Jeff Ryan '12 has always dreamed of becoming a filmmaker. Now, with the influx of new film production equipment at Gordon College, he has the means to pursue his goals.
The 2011–12 academic year has already proven to be a game changer for Gordon College’s Communication Arts program with new state-of-the-art film production equipment, including cameras, tripods, lights, lenses and a dolly. Along with the new equipment, which puts the Gordon Communication Arts Department on the same level as other Boston-area film programs, the program welcomes a new production facilities manager, Jean-Paul DiSciscio (pictured above) of Waltham, Massachusetts, who is an independent filmmaker and equipment expert.
“In my 10 years as part of the Communication Arts program, this is the most comprehensive upgrade and influx of new equipment we’ve had,” said Communication Arts Department chair and professor Rini Cobbey. “Most of the cameras we were using were 13 years old.”
With the new personnel and equipment additions, the Gordon Communication Arts program will better fulfill its mission statement in cultivating “wisdom in understanding, evaluating, and creating visual stories.” Students who were previously using cameras and lighting equipment that were over a decade old can now use advanced-level equipment such as a DSLR 7D camera and tapeless Panasonic cameras, “Fluid Head” tripods, Kino-Flo lights, a 50-mL L-series lens, and a professional dolly to craft visual stories that highlight their strengths in all aspects of the communications field, including film production, journalism, advertising and public relations.
Cobbey says the acquisition of new equipment for the program builds on the momentum of growth the department has experienced over the past two years. In addition to hiring award-winning filmmaker and media expert Toddy Burton as assistant professor, the Communication Arts program held a public screening of Gordon student films at Cinema Salem in Salem, Massachusetts, last May.
An ’04 film production graduate of Keene State College in New Hampshire, DiSciscio is an independent filmmaker, whose work showcases his creativity and ingenuity in cinematography.
“DiSciscio brings new ideas to our program,” said Cobbey. “With his past experience and knowledge, as well as creativity, we feel he is the perfect person to facilitate the new equipment and growth in the Communication Arts Department.”
First working for Raw Art Works of Lynn, Massachusetts, DiSciscio then spent time at Cambridge Community Television in Cambridge, Massachusetts, providing training and access to telecommunications technology for the local residents. DiSciscio now joins the Communication Arts Department at Gordon College with film production experience and knowledge, expectant of the opportunities at the Christian institution.
“I’m excited to be in an environment of higher learning and I’m hopeful that I can lend the knowledge I have acquired to film students at Gordon College,” said DiSciscio. “Gordon’s film production environment is small and intimate, which is one of its biggest strengths.”
DiSciscio also says the professors are knowledgeable and experienced and they truly desire to invest their efforts in cultivating the growth of each aspiring filmmaker, calling it a “great environment for students and faculty alike.”
“The capabilities of this new equipment will hold us to a higher standard as students,” said Chuck Downing ’13 Communication Arts major. “Having access to a Canon 5-D camera as part of the intermediate production class will push me towards producing more professional work.”
For students like Jeff Ryan ’12 who want to pursue a career in filmmaking, the new equipment increases the production value of student film projects. “In utilizing the new equipment for my senior thesis short film, I feel confident I can produce work that will be used in my portfolio in years to come,” said Ryan. “Ultimately, the addition in our program shows the genuine support and dedication of our professors, and their desire to invest in our skills as student artists. I am grateful to be part of Gordon’s Communication Arts Department.”
Story by Kate Brooks '12, a Communications Arts major from New Jersey and student writer for the
Office of College Communications.