September 1, 2020
Thank you for taking the time to review my tenure file. The material I have prepared addresses the areas of achievement used to assess the performance of tenure track faculty in the School of Film:
Research and Creative Activities
Teaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Curricular Activities
Governance and Other Professionally Related Service
While the Promotion + Tenure criteria agreed upon by the faculty states that tenure will be granted upon a candidate's demonstration of their outstanding performance in at least two of the first three assessment areas, and satisfactory achievement in the fourth area, I believe I have demonstrated outstanding achievement across all areas during the review period and that I have served the departmental mission and programmatic goals of the School of Film through my endeavors.
I enjoy working with our students and colleagues in the School of Film at Portland State University and I appreciate the opportunities my employment here has afforded me. I look forward to continuing to apply my energy toward pursuits that generate a culture of academic and creative achievement, inform my teaching practice, and promote the good reputation of the school and the university.
Please find below a narrative outlining my activities during the review period and my curriculum vitae. Examples and additional information about the work cited in these documents are available on this webpage.
Research and Creative Activities - Samples
My scholarly activities and achievements include co-authoring the 7th edition of the textbook Directing the Documentary; producing and distributing independent and commissioned documentary films; co-producing non-fiction media projects in association with governmental organizations, NGOs, and non-profits; learning web development tool sets in the production of a digital humanities project; and learning virtual reality (VR) tool sets in the making of a short 360° documentary. I wrote several successful project proposals and served as a consultant on several long and short form media projects. During the review period, several of my older works enjoyed new distribution opportunities.
Image: Courtney Hermann in production on There's Heart Here (2019)
In January 2019, I was invited by Michael Rabiger to join him in co-authoring the 7th edition of his popular textbook Directing the Documentary. The title, published by Routledge, was released on May 22, 2020.
The new edition includes new and updated content on the rise of the documentary series, the impact of video on demand and content aggregators, updated information on prosumer and professional video, coverage of new audio and lighting solutions and trends in post-production, coverage of the immersive documentary, and offers practical sets of solutions for low, medium, and high budget documentary film productions throughout. Over 50 new films are cited to further discussions of form and content and the companion website is fully updated to include a wide variety of new and revised projects.
Cover art includes School of Film alumni on campus in front of Lincoln Hall.
For complete information about distribution for the the following titles, please see my curriculum vitae.
There’s Heart Here (2019)
Credit: Writer, Director, Director of Photography, Story Editor
Description: Three indigenous members of the Two Spirit and LGBTQ community: a roller derby champion, a cyclist, and an activist journey toward community acceptance.
People of the Way (2019)
Credit: VR/360 Filmmaker
Description: A tiny Lutheran congregation, led by a gay pastor, is committed to living out progressive values grounded in traditional faith.
Burton Before and After (2017)
Description: Ever want to go back in time to meet your previous self? Burton puts his truth before his fear in this portrait of transition, memory, and friendship.
45: Love Letter to the Resistance (2017)
Description: Donald Trump offers words of encouragement to Portland, Oregon’s street protestors.
Confluence of Purpose (2016)
Credit: Co-Producer, Director, Camera Operator
Description: The largest flood mitigation and habitat restoration project in Oregon history was made possible through the consensus-building efforts of citizens, business owners, local and state government, and federal agencies.
Geeta Lewis (2019)
Credit: Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies for the Q Center.
SMART Reading Program (2018)
Credit: Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies for SMART Reading.
See Us. Stand with Us. (2019)
Credit: Co-Director, Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB)
A Seat at the Table (2018)
Credit: Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies for the Center for Women's Leadership.
Gladys Bikes (2019)
Credit: Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies for Basic Rights Oregon.
IHS, Tribal and Urban Indian Clinics are Curing Hepatitis C (2017)
Credit: Co-Producer, Co-Director, Co-Writer, Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board
Explore Nature (2018)
Credit: Co-Producer, Director, Camera Operator, Story Editor
Commissioned by: Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) for Explore Nature.
I am currently in collaboration with Professor Judith Raiskin at the University of Oregon on Outliers and Outlaws: The Eugene Lesbian History Project, a community-based, digital humanities project that preserves and shares the unique history of the lesbian community in Eugene, Oregon.
I developed and designed the project website in Summer 2020 and am currently in-progress on a digital exhibit and in pre-production on a 24-minute documentary.
Digital humanities project in-progress
New opportunities for older work
Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012)
Credit: Producer, Story Editor, Additional Camera, Sound Recordist, Additional Editing
Description: Curated by Dixie Evans, "The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque," and funded by her social security checks, the Exotic World Museum is a Mojave Desert haven for burlesque legends of the 1940s-60s and ground zero of the latest burlesque revival.
New opportunity: I story edited a looping 15-minute excerpt from Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) for use in the Burlesque Hall of Fame's “Exotic World Museum” exhibit in Las Vegas, which opened in 2018 continued through 2019.
Crying Earth Rise Up! (2015)
Description: When the drinking water at her home on the Pine Ridge Reservation tests high for radiation, Debra White Plume sets out to determine the cause--what she finds alarms her.
New opportunities: The film has been broadcast over 3,300 times since 2015 and continues to show periodically on PBS stations across the country. An additional distribution deal was negotiated with Documentary Education Resources in 2018.
Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II (2016)
Description: On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the instrument that authorized the forced removal and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Denied their civil liberties, they were held in camps operated by the War Relocation Authority. Between 1942 and 1944, some 33,000 individual contracts were issued for seasonal farm labor, with many working in the sugar beet industry.
New opportunities: Between 2016 - 2018, the exhibit that includes this short documentary was featured at the Japanese American National Museum, Lane County Historical Museum, Friends Center, Moses Lake Museum and Art Center, and Oregon State University Library.
Standing Silent Nation (2007)
Description: The story of one Lakota family’s struggle to retain tribal identity and sovereignty against the odds of history and present-day government policy.
New opportunity: In 2017, the film was included in PBS's Vision Maker Media commemorative collection, "40 Years - 40 Films."
North Pole, NY (2018)
Description: The dreamers in one small town vow to keep Santa's Workshop, one of the very first theme parks in the U.S. open and the magic of Christmas alive all year.
The Reluctant Radical (2018)
Description: Ken Ward confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change.
In October 2016, I authored a post for American University's Center for Media and Social Impact, about the unsettling trend of law enforcement's violation of documentary filmmakers' first amendment rights.
Unaccompanied: Alone in America (2018)
Description: A viral video about the plight of immigrant children who must represent themselves in federal immigration court.
During the review period, I offered consulting services on a limited basis to documentary filmmakers with projects at all stages of production from ideation and development to marketing and distribution. During the review period, several projects I contributed to were completed and distributed.
See Us. Stand With Us.
Description: A short documentary and educational video addressing the treatment of queer indigenous people by health care providers in Indian Country.
Funder: Indian Health Service (IHS)
Project administrator: North Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB)
Explore Nature: Hike, Walk, Paddle, Explore, Take Action
Description: A series of short branded videos for the web and social media platforms.
Funder: Explore Tillamook Coast
Project administrator: Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP)
Branded Media Production
I developed Branded Media Production as an intensive production course for intermediate and advanced students studying film production at Portland State University.
Students work in small production units to produce professional quality, short form branded videos for real clients.
During the term, students meet with the clients to determine their needs as they relate to the communication of the organization’s brand to a target audience. Students then prepare and deliver a formal pitch presentation to the clients—feedback from which is integrated into the final concepts for the projects. Students manage all aspects of production from ideation to delivery.
Inviting collaborations with clients raises the stakes for students, copies a process that students might find when making work professionally in the future, and offers a built-in audience and distribution opportunities for their work.
In Fall 2018, students produced seven “spots” for their campaign, “Portland State Film: Framing the Future”, which showed on a public screen on campus. They worked with Oregon Wild, a conservation non-profit, on four “brand story” videos, and with Explore Nature, a consortium of environmental conservation groups, on twenty, one-minute “highlight” videos.
FA18 Project Samples:
Brand story for Oregon Wild
Identity piece for PSU FILM
Pitch presentation to Oregon Wild
Social media video for Explore Nature
In Fall 2016, the Branded Media Production class produced seven tourism spots for their campaign "Portland: You are Here", which was included in the Hollywood Theatre PDX microcinema's inaugural program. They worked with Looptworks, a sustainable apparel company that "upcycles" discarded goods into high quality products, to create three brand story videos.
FA16 Project Samples:
Brand story for Looptworks
Spot for Portland: You are Here
Teaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Curricular Activities - Selected Achievements
Portfolio and Professional
Annually since Spring 2016, I have facilitated Portfolio and Professional Development, an experience that culminates in a portfolio show held at Portland State University.
The course asks graduating students to investigate their interests, values, personality, and skills as the basis for discovery and communication of their personal brand as they begin their careers. To discover career goals and set a path to attaining them, students undertake a series of short research projects, in-class writing exercises, and oral presentations.
In service to communicating their personal brand, students prepare marketing materials (a portfolio website, a resume, a generic and a tailored cover letter, a business card) and a reel or reels highlighting generalist and/or specialist skill sets in media production.
SP20 Marketing Samples:
Lindsey Mccallum Reel
Lindsey Mccallum Video Introduction
At the end of the term, students present themselves as emerging professionals to the school community, alumni, peers, friends, family, and to established media professionals.
The portfolio show manufactures a reason for students to reach out to local professionals, serves as a marketing tool for the course itself among lower level students, establishes a culture of career planning in the program, keeps the program on the radar of the local creative community, provides a destination for students’ work, creates a meaningful deadline for student completion of marketing materials, raises the stakes for the course deliverables, offers a safe space in which students can present themselves as professionals for the first time, and formalizes the transition from classroom to job market.
SP18 Portfolio Show Slideshow:
SP20 Portfolio Show Online:
Introduction to Digital Filmmaking is a required course in the Fall 2018 catalog that I developed in collaboration with other faculty and first taught as a FILM 199 Special Topics trial in Winter 2018.
The course clarifies the goals I have for our beginning students: students exiting the class should understand the amount of dedicated interest that film production requires of a practitioner, the value of telling the stories they are uniquely prepared to tell rather than pursuing derivative work, the basics of the technical tools and techniques of filmmaking, the steps in the media production process, the importance of professional development, and the culture of collaboration and mutual respect expected of them in the School of Film.
Projects require students to engage in the creative and technical aspects
of developing story ideas, scriptwriting, pre-production planning, operating camera, lighting, recording sound, editing, and content delivery.
The course culminates in a final project that requires students to work in small groups to produce one mini-documentary and one microfiction film; thus employing accumulated skills and concepts learned during the course and preparing the students for our 200-level production tracks in documentary and narrative film production.
Story Development Exercise
Pre-Production Planning Exercise
WI20 Final Project Reel:
Course Evaluations and Classroom Visitation
I have taught 12 different courses for Portland State FILM, virtually none of which had been taught prior to my taking on or creating the course. Course evaluations demonstrate student appreciation for my approach to teaching and curriculum design, and I consistently earn a majority of “Strongly Agree” assessments regarding the overall quality of instruction across all of my classes as well as positive written comments (see attached course evaluation results below).
100- and 200-Level Courses
Introduction to Digital Filmmaking
Story Development for Film
Documentary Production I
Documentary Production II
Documentary Production III
Portfolio and Professional Development
Advanced Production Workshop
My teaching has received favorable reviews from Professors Amy Borden, Mark Berrettini, Jennifer Ruth, Dustin Morrow, and Eliza Greenstadt upon class visitations (see attached classroom visitation reports and letters below).
I assisted Brandon Pettit's professional development efforts, facilitating a paid internship with BrandLive in Winter 2017 and a paid internship at NBC Universal from Spring 2017 - Fall 2017. After a co-op experience at NBC Universal from 2018 - 2019, Brandon graduated and was hired on as an editor of sports media content used in live broadcasts on NSNW.
Brandon was featured on Inside PSU in 2019 in the article, "Hottest Job Market in a Decade," profiling class of 2019 students who had earned job opportunities while still in school.
Tyler St. Pierre called on me for support during the period when he was considering graduate school, researching potential programs, making applications, interviewing with schools, and debating about whether he would enroll upon acceptance. Tyler’s family did not have much personal experience with nor did they have the resources to support his ambitions in higher education. Given these conditions, I did my best to offer him practical advice in the run up to his enrollment in Columbia University’s MFA in Creative Producing program in Fall 2018. Since then, Tyler contacts me periodically to update me on the highs and lows he is experiencing and to share his accomplishments. In Summer 2020, Tyler received Columbia's Arthur Krim Memorial Award for excellence in producing as voted on by the faculty.
I mentored Paul Newman through the completion and PSU exhibition of his short documentary Unstated (2017), made in conjunction with the first annual Andries Deinum Prize. I assisted Paul in completing an independent documentary project made with Gilman Scholarship support. I introduced Paul to Bradley Sellars at Relish Division, a production studio and creative agency creating culinary content for food and lifestyle brands, where he started as a part-time worker and was promoted to a full-time editor and producer position. I helped Paul navigate his transition from part-time to full-time at Relish and then onto his current creative director position at USAMM, a full-service destination for military medals, military ribbons, and uniforms.
I supported Will Floor's efforts to build a resume and portfolio that reflected his interest in working with environmental and outdoor recreation organizations. To that end, I assisted him in navigating an internship with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, helped him secure an internship with Oregon Wild, and recruited him to participate in the Fall 2018 FILM 360 Branded Media Production class where we made videos for two conservation-focused non-profits. All of this work strengthened his resume, portfolio, and network and ultimately prepared him to secure full-time employment as an editor for the startup MyMedic, which supplies first aid kits tailored to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.
Governance and Other Professionally Related Service - Selected Contributions
In Spring 2020, when our annual School of Film Showcase was canceled due to COVID-19, I created a website to host a virtual presentation of student work including video essays, essay contest award winners, the portfolio show, and a group of student films curated by the production faculty.
I redesigned the Portland State Vimeo page and created showcases to highlight selected student work samples (Video Essays, Documentaries, Fiction Films, Branded Content, Portfolio Reels, Music Videos, Experimental Work, PSU FILM Promos & Reels) for public and in-house viewing.
Community Outreach - Featured Activities
Student Filmmakers Interview "Documentary Filmmaking Insights and Tips from Courtney Hermann"
In July 2020, I gave an interview to Student Filmmakers Magazine about best practices and advice for location shooting for documentary in conjunction with a book spotlight which featured Directing the Documentary, 7th edition.
The interview was conducted by Jody Michelle Solis, Associate Publisher for StudentFilmmakers Magazine.
Clip #1: Representation and authorship in film
Clip #2: The power of personal narrative
LA Outfest Trans Summit
In July, 2018, I was invited to participate in LA Outfest Film Festival's Trans Summit, an afternoon dedicated to conversations and case studies of media representation of trans and non-binary stories.
My film Burton Before and After was one of three films selected to show as a stepping off place for this discussion and I joined my friend and documentary participant, Burton Ford on stage afterwards to present our ideas to summit attendees.
Available here is the content of the discussion, moderated by film director, producer, and writer Jett Garrison, cued to two particular clips about representation and authorship in film and the power of personal narrative.
The summit was kicked off with a keynote address from Yance Ford, the first transgender director to earn an Oscar nomination.
A Night with Barbara Kopple
In March 2018, I was invited to lead a conversation with two time Academy-Award winning director Barbara Kopple at the Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival (POW Film Fest).
Kopple's Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) and Miss Sharon Jones! (2015) were presented as a double feature. Kopple has amassed more than 40 producing and directing credits for her work in fiction and non-fiction film and television across a career spanning over 45 years.
Hollywood Theatre PDX Airport
In 2017, the Hollywood Theatre Microcinema at PDX Airport opened. I was asked to appear in the short documentary about its origin story.
The inaugural program featured a block of work entitled, Portland: You are Here made by Portland State Film students from my Branded Media Production class.
In the Summer 2019 - Winter 2020 program, my short documentary Burton Before and After was included.