While more movie studios, like Paramount, are transitioning to entirely digital picture releases, Professor Jake Dodd maintains that working with film isn’t a thing of the past. In fact, he says quite the opposite. “Film isn’t going away any time soon.”
Dodd, an award-winning independent filmmaker, instructs film and cinema courses in Oswego’s budding Cinema Screen Studies program.
“If the students are only working with video, then you are limiting their voice,” he says. “Each film a person makes has unique characteristics to the film—like a signature.
“With film, students are forced to conceptualize how the finished product will look in their heads,” Dodd says. “When everything is planned out, you only shoot what you need. People who say that film is too expensive are just using that as an excuse.”
Film emotes an aesthetic that cannot be recreated digitally. In addition, he says the film industry has been established long enough for all components to be reusable; even the light sensitive silver halide on film stock is collected and recycled. Inversely, “with digital you need to buy a new camera every five years when yours becomes out of date.
“There are some merits to digital filmmaking,” Dodd admits, “but the skills you learn working with film, like careful planning and attention to light, translate to digital and will ultimately make you a better filmmaker.”
He was first exposed to working with film while earning a B.F.A. in film, photography and visual arts at Ithaca College, though he grew up enjoying movies from directors like Steven Spielberg. He taught his first film course while working as a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
He joined Oswego in 2011. He credits Dr. Amy Shore and Dr. Bennet Shaber for seeking out someone with experience in 16 mm and experimental film.
Dodd says throughout college, he worked in an oil refinery to fund his films. His advice to aspiring filmmakers?
“If your dream is to make films, start now, and don’t ever stop making films.”
—Tyler Edic ’13