Tenure File

September 1, 2020

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Thank you for taking the time to review my tenure file.  I invite you to look through the material I have prepared, which addresses the areas of achievement used to assess the performance of tenure track faculty in the School of Film:

  1. Research and Creative Activities

  2. Teaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Curricular Activities

  3. Governance and Other Professionally Related Service

  4. Community Outreach

Please also see my curriculum vitae:

 

 

 

 

While the P+T 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 forth 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 these activities.

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 in service to activities that generate a culture of academic and creative achievement, inform my teaching practice, and promote the good reputation of the school and the university.

Sincerely,

Research and Creative Activities

Overview

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.

 

At its best, documentary storytelling can promote the human cause by revealing to maker, participant, and viewer something essential (big or small) about who we are.  The documentary films I make span a diverse set of subjects and characters, but they all seem to be about champions of unpopular ideas whose unwavering dedication to their cause is virtuous, and whose sometimes unfortunate or seemingly misdirected application of their energy and passion belies a relatable, unimpeachable rationale.

The non-fiction media I produce in collaboration with governmental organizations, NGOs, and non-profits focuses on environmental conservation initiatives, advocacy for underserved communities, and educational content for those who seek to serve those communities.  These issue-oriented pieces connect my work with my politics, sharpen my filmmaking skills, keep me connected with the technical tools of the trade, and grow my network contacts locally and regionally.

 

My friend and mentor Michael Rabiger, who invited me to co-author the 7th Edition of his textbook Directing the Documentary, is fond of the Emile Zola quote, “A work of art is a corner of nature seen through a temperament.” I have found this to be especially true of documentary and non-fiction media because it takes reality as its subject and requires the filmmaker to interpret that reality to communicate a story to a viewer.  For the filmmaker, then, it is important to examine the unique point of view out of which the themes that generate and inform that interpretation emerge.  I routinely ask my students to adopt this ethic in the pursuit of their own, authentic “voice,” which I believe is most effective when it lives at the very center of their work.

 
Directing the Documentary Book Cover 7e.

Publications

In January 2019, I was invited by Michael Rabiger to join him in co-authoring the 7th edition of his long-running textbook Directing the Documentary.  The title was released on May 22, 2020.

The 7th edition includes brand new content on the rise of the documentary series, the impact of video on demand and content aggregators, updated information on prosumer and professional video (including 4K+), coverage of new audio & lighting solutions and trends in post-production, coverage of the immersive documentary, and provides practical sets of solutions for low, medium, and high budget documentary film productions throughout. The companion website has also been fully updated to include a wide variety of projects, additional project ideas, and professional film examples.

Samples:

Creative Work

Documentaries (independent and commissioned):

There’s Heart Here (2019)

Credit:  Writer, Director, Director of Photography, Story Editor

Description:  A short documentary about three indigenous members of the Two Spirit and LGBTQ community as they journey toward self-acceptance, supportive healthcare, and communities that celebrate them.  The project, which also includes a prescriptive video targeted toward health care practitioners in Indian Country was awarded through a proposal sponsored by the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) and made by Indian Health Services (IHS).

Distribution:  Premiered at the 2019 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), used in conjunction with training material targeted toward health care providers in Indian Country, and available through the NPAIHB website, screened at a special community gathering at the Native American Student and Community Center at Portland State University.

People of the Way (2019)

Credit:  Filmmaker

Description:  A VR/360 short documentary about a tiny Lutheran congregation led by a gay pastor and committed to living out progressive values grounded in traditional faith.

Production Notes:  This project was made as a part of a professional development opportunity at NW Documentary Arts and Media in their workshop DIY 360 Documentary.

Burton Before and After (2017)

Credit:  Director

Description:  A short documentary that revisits the transition of a transgender man through home video shot 15 years prior.

Distribution:  Educational streaming and DVD sales through Dark Hollow Films (2018-2019).

Film Festival Screenings:  Leeds Queer Film Festival, Outfest Los Angeles, Q Films (Long Beach Q Film Festival), Reeling (The Chicago International LGBTQ Film Festival), Cinema Diverse (Palm Springs), Oregon Independent Film Festival, Olympia Film Festival, Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, BendFilm Festival, TWIST (Seattle Queer Film Festival), Trans Stellar Film Festival Detroit, Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival (Portland), Portland Film Festival, Q Fest:  San Antonio LGBT International Film Festival, Corvallis Queer Film Festival, Ethnografilm (Paris), Portland International Film Festival, Translations (Seattle), Ashland Independent Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Wandering Reel Film Festival (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Northern California), Film Festival at Browns Point (Tacoma), Unlonely Film Festival.

Presentations and Special Screenings:  The Evergreen State College (Professor Suree Towfighnia’s Mediaworks:  Signifying Difference and Power on Screens course), Portland State University (Professor Miriam Abelson’s Transgender Studies course), Queering Social Justice Symposium (hosted by Portland State University), Trans Summit (hosted by Outfest LA), University Film and Video Association Annual Conference 2019, Trans Pictures:  An Evening of Films Exploring Trans Lives at the Gene Siskel Film Center (hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Hollywood Theatre at Portland International Airport, TAG! Queer Shorts Online: Documentary.

Awards:

45:  Love Letter to the Resistance (2017)

Credit:  Co-Director

Description:  Donald Trump offers words of encouragement to Portland, Oregon’s street protestors.

Screenings/Streaming: Boathouse Microcinema, makeamericagreatagain.art.

Production Notes:  This project was made in response to the a year of street protests that followed the inauguration of the 45th President of the U.S.

Confluence of Purpose (2016)

Credit:  Co-Producer, Director, Camera Operator

Description:  A short documentary awarded through an RFP administered by Tillamook Estuaries Partnership and funded by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife about a 520 acre tidal wetland restoration project located in Tillamook County, Oregon.

Distribution:  Tillamook Estuaries Partnership website, Tillamook Coliseum screening, Tillamook County Board of Commissioners screening, Stories of Our Watersheds Film Festival--Portland, Stories of Our Watersheds Film Festival—Seattle, Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (ORAFS) annual meeting, National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP)/American Fisheries Society (AFS)/The Wildlife Society (TWS) Reno Film Festival: Reno-vating Habitat for Fish and Wildlife: A Film Festival Highlighting Collaborative Habitat Conservation and Its Benefits.

Geeta Lewis (2019)

Credit:  Camera Operator, Story Editor

Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies

Distribution:  Q Center's annual SHINE fundraising event.
 

SMART Reading Program (2018)

Credit:  Camera Operator, Story Editor

Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies

Distribution:  Screened at SMART's Alphabet Ball fundraising event.

Educational, branded media, and fundraising content made in partnership

with government agencies, NGOs, and non-profits:

See Us. Stand with Us. (2019)

Credit:  Co-Director, Camera Operator, Story Editor

Funded by:  Indian Health Service (IHS)

Co-Produced by:  Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB)

Distribution:  Premiered at the 2019 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), used in conjunction with training material targeted toward health care providers in Indian Country, and available through the NPAIHB website.

Center for Women's Leadership (2018)

Credit:  Camera Operator, Story Editor

Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies

Distribution:  Screened at CWL's annual Power Lunch fundraising event.

Gladys Bikes (2019)

Credit:  Camera Operator, Story Editor

Commissioned by: Swaim Strategies

Distribution:  Screened at Basic Rights Oregon's Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Luncheon and available on Basic Rights Oregon's YouTube channel.

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

Distribution:  Used in conjunction with training material targeted toward health care providers in Indian Country, available through the NPAIHB's website and social media outlets.

Explore Nature (2018)

Credit:  Co-Producer, Director, Camera Operator, Story Editor

Funded by:  Explore Tillamook Coast

Co-Produced by:  Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP)

Distribution:  Available on Explore Nature's website and social media outlets.

Digital humanities projects:

I am currently in collaboration with Professor Judith Raiskin at the University of Oregon on Outliers and Outlaws:  The Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, a community-based, digital humanities project that preserves and shares the unique history of the lesbian community in Eugene, OR.

A collection of 83 oral histories, housed in the University of Oregon library, are at the center of this initiative.  The archived interviews and documents preserve and fills in a gap of important history.

My participation as originally envisioned was to produce a 24-minute documentary about several of the women who helped build the community and who continue to contribute to the culture.  When COVID-19 hit, the production was put on hold and I was asked to turn my attention to the development and design of the project website and the upcoming digital exhibit.  I learned the Wordpress theme and page builder plugin, Divi and completed the website.  The digital exhibit is currently in-progress.

I have found that sourcing material from the archive (interviews, photographs, documents, news clippings, and other ephemera) and using technology to frame its relevance and tell a story for an audience, requires the same skill set as documentary filmmaking.  While I look forward to a time where we can record the documentary safely, I am enjoying this opportunity learn new media technology, digital communication techniques, and to do something a little different with my creative energy.

New Opportunities for Older Creative Work

Several of my older documentary titles picked up new opportunities during the review period.

In collaboration with The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, I story edited a looping 15-minute excerpt from Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) for use in their “Exotic World Museum” exhibit, which opened in 2018 continued through 2019.

My collaborators at Prairie Dust Films and I continued distribution efforts on Crying Earth Rise Up (2015), a documentary that examines the human cost of uranium mining and its impact on sacred water.  Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s minority consortia member Vision Maker Media and distributed to PBS by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), 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.

A short documentary I produced in collaboration with Boxcar Assembly and the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission (OCHC) and funded by the National Parks Service (NPS), was included in the traveling exhibit Uprooted:  Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II.  During the review period, the exhibit 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.  The exhibit highlights photographer Russell Lee’s documentation of Japanese farm labor camps in the Northwestern United States during World War II.

Standing Silent Nation (2007), a documentary I produced in collaboration with Prairie Dust Films about a Lakota family’s attempts to grow industrial hemp and the federal government’s refusal to allow it, which aired nationally on PBS’s POV/American Documentary, received the honor of being chosen for the Vision Maker Media commemorative collection, “40 Years – 40 Films” in 2017.

Consulting  Work

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.

I am a credited Consulting Producer on North Pole, NY (2018), a feature-length documentary about Santa's Workshop, one of the very first theme parks in the U.S., and the struggle of those who love it to keep it alive. I began working on the project when it was in the development phase of the production process and offered consultation throughout its making, especially during post-production where I helped to story edit the piece. Upon completion, the film was invited to the prestigious documentary market Doc NYC, has since shown at several film festivals where it has garnered awards, and is currently playing in theaters in the Northeastern U.S. and Southeastern Canada as part of a 4-walling campaign.

I am an uncredited consultant on Unaccompanied:  Alone in America (2018), a short advocacy video about the plight of immigrant children who must represent themselves in federal immigration court. The video went “viral” and has been screened millions of times in the aggregate on social media platforms and websites.  Its director, Linda Freedman, for whom I have served as a consultant in the past, emailed me a rough cut of the project.  I offered suggestions for managing the question of how to communicate to the viewer that the piece is a re-enactment, ideas for restructuring the video, and language for the inter-titles.

I am credited as an Additional Photographer on The Reluctant Radical (2018), a feature-length documentary about climate activist Ken Ward.  I also provided critique twice during the rough cut stage of post-production.  In the early stages of production on the film, director Lindsey Grayzel and her camera operator were arrested and charged with a number of crimes for photographing direct action related to the film’s narrative.  I wrote a short report about the situation and emailed it to several colleagues across the country including media scholar Patricia Aufderheide, who edited and published my comments to the American University Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI) website. To read the piece, visit:  http://cmsimpact.org/fair-use-blog/hermann-dangerous-docs/

Accepted Proposals

During the review period, I responded to two Requests for Proposals (RFPs). One opportunity was distributed publicly, and the other was solicited by the requesting organization. Both of the proposals I prepared and submitted were accepted.

The first proposal was made in response to an RFP sent out by Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) on behalf of Explore Nature, a consortium of environmental conservation non-profits in Tillamook County, for a series of short branded videos for the web and associated social media platforms.  Details of that project are described above.

The second proposal was submitted upon request by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) and funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS) for a short documentary about the treatment of queer indigenous people by health care providers in Indian Country.  Details of that project are outlined above.

Teaching, Advising, Mentoring, and Curricular Activities

Overview

I model an engaged and considered approach to interacting with the world, authoring and collaborating on creative work, and setting goals for academic and professional achievement.  Through scrupulous curriculum design and deployment, I seek to invigorate the pursuit of learning and to stimulate students’ desire to achieve at a high level. By demonstrating a keen interest in the discipline, a passion for the film profession, and a commitment to contributing to the culture of the School of Film at Portland State, I endeavor to cultivate student engagement and success.  My teaching is highly rated, according to classroom visitation reports and student evaluations and my efforts at mentoring have enriched students academic and professional experiences.  See the "Course Evaluations and Classroom Visitation" and "Mentoring" sections below for details.

 

Across the twelve different courses I have taught at Portland State during the review period, I employed a variety of approaches—reading, discussion, lecture, demonstration, seminar, writing, hands-on practice, and application of newly acquired concepts—in service to the goal of delivering skill proficiency and experience in the particular area of study while fostering an attitude toward creative work that prepares students for the next level of achievement in the curriculum and for future professional opportunities.  I have made my course materials available to junior faculty members (adjunct and full-time) who have adopted significant elements in their teaching.

In my efforts to deliver learner-centered instruction, I offer strong leadership, organized planning, and unambiguous communication to create a stable environment where the inevitable differences in students’ preparedness, natural ability, and ways of learning can be effectively addressed, and I encourage students to interrogate their personal values, points of view, and areas of interest to arrive at subjects for and themes to address in their creative work.

I model for student filmmakers a positive attitude, patience, and curiosity.  I encourage students to invest their energy in the task at hand and to strive to make themselves available to whatever good things might be revealed in the process.  I maintain the expectation that success is not only possible, but is inevitable with the application of constant pressure on the available materials and resources.

I provided informed academic advising to students in-person, via email, and through Zoom throughout the entire review period and earned a nomination for PSU’s Dan Fortmiller Excellence in Advising award in 2018.  When students who are not assigned advisees contact me about registration overrides, I routinely review their DARS and not only provide guidance about the appropriateness of the course they are attempting to add, but also offer tailored suggestions about what elective courses might benefit them moving forward and which required courses they might undertake next.

Selected curricular activities during the review period include developing the curriculum for and deploying FILM 132 Introduction to Digital Filmmaking (required for all majors), FILM 450 Portfolio and Professional Development (first offered as a special topics course and then adopted into the catalogue),  FILM 451 Advanced Production Workshop (first offered as a special topics course and then adopted into the catalogue), all three courses in the Documentary Production sequence, and FILM 360 Branded Media (a course that invites community collaborations and brings awareness to the FILM program through distribution opportunities).  See the "Selected Courses" and "Curricular Activities" sections below for more information.

Mentoring students is a gratifying pursuit, and one that achieved tangible goals for students including the attainment of professional development, employment, and graduate education opportunities during the review period.  I enjoyed getting to know individual students better so that I might provide them with appropriate and useful assistance and guidance.  See the "Mentoring" section below for details.

 

Selected Courses

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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 media 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.

FA18 Pitch Deck Sample:

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.

In Fall 2016, the Branded Media Production class produced 7 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 3 brand story videos.

FA16 Project Samples:

In Fall 2018, students produced 7 “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 4 “brand story” videos, and with Explore Nature, a consortium of environmental conservation groups, on twenty, 1-minute “highlight” videos.

FA18 Project Samples:

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Portfolio and Professional

Development

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

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:

WI19 Reel:

Digital Filmmaking

Introduction to

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.

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 the 200-level production tracks in documentary and narrative film production.

WI20 Reel:

Advanced Production

Workshop

Advanced Production Workshop serves those students who have completed at least one of Portland State Film's production tracks. Students with diverse interests convene and collaborate on mature work that can be used in portfolios and offered to outside distribution channels including film festivals and online streaming. 

Each student authors their own film in a chosen genre:  experimental, fiction, documentary, branded media, or music video.  Delivery deadlines throughout the term keep students on track to complete a project from concept to completion in 11 weeks.

Students are asked to invest in their classmates' processes; invoking a collaborative spirit that yields opportunities for student participation in an array of projects, each with its own storytelling, producing, aesthetic, logistical, and technical challenges.  Because students crew on each other's projects, the experience is intended to produce high quality assets they can use in their individual portfolios. 

 

During the term, students develop marketing materials (website + poster/postcard) and a distribution plan during the term to ready themselves to screen their work publicly.  This activity supports the notion that films are made to be shared with audiences, which serves to professionalize the work to a greater degree.

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Documentary Production

Sequence

FILM 361 Documentary II "Documentary Portrait" Samples:

FILM 362 Documentary III "Subjective Reconstruction" Samples:

FILM 362 Documentary III "Archival Documentary" Samples:

FILM 258 Documentary I "Character Study" Samples:

Each year, I teach the Documentary Production sequence FILM 258 Documentary Production I, FILM 361 Documentary Production II, and FILM 362 Documentary Production III.  Each course is designed to stand alone, but when taken in succession, the experience provides students with a mini-specialty in non-fiction filmmaking.  Through a succession of hands-on exercises and projects supported by lecture, readings, demonstrations, and critique sessions, students practice isolated parts of the documentary filmmaking toolset.  At the end of each term, they are asked to individually author a short film whose parameters are tailored to take advantage of the skillsets acquired to that point.  In FILM 362 Documentary III, students are called upon to put all of the accumulated pieces of the puzzle together in the making of a film whose parameters are less restrictive than in the previous two courses.

 

As the focus of my own work, it is particularly meaningful to me to share the history, ethical considerations, aesthetics, techniques, and technology of documentary filmmaking with our students. I believe that documentary filmmaking is not just a media arts practice, but a primer on developing empathy and compassionate self-awareness. At its best, engaging in this form of storytelling can promote human decency because it invites the maker to embrace an attitude of curiosity, non-judgment, and good humor—both in filmmaking and in life. 

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 development, 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
300-Level Courses
400-Level Courses

Introduction to Digital Filmmaking

Camera Basics

Story Development for Film

Documentary Production I

Documentary Production II

Documentary Production III

Sound Techniques

Digital Cinematography

Advanced Cinematography

Branded Media

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).

Thank You Notes

While it is not uncommon for professors to receive thank you notes from graduating students, I wanted to include a few here that I received in Spring 2020--an extraordinary time to complete one's college education.

Curricular Activities

In service to the development of the School of Film’s new curriculum for Fall 2018, I prepared course descriptions and sample syllabi for FILM 132 Introduction to Digital Filmmaking and FILM 451 Advanced Production Workshop. I also contributed to the installment of other changes, including breaking the “crafts” (editing, cinematography, and sound) out of FILM 360 Topics in Production and into standalone course numbers, and incorporating FILM 450 Portfolio and Professional Development as a standalone number in the new area of the audit, Advanced Studies and Professional Development.

 

I taught a trial of FILM 132 Introduction to Digital Filmmaking in Winter 2018.  Since then, it has been successful as a core course, and seems to be fulfilling its intended purpose of enforcing a basic understanding of the discipline, creating curricular efficiencies, and helping to establish the culture of the program.  It also affords students more opportunities to explore the creative aspects of narrative filmmaking and documentary filmmaking specifically, rather than film production technologies and processes more generically, and reduces significant redundancies between FILM 257 Narrative Production I and FILM 258 Documentary Production I.  I shared all of the curriculum materials I generated for this course with the other faculty who are teaching it in service to standardizing, as much as possible, student exit competencies.

 

I have taught FILM 451 Advanced Production Workshop twice and am pleased by how nicely this course functions as a bookend to FILM 132 Introduction to Digital Filmmaking.  Designed to be fed by those who have completed at least one of our production tracks, this course clears the way for serious filmmaking students with diverse interests to convene and collaborate on high quality work that can be submitted for consideration to the School of Film’s Spring Showcase, used in portfolios, and offered to outside distribution channels. 

Mentoring

To some degree, mentoring is built into teaching and academic advising.  What separates these activities from more significant mentoring, to me, is the quantity and quality of tailored attention I offer to an individual student.  During the review period, I mentored several students in their efforts to find and navigate internships and co-ops, prepare for entry-level employment post-graduation, undertake professional development opportunities, make honors thesis projects, undertake the graduate school application process, and produce independent study projects.

I assisted Brandon Pettit's professional development efforts, facilitating a paid internship with BrandLive in Winter 2017, and arranging a paid internship followed by a co-op experience at NBC Universal to edit sports media content used in live broadcasts on NSNW.  Brandon is remains employed as an editor at NBC Universal. 

 

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 unpaid internship with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, helped him secure an unpaid 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.

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 Andries Deinum Prize, and later assisted him in completing an independent documentary project made with Gilman Scholarship support.  I introduced Paul Newman to Bradley Sellars at Relish Division where he started as a part-time worker and was promoted to a full-time editor and producer position before moving on to a Creative Director position at USAMM. I helped Paul navigate his transition from part-time to full-time at Relish and then onto his current opportunity.

I worked with Lea Kreck to prepare a joint presentation at PSU's Queering Social Justice Symposium in 2018 where Lea was the only undergraduate presenter. After she graduated, I helped her develop a relationship with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board where she is now the Technical Coordinator of their podcast about the queer indigenous community.  I recently connected her with Actual Industries where she is managing social media for Banfield Animal Hospital.

Emily Price approached me for advice and help in seeking out legitimate and appropriate internship opportunities. I advised her on how to identify and approach potential providers and ultimately connected her with Uncage the Soul Productions where she completed an internship and then a paid co-op experience.

I served as the undergraduate honors thesis advisor to Noah Puggarana's in the making of his 2019 branded marketing campaign, which uses video and still photos to highlight the value of the PSU Honors College.  I also advised Kaitlin Hoback in the making of her thesis project Student Voice (2017), a short documentary about the lives of PSU student-activists.

 

I arranged scholarships for Emily Price, Ashley Connell, Paul Newman, Lucero Cortez, and Noah Puggarana to attend Oregon Documentary Camp, an artists’ retreat and conference held annually at Silver Falls State Park (and online in 2020) for professionals working in non-fiction media production.

Pictured in this section:  Brandon Pettit as featured in a PSU graduation profile, Paul Newman at his Deinum Prize presentation, Tyler St. Pierre after accepting admission to Columbia, and Ashley Connell, Noah Puggarana, Paul Newman, and Lucero Cortez at Oregon Documentary Camp.

Governance and Other Professionally Related Service

Service to Portland State University - Governance

As a member of the Student Media Board (2017 - present) I help oversee the hiring, budgeting, and organizational processes necessary for the operation of student media including PSU Vanguard, The Pacific Sentinel, KPSU, Pathos, and PSU-TV.

I served on the President’s Academic Advisory Council (AY 2018), a body of around 20 faculty members, who met once per term to provide opinions, information, and feedback to the President of the university about how pending decisions and policy might affect teaching and learning.

Service to Portland State University - Other Activities

I reviewed applications for university-wide scholarships in 2018, which provided me a more complete understanding about the opportunities available, who was making application for these, and the quality of the applications.  This has helped me better instruct our students about the scholarship process.

I participated in OIT’s service desk redesign interviews in 2018.

Service to the School of Film - Governance

As an Executive Committee Member At-Large (2017 - 2020), I contributed to the preparation of the School of Film Bylaws, Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, and APR narrative and appendices.  I identified a candidate for the School of Film performance review who accepted and served well.

Service to the School of Film - Other Activities

I spent considerable time and effort across the entire review period as an unofficial advisor to COTA’s Directors of Digital Facilities.  Duties included research  of equipment appropriate to our needs and budget and developing strategies to facilitate efficient and effective distribution of resources to faculty and students.

I served on the School of Film Showcase Committee (FA16, SP17 - SP20), chairing the committee from SP18 - SP20, and coordinating the technical part of the program.

I created the Spring Showcase website in 2020 to host video essays, essay contest award winners, the portfolio show, and a group of student films curated by the production faculty.

I performed a classroom visitation, provided a thorough written review, and offered mentoring to Professor JJ Vazquez at the close of his first year of teaching.

I met with School of Film donors Jim and Sandy Wygant and have corresponded with them on a few occasions since.

I represented the School of Film at the College of the Arts Convocation in 2019 where I presented a short talk about my creative work.

 

I served on three hiring committees:  as the chair of the hiring committee for an NTTF Continuous position in production, as a member of the hiring committee for a sabbatical replacement position in production, and as a contributor to the hiring committee for a TT hybrid position.

 

I collaborated with Professor Mark Berrettini on solutions for the 6th Avenue public screen (2018 - present), generated content for the screen, and programmed it.

 

I furnished assistance and curriculum materials to Professors JJ Vazquez, Pam Minty, Colin O’Neill, and Scott Ballard in support of sections of FILM 132 Introduction to Digital Filmmaking, FILM 258 Documentary Production I, FILM 361 Documentary Production II, FILM 360 Digital Cinematography, and FILM 360 Sound Techniques.

 

I supported School of Film special events, including visits from Ichiro Kataoka, David Weissman, and Andrew Bujalski, and I created and presented content for the COTA fundraiser, "Flourish."

 

I hosted guest speakers from the film and television industry in my classes, including Michael Rabiger, Morgen Young, Bruce Carter, Maxine Trump, Ali Cotterill, and Page Stephenson, and brought a cross-section of local media professionals to the annual Portfolio Show.  I invited alumni working in the field and attending graduate school, including Tyler St. Pierre, Julie Lew, Tyler Feague, and Tyler Pickron, back to campus to speak to students.

I worked with Emma Josephson (class of 2020) and Julie Lew (class of 2018) to prepare their graduation speeches for COTA commencement.

I contributed video used in the 2018 and 2020 "One Day at PSU" campaign and the 2020 COTA commencement and I worked with Suzanne Gray to direct student in the making of shorts for the 2018 COTA commencement.

I identified technology solutions for the classroom lab (LH315), contributed to planning space-planning for the relocated Equipment Office (LH123), and consulted on the renovation of the studio classroom space (LH121).

 

I reviewed School of Film scholarship applications (AY 2018 - AY 2020).

I placed phone calls to prospective students and co-wrote School of Film marketing and fundraising letters.

 

 

Professionally Related Service

Consultant and Advisor to Film Education Institutions and Organizations

I served on the Advisory Board of Mt. Hood Community College’s Department of Integrated Media and I acted as a consultant for Green Lighting Black Lives Matter, an organization that offers video production training to African-American youth.

Film Festival and Filmmaking Grant Juror and Panelist

I served as a juror for the Filmed by Bike film festival, the Portland EcoFilm Festival, and the Portland Film Festival and reviewed grant applications for the 2019 Women in Film-PDX Production Grant.

 

Featured Service

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.

Community Outreach

Speaker and Lecturer at Colleges and Universities

I spoke on the topic of "Creative Producing" to undergraduate media students at The Evergreen State College, presented on “Social Justice Filmmaking” to graduate film students at Loyola Marymount University, and gave a talk on working with communities in art and media-making to Portland State University Social Practice graduate students.

Presenter at Professional Meetings

I delivered a talk entitled "Beyond Career Services:  Incorporating Professional Development into an Undergraduate Film Curriculum“ and "Leveraging Intensive Production Experiences in Branded Content Creation to Achieve Valuable Learning Outcomes for Students” at the University Film and Video Association annual conference in 2019 and 2017, respectively, and presented on Burton Before and After in collaboration with Film/Honors College student Lea Kreck at Portland State’s own "Queering Social Justice" Symposium.

Panelist Addressing Issues of Representation in Film

I appeared as a panelist at Outfest LA’s Trans Summit in my capacity as the director of Burton Before and After (see below), and at Open Signal/Portland Community Media cable access on a panel moderated by disability rights activist Cheryl Green addressing “Media Representation of Disability.”

Media Appearances

I was included in POWFest's book of Portland's women and non-binary directors and a short documentary about the Hollywood Theatre’s PDX Airport cinema which is available online, screened on a loop in the airport and shows in the microcinema (see below).

I was interviewed for the August 2020 edition of Student Filmmakers Magazine about documentary production and authored an October 2016 post for American University's Center for Media and Social Impact, authored by Patricia Aufderheide, Senior Research Fellow, about the unsettling trend of law enforcement's violation of documentary filmmakers' first amendment rights. 

Articles:

Pictured in this section:  Loyola Marymount lecture, Open Signal/Portland Community media panel, PSU Social Practice MFA talk, POWFest Women and Non-Binary Directors book, "Queering Social Justice" presentation, Evergreen State College speaking engagement.

 

Discussion and Panel Facilitator for Film Culture and Industry Events

I led a public discussion with the two-time Academy-Award winning documentary director and producer Barbara Kopple at the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (see below), moderated the panel “Documentary Filmmaking in a New Political Climate” at the Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (see below), and moderated an Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) “Town Hall” event.

Selected Community Outreach Activities

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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 the summit attendees.

At left 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 trailer about its origin story.

The inaugural program featured a block of work made by Portland State Film students' from my Branded Media Production class entitled, Portland: You are Here.

In the Summer 2019 program, my short documentary Burton Before and After was selected for inclusion.

"Documentary Filmmaking in a New Political Climate"

In March 2017, I was invited by POWFest (Portland Oregon Women's Film Festival) to moderate the panel "Documentary Filmmaking in a New Political Climate".  Underpinning the discussion as the notion that the artifice of media making does not protect the filmmaker from physical, emotional or financial harm. Not in the most seemingly benign of circumstances and certainly not when pursing risky work.

Panelists:  J. Ashlee Albies (Lawyer), Lindsey Grayzel (Filmmaker, The Reluctant Radical), and Jodi Darby (Filmmaker, Arresting Power).

Excerpt from the discussion here.

© 2020 by Courtney Hermann

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