Written by Ayesha Nizhoni
Ohio University's School of Media Arts and Studies (MDIA) offers its juniors and seniors a chance to participate in the ‘Ohio in L.A.’ program, a semester-long immersion program where a cohort of 18 students travel to Los Angeles to take classes, complete industry internships, and combine to produce a short film.
Through a new agreement, MDIA will invite a Film Division student every semester to help host the program and run the making-of-the-short-film class. Film Underground recently spoke with MFA student Kyle Kruse about his involvement with the program in LA this past summer, his experience in the Film Division, and his plans for the future.
1. Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to Ohio University and the graduate film program.
I always wanted to be a filmmaker. When I was in high school I read a Rolling Stone article where they asked Oliver Stone for one piece of advice and he said "to go out and live a life, then become a film maker", so that’s what I did. I joined the Navy, got stationed in Japan. I travelled the world and wound up in Orlando Fl to go to Film school at Fail Sail. That place sucked and was a complete ripoff so I dropped out and started bartending. I did that for a few years, it was fun, but then decided to get after it and so I enrolled in school and never looked back. Here I am now.
2. How did you get involved in OU’s ‘Semester in L.A.’?
The Semester in L.A. program was amazing and something I would definitely recommend to any student who is serious about making the move to L.A. after school. The people I met and experiences I had in that short amount of time have given me a springboard of sorts out here and I could not be happier. For example; a gentlemen I met through the program has agreed to be somewhat of a mentor to me while I am getting started out here and that had led to numerous discussions and meetings and my first paid gig which I am starting next week. A small horror franchise by the name of Insidious.
3. Has your involvement in the OU ‘Semester in L.A.’ program shaped your professional life in an appreciable way?
YES! 100%. It also further solidified my desire to one day teach. It was very rewarding guiding a group of young students down the path of making a short film.
4. How do you think the graduate film program at OU prepared you, in terms of industry readiness?
It has provided me with my current skill set and confidence by allowing me the freedom to pursue the projects that I wanted to pursue and by giving me the opportunity to make mistakes and learn through experience.
5. What do you wish more people knew about the Film program at OU?
If you want to go to grad school and actually make films of your own, you need to be at OU.
6. Is there an OU mafia that you've been able to take advantage of?
OU has a tremendous support system out here in LA. So many people out here LOVE OU grads.