Film and Digital Media LA program to launch by summer 2023

The Department of Film and Digital Media will be launching a study abroad opportunity in Los Angeles. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Department of Film and Digital Media will be launching its new Los Angeles summer program in 2023.

“It has always been the idea to send students out there, primarily to focus on internships and what we would call professional development,” Brian Elliott, senior lecturer and director of the LA program, said.

Elliott also said planning for the LA program has been in the works for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t until now that they had received university approvals and enough funding to launch.

Earlier this semester, the Department of Film and Digital Media received a $2 million gift from alumnus Matthew B. Lindner, which completed the funding.

“What we’re very excited about because of the gift is that we’re positioning the gift as a way to give students the opportunity to do this at a lower cost,” Chris Hansen, professor and chairman of Film and Digital Media, said. “The gift will actually go toward financing the program costs so that students don’t have to pay those.”

Elliott and Katy Briscoe, director of programming of the LA program, have been working together in order to plan the logistics of making the program available to students.

According to Elliott, part of the experience students can expect in the LA program is to be able to engage with alumni who are already working within the industry. These alumni can share experiences and teach current students how people within that field of study survive in the business.

Hansen said there will be internships tied with the LA program. Currently, their team is working with alumni and other partners they have in LA to be able to provide those opportunities for students.

Although there is currently not an official application for the program, Elliott said students can expect to answer a series of questions about what they have done, what they have interest in and what they would like to do. Additionally, they can expect to be asked to include references such as professors.

“We want to be sensitive to if can a student do well in an environment that’s pretty intense,” Elliott said. “The stakes are relatively high, and it’s not only a reflection of that student, but it’s a reflection of us as a department and university. We want them to do well and thrive, not put somebody in a situation where maybe they don’t quite have the resources yet personally to handle that situation.”

Hansen said the LA program is somewhat modeled after the Baylor in New York program in terms of success within its residential program in another production-heavy city. The biggest difference between the two is that New York is held for a semester whereas LA would be during the summer.

According to both Elliott and Hansen, the LA program would accept an estimated 10 to 14 students per term, giving seniors and juniors priority since part of this experience is building on the networking and connections students can achieve throughout the summer.

Hansen said part of the details that are yet to be finalized is housing accommodations. They are planning on working with either apartment buildings or organizations that provide housing for students for these types of experiences.