Giving Voice to Success
In all of storytelling, there are only seven basic plots that have been told, retold, and reimagined since the beginning of time. Skinner Myers, LMU Assistant Professor of Film Production, aims to help student filmmakers find their own unique voices and develop stories that resonate beyond the bluff, making everything old new again.
“You cannot reinvent the wheel,” Myers, who earned an MFA in Film Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, said. “It’s the voice in which a story is told that can make it new and exciting.”
In the classroom — whether it is a production course for beginners or the thesis capstone for MFA candidates, Myers says that he tries to build in time for real-world reflection, allowing students to relate the fundamentals of film production to their own personal experiences in pursuit of their unique creative vision.
When it comes to his own craft, Myers says he is very much a visual storyteller, eschewing excessive dialogue for old school camerawork and long takes that play out in real-time.
“I like making films that help people see outside their own worldview and into the life of an unknown other,” Myers said, adding that his work often explores issues of religion, race, and politics, and the struggles therein.
This summer, Skinner will lead his fourth pre-college program on "Social Impact Filmmaking," a course designed to help young filmmakers learn to tell stories that truly matter.
Before Myers joined the faculty of the top 10 ranked LMU School of Film & Television, he was already an award-winning filmmaker in his own right. He made his feature film debut as the writer/director of the 2011 documentary, “Drinking from The Well,” which screened in film festivals around the world to much acclaim. His sixth film, “La Tierra Del Exodo,” released in 2016, played in over 90 festivals worldwide and earned Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Short Film awards. His film, “Frank Embree,” took home the Grand Jury Award at the 2017 Hollyshorts Film Festival and was in the 2017 Oscar competition for Best Live Action Short.
As for what advice Myers has for future filmmakers?
“Film school is a great time to experiment and work to find out who you are as an artist,” Myers said. “Plan to succeed, but also plan to fail in ways that help you learn and grow. The sooner you find out who you are as an artist, the better it will be for your work and career.”