The Future is Creative
Issue: Volume 41 Issue 3: (Edition 3 2018)

The Future is Creative

How can an art and design university and the professional environment of its region intersect with maximum impact?

An international university with two campuses in Georgia, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is seeing its schools of Entertainment Arts and Digital Media have a positive effect on the film and television industry in that state.

Georgia is now the leading region for film production in the US, home to an estimated 25,000 people working in film and television. With an economic impact reaching the $9.5 billion mark, the growth potential for the career sector in production, postproduction, marketing, and content creation appears exponential – the need for qualified professionals has never been greater.

SCAD’s degree programs are the “supply” to the film industry’s “demand.” From Amazon, Netflix, and network series, to the biggest box-office draws and award winners, Georgia’s status as one of the creative centers of the film and TV industry is inextricably linked to SCAD incentives. One result is what could be called a “peach rush” – professionals from around the nation flocking to Georgia to live and work.

From recent graduates to industry veterans, SCAD has created a home for everyone to come together and grow in their professions. SCAD School of Entertainment Arts and School of Digital Media — two of the most prestigious schools of their kind — offer accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a diverse array of film-related disciplines.

“SCAD degree programs are the supply to industry demand, engaging students in revolutionary coursework and results-oriented experiences that prepare them to take the professions by storm,” explains SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. “We’ve recently created — whole cloth, through our own research and expertise, in collaboration with industry — new BFA and MFA programs in immersive reality, UX design, and social strategy and marketing, among others. What makes SCAD an academic powerhouse is SCADpro, where titans like Disney, DreamWorks, and Delta partner with SCAD students to invent real solutions to today’s design challenges. SCAD prepares students for the professions because we practice the disciplines we teach: SCAD is a filmmaking studio in its own right, producing hundreds of films every year.”

Community Events

One of the keys to this symbiotic success is the creation and growth of signature events at SCAD Atlanta: AnimationFest (September 27–29, 2018), aTVfest (February 7–9, 2019), and GamingFest (April 4–6, 2019). All of these events fall under the rubric of SCADFilm.

Created as an evolution of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this past fall, SCADFilm offers exclusive access to industry influencers, master classes, screenings, and industry-focused festivals. SCADFilm is the leading program for students and working professionals in film and television, animation, gaming, virtual reality, and digital arts, offering career opportunities to learn and network.

With two stages and 560 total seats, SCADshow, located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, is the main venue for SCADFilm and aTVfest screenings, and hosts SCADFilm software symposiums and workshops.

SCADFilm serves the veteran talent flocking here to live and work — and the new talent being cultivated at SCAD. The pros need a place they can call home, where they can meet colleagues and advance their technical and industry knowledge. SCADFilm’s annual festivals cultivate interactions between students, professionals, and industry arbiters from EA Sports, Cartoon Network, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, and more.

SCAD aTVfest is the longest-running of the SCADFilm festivals and an international event celebrating the latest in design, creativity, and innovation in television and media. Working professionals from all spheres of content production gather for screenings, premieres, panel discussions, and workshops. Through the festival, industry professionals, guests, and SCAD students alike connect, network, and explore the latest trends in broadcast, streaming, cable, Web, social media, and advertising, and see the best work airing today.

SCAD also supports the growth and advancement of the entertainment arts industry in Georgia, a top destination for feature filmmaking. SCAD alumni contribute to films at the vanguard of innovation, including a number of 2018 Academy Award-winners.

With SCAD GamingFest, SCADFilm offers an abundance of professional enrichment opportunities to cater to the growing presence of the enormous global gaming industry, nicely settling in Georgia.

One of the fastest-growing academic fields, SCAD undergraduate and graduate interactive design and game development programs are led by faculty from Activision, Blue Sky Studios, Nickelodeon Digital, Savage Entertainment, and beyond. Buoyed by their SCAD education, students have won the Electronic Entertainment Expo College Game Competition three times.

“The entirety of SCAD is designed toward one life-altering purpose: to launch and sustain professional careers for our students and thriving graduates,” says Wallace. Facts back this up. In a study completed earlier this year, 99 percent of recent SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education, or both within 10 months of graduation. The global SCAD alumni network in entertainment arts — now 12,000 strong — are everywhere in the industry: the big studios, the startups, and throughout the Fortune 500.