When Usedcarsalesman was in the 8th grade, he did a book report for a social studies class at Junior High School in the DC metro area. The book in question was Skywalking, a George Lucas biography written by author, Dale Pollock. Given that the last of the first trio of "Star Wars" films had come out many years prior, Usedcarsalesman's peer audience was kind of wondering, understandably, "why is this kid talking about the guy who did those Star War's flicks, now?" Reality, at that time, was that Usedcarsalesman seemed to be one of the few youngsters in the DC area with an interest in film and TV production - George Lucas was simply one of his heroes at the time, whether there was a Star Wars film out or not.
Well, here we are, years later, and 'Used' is in Hollywood and still pays attention to the activities of childhood heroes like George Lucas. Heck, in recent years, 'Used' has even acted as the lead in films and TV productions that he had auditioned for at the "Lucas" building on the grounds of the director's alma mater, The University of Southern California ("USC"). So, it was with some interest that Usedcarsalesman reviewed the news made by George Lucas, recently, regarding the purpose of his 175 million dollar gift to USC. At Wednesday's groundbreaking for a new Cinema Arts building, The "Star Wars" creator spoke, calling his gift a signal to the rest of academia that movies are "an important discipline and should be taken seriously." The Los Angeles Times said Lucas believes movie-making schools should be thought of on the same level as medical and law schools as well as schools of architecture and even journalism.
Hmm, Usedcarsalesman thinks, with all due respect, that Lucas may have a hang-up or two with academia's views on movie-making. Maybe, while at a Marin County cocktail-party, Lucas got the cold-shoulder from other rich-types who had contributed to the hard-science departments at Berkeley or Stanford ("...not some movie-making school!"). Maybe, the director's Mom always wanted him to be Chief of Surgery at Palms of Pasadena Hospital. Who knows?
But, speaking - rather presumptuously - for the younger folks in the entertainment industry, 'Used' doesn't think that he and they have any latent need for academia to consider "movie-making" an "important discipline" or on the same level as "medical, law or architecture schools." 'Used' thinks it's the architects, medical doctors and lawyers who should rightly have that elevated status in academia - to compensate for, perhaps, the constrained creativity necessitated by their highly-valued disciplines (or their need for state exam and license... God forbid, one ever needs a state license to make a movie!?)
For young movie-makers, if what they've made causes people to watch, that's more than good enough and evidence of the power of what they do. Furthermore, "bright kids"-are-"bright kids"-are-"bright kids" - young movie-makers won't benefit from academia according their schools the status of medical or architecture schools. It's not going to raise or lower movie-maker IQ's and it's not going to improve their product (If anything, there should probably be no movie-making schools, just guilds, apprenticeships etc). And, the movie-making schools - in general, USC, UCLA, AFI - seem to exist only to bring some efficiency to learning Hollywood's "movie machine," [the system, people and tools] involved in making a quality film or TV product). Usedcarsalesman doesn't think these schools are looking to make any changes.
Nevertheless, Usedcarsalesman thinks that Lucas is alright donating big money to improve facilities at USC's School of Cinema and Television. And, the more money that he and others channel in that direction, the better. But, Lucas should avoid trying to wield a "tight grip" on academia's views about movie-making. Usedcarsalesman may be wrong, but he doesn't see the current or coming generations of movie-makers demanding any change in academic perception regarding their field.