds on year one as full scenes and/or short scripts are filmed. In the third year of training, we plan for Mr. Kampf to bring a production crew to UT to film a feature written expressly for UT actors.
This program is unique among training programs in this country. While our actor training, and advanced actor training in general, remain well founded in the traditions and practices of stage acting, in the actor’s command of his/her instrument, and in the great writers of the dramatic canon, actors today can ill afford to enter the profession without meaningful experience in acting before the camera. This program also fits well with our plans to move to a stronger showcase model through digital media, and should provide useful footage for showcasing the talent of UT actors. Finally, we are exploring ways in which also to involve UT MFA Designers in this exciting new program.