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Film & Television Program

Meet the faculty

Rodney Vance

Rodney Vance

Rodney Vance is currently producing and directing 'Napa Valley Dreams', an Imax-style film on the Napa Valley (napavalleydreams.com).  He has worked as Head Writer on two multi-award winning television series (Lifestyle Magazine, The Evidence), sold or was hired to write three screenplays, wrote seven produced stage plays, one of which (Token) won the Judge's Choice Award in the Edward Albee International Playwriting Competition, and wrote a published children's book called De'Monte Love (Visikid Books). He produced more than thirty stage plays and events, including an event for the Pan American Youth Congress at the Mexico City Sports Palace and one for a World Congress of Seventh-day Adventists at the New Orleans Superdome. He worked as an expert consultant in writing for the Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C. and as a classical announcer for WGTS-fm in Washington D.C. and NPR member station WAUS-fm in southwestern Michigan. He studied advanced screenwriting at UCLA, got an MFA in playwriting at The Catholic University of America, and an MA in religion at Andrews University. Born in Niles, Michigan, his first story was published in GUIDE magazine when he was 11 years old. He's a member of the Writers Guild, the Dramatist's Guild, the Television Academy, and, ahem, MENSA.  You can read more about Mr. Vance's work at his IMDb page.

Carrie Specht

Carrie Specht poses with Stephen Sobel, the writer, and Barry Wilson, the cinematographer, during the filming of "The Road Trip."

Carrie Specht is a film industry professional with more than sixteen years experience working behind the scenes in Hollywood. Although she has worked on set in nearly every technical position, from Grip to Camera Assistant, from Sound Mixer to Best Boy Electrician (it’s a job title, not a gender), Carrie has spent most of her career as a union 2nd Assistant Director for films and television after completing the Directors Guild of America Trainee Program in 2002. She’s also spent a great deal of time in the production office as an Assistant Production Office Coordinator, Coordinator and Production Manager for Commercials, Music Videos, Reality Shows and Television Dramas.


Carrie began her professional career in New York while still a graduate student completing her MFA in Film Producing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (her BA in Screenwriting from San Francisco State University). During this same time she produced the first of more than a dozen short films, all of which have gone to major film festivals such as Sundance and the New York Film Festival, and many have received awards including a Gold Student Academy Award, an African American Student Filmmaker Award, and the Best Drama of the New York Short Film Festival. Carrie completed directing and producing her most recent short film, Drop In Any Mailbox, in early August 2012. Her other directing achievements include a Best Short of the Melbourne Independent Film Festival, two web series, and a position as a top ten finalists for the ABC/Disney Directors Fellowship in 2005.


In addition to her film work, Carrie enjoys being a classic film commentator for various websites and blogs such as FilmJerk.com, DawsBrothers.com, FilmCourage.com, and her own websites, ClassicFilmFan.com (formerly ClassicFilmSchool.com) and RetroSpecht.com. Due to her extensive knowledge of film history she has acted as consultant on many independent projects ranging from photo identification, historical productions and theme restaurants.


Carrie lives in Hollywood, California, where she is currently developing a book to benefit the Motion Picture Television Fund Retirement Community and an archival project for the world famous Actors Studio.

You can learn more about Ms. Specht in her IMDd page here.


Collaborating Faculty

Andrew Howe
Chair, History Department
Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside, 2005
American History and Civilization, Popular Culture & Film Studies


"The Urinal: A Functional and Aesthetic History." Pop Matters. <www.PopMatters.com> Accepted for publication (May 2010).
"A Micro History of the Zombie Film." Superplus 1.3 (2010): 9.
" It's Complicated: Multi-Valence and the Modern Film Classroom." The International Journal of the Humanities 8.3 (2010): 65-72.
"Beastly Desire: Human/Animal Interactions in Lawrence's Women in Love."; Papers on Language and Literature 38 (Fall 2002): 429-41.
"GenusDEnglish, SpeciesDOther: Liminal Hybridity in The Satanic Verses."; Genre 22 (2001): 180-90.


"The Blending of Science Fiction and Anime in Robotech"; 2011 Eaton Science Fiction Conference: Global Science Fiction (UCR); February 13, 2011
"Revisiting the Deprong Mori: The Link Between Bat Saliva and Curing Childhood Obesity"; Modern Language Association, 127th Annual Conference (Los Angeles); January 8, 2011
"Body Politic: Maya Deren and the Subversive Female Body"; International Conference on the Image (UCLA); December 2, 2010
"It's Complicated: Multi-Valence and the Modern Film Classroom"; Humanities: 8th International Conference on New Directions in Humanities (UCLA); July 2, 2010
"Come Hear the Music Play: Cabaret and Other Places of False Security in 1930s Europe"; Popular Culture Association, 40th Annual Conference (St. Louis); April 1, 2010
"Go Down, Moses and the Failure of a Natural Genealogy"; Western Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature (California Baptist University); March 26, 2010
Young, but not so Innocent: British Origins of Hitchcock's 'Wrong Man' Cycle"; Popular Culture Association, 39th Annual Conference (New Orleans); April 9, 2009
"Mad, Bad & Out of Control: Cinematic Scientists of the Post-World War II Era"; Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association, 106th Annual Conference (Pomona College); November 7, 2008
"Consumed by Their Creations: Mad Scientists of the New Millennium"; Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, & Beyond, 5th Biennial Conference of the Film & History League (Chicago); October 31, 2008
"Summer is a Comin' Soon: Fearing the Pagan Other"; Conference on Christianity and Literature (Biola University); May 16, 2008
"A Culture of Conservation: The California Birdwatching Community" ; California American Studies Association, 22nd Annual Conference (Soka University); April 26th, 2008
"Tales of Wales: Queen Mab and the Philadelphia Experiment"; Popular Culture Association, 38th Annual Conference (San Francisco); March 21, 2008
"The Game is Afoot, Again: the Hollywoodization of Sherlock Holmes"; Popular Culture Association, 37th Annual Conference (Boston); April 5, 2007
"Divine Intervention: Maya Deren and Subversive Ethnography"; the Documentary Tradition, 4th Biennial Conference of the Film & History League (Dallas); November 10, 2006
"The Hand of God: Reading history Through Sports Conflict"; World History Association, 15th Annual International Conference (Long Beach); June 24, 2006
"From Saladin to Rabadash: Western Views of Islam"; Through the Wardrobe: a Narnia Conference (UC Riverside); May 5, 2006
"Curveballs, Googlies, and Bludger: The Relationship Between Sport and Empire"; Popular Culture Association, 36th Annual Conference (Atlanta); April 13, 2006
"With This Ring, I thee Wed: Pugilism and Domesticity in Film"; Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association, 103rd Annual Conference (Pepperdine University); November 11, 2005
"Sacrifice and Salvation: J.K. Rowling and the Christian Influence"; Popular Culture Association, 35th Annual Conference (San Diego); March 25, 2005
"It's All Greek to Harry: The Classical Influence on Rowling and Lewis"; Popular Culture Association, 34th Annual Conference (San Antonio); April 6, 2004
"A Tale of Two Tapirs: Science, Technology, and the Changing Construction of Canon"; Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, 101st Annual Conference (Claremont); November 9, 2003
"Pig-Keepers and Quidditch Players: The Parentless Hero"; Popular Culture Association, 33rd Annual Conference (New Orleans); April 17, 2003
"Experience and Memory: the Construction of the Father in Golden State"; American Literature Association (Long Beach); March 13, 2003
"Not Yet the Grail: Walker Percy and the Failure of Southern Violence"; California American Studies Association, 29th Annual Conference (UC Riverside); May 5, 2002
"An Illusory Homeland: The Immigrant in The Satanic Verses"; United States Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, 2nd Annual International Conference (Santa Clara University); April 27, 2002
"All the King's Hormones: Humpty-Dumpty and the Portmanteau"; Popular Culture Association, 32nd Annual Conference (Toronto); March 13, 2002

Marilynn Loveless
Director of the Drama Program
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D. Griffith University 2004
Drama, Shakespeare, screenwriting, media production
Dr. Loveless is the artistic director of the theater program at La Sierra University where she teaches script writing, acting, directing and performance classes.  An award-winning director and writer, Marilynn has earned meritorious achievement awards from the Kennedy Center American Colleges Theatre Festival, for her direction of "Othello" (2005), "The Taming of the Shrew" (2006), "The Accidental Death of An Anarchist" (2007) and "A Midsummer's Night Dream" (2011).
In 2004 Marilynn received a Ph.D.— and a citation of academic excellence for achieving perfect scores from all of the examiners of her dissertation--from the School of Arts at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, for her renegade study that proves the plausibility of Mrs. Shakespeare’s authorship of the canon usually attributed to her husband William.  Since 1986 Marilynn has worked as a television producer and writing, producing more than 135 half-hour televisions shows in Australia and New Zealand, a  series of television shows "Medicine and the Law" for the Australian Satellite television network and she has co-written two award-winning Christmas specials which were screened on the Hallmark channel in 2006 and 2007.  In the past 11 years Marilynn has directed and/or produced more than 50 live performances at both university theaters and at local community theaters in Washington Stage and at La Sierra University.

Academic Publications:

“At Once Cowardly and Absurd.”  International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Vol. 3, 2009.
Abstract: In 1886 Caroline Dall noted that, “the literature connected with the subject [Shakespearean authorship] has now reached such proportions that wholly to ignore it is at once cowardly and absurd".  This paper includes a survey of historical writings by little-known female Shakespearean literary critics that offers an intriguing insight into a parallel universe that exists quite apart from the one occupied by male members of the canonical literary criticism club and examines how the members of that club not only ratified the plays, poems and sonnets, but they also sanctioned the way in which literary criticism of the Shakespeare cannon was to be conducted.  Orthodox scholars do not usually explore the possibilities of a canon from the perspective of an author that is not William Shakespeare nor do they often entertain the notion of a female author.   There is something dangerously anarchic in the idea of playing with an idea or historical fact for some academics, who don’t mind talking about or analyzing play within a text, as long as they don’t have to do it.  The notion of playfulness in academic discussion is explored as a tactic of negotiating boundaries that traditionally isolate and marginalize members of a diverse community of scholars.
“Revisionary Re-Reading:  A New Critical Direction for the Shakespeare Canon.”  International Journal of Learning Vol. 11, 2004.
Abstract: What if an extraordinarily gifted woman, of humble birth, were born in Elizabethan England and circumstances conspired to give her rare access to a world of privilege and the opportunity to learn how to read and write; how might such a clever woman have worked the system to her advantage?  The very absence of information about her life provides a space for speculation about Anne Hathaway.
In 1978 Judith Fetterley argued that, “the first act of the feminist critic must be to become a resisting rather than an assenting reader.”  She urges readers to enter “an old text from a new critical direction.”  This paper goes one step further--authorship becomes the text and the focus of a revisionary re-reading of the Shakespeare canon.
Feminist criticism began as resistance to a patriarchal heritage that excluded the feminine voice.  For women, one of the advantages of being outside the power structure is the ability to look around and see the “other” marginalized members of the community camped outside the fortress of power/knowledge—a view obscured to the power elite by the very walls they built to exclude women, classes, religions, races or nationalities.  This paper examines the relationship between the historical silencing of women’s voices and recent feminist-inspired efforts to discover and in some cases re-appropriate the work of lost and forgotten women writers.
Upcoming Publication: “How Many Feminists Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?”
My interest in gender-specific discourse was triggered by the research I did for one of the eighteen chapters in my dissertation, “How Many Feminists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?” which is a study of the research that examines the differences in the way men and women approach and use humor and how this might inform the way in which the author of works attributed to William Shakespeare uses humor in the plays, thereby revealing an authorial gender bias.  In 2004 I read about a computer program/algorithm developed by a Professor Moshe Koppel at Bar Ilan University in Israel, which could detect whether a text was written by a male or female with 80% accuracy.  I used the online version of this program to test the sonnets purported to have been written by Will Shakespeare, against some of those written by his contemporaries.  I found a more recent article by Professor Koppel, in which he developed a computer algorithm that explored the use of language coded as masculine and feminine in the works of Shakespeare.  The conclusion of that study was the revelation of a writer who matured in later plays, demonstrating a growing understanding of the gender-specific linguistic differences between male and female discourse.  I became curious about whether or not there was a significant difference between the language coded as masculine and feminine in the performance of stand-up comedians.  So I began transcribing the work of some of my favorite comedians -- an equal ratio of male & female -- and running them through the online computer algorithm created by Professor Koppel.  Early results were interesting.  Comedy codes as primarily feminine.  I had looked at a Stanford University study that conducted MRI brain scans of male and female subjects who were shown funny cartoons, the authors discovering that men and women process humor in fundamentally different ways.  I emailed Professor Koppel and shared my preliminary findings.  He has kindly offered to collaborate with me on this project, developing a more sophisticated computer algorithm specifically for this task.

Terrill Thomas
Animation, Interactive Media
Assistant Professor of Art
B.F.A. Art Center College of Design 1992, Interactive Design
While a student at LSU, Terrill once said "I'm a painter, I'll never work on the computer." Famous last words as the saying goes. Terrill went on to graduate from Art Center College of Design and work in the technology and entertainment industries for 10 years as a digital illustrator and graphic designer. Prior to teaching at LSU in 2002, he directed a flash animation studio for Atomfilms.com in Hollywood.  Terrill currently develops and teaches web, multimedia, video, digital photography and illustration courses at the Art Department.  Working professionally with select clients allows him to stay current in these disciplines. All design projects are based on real world projects.
Past Clients Include:
Western Digital
Motown Records
M Records
Warner Brothers.

Christoph Silber
Producer, Television Writer and Screenwriter
Adjunct Professor Film and Television Arts
B.A. Humboldt University of Berlin
Raised bilingual in Europe and based in the US since 2007, Silber writes in English and German. A stage actor and music journalist from his early teens, he debuted as a playwright at the Vienna Burgtheater at the age of 24.  Over the last 12 years he's written, co-written or co-produced over 25 feature films, including Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Arranged (2007), North Face (2008) and My Last Day Without You (2011), earning recognition such as Golden Globe nominations, BAFTA and European Film Award wins and festival laurels at Cannes, Berlinale, Toronto and many others. Dubbed "one of Europe's hottest young screenwriters", in 2011 the Vilcek Foundation honored him as "an immigrant filmmaker...whose creative spirit enlivens and inspires American cinema".  Chris is an owner and co-founder of the production company Silver Shepherd Films with writing and producing partner Stefan C. Schaefer.  He has worked with Academy Award nominee Peter Straughan, Academy Award winner Volker Schlöndorff, Terence Hill, Nicole Beharie, Ken Duken and many more.  A member of the German Film Academy and the Writers Guild of America, Silber divides his time between Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Berlin.
2013 THE SHAREHOLDER (co-writer)
Comedy drama starring Shirley Maclaine
Production slated for summer 2013
NUREMBERG – DAYS OF JUDGMENT (creator, written by)
International period TV mini series produced by Rowboat Entertainment
Production slated for fall 2013
2012 BANKLADY (written by)
Period caper based on a true story directed by by Christian Alvart
European theater release summer 2012
HANNI & NANNI 3 (screenplay)
Family entertainment, based on Enid Blyton’s “St Claire” franchise
German theater release spring 2012
2011 A DAY FOR A MIRACLE (screenplay)
TV movie, German-Austrian medical drama based on a true story
Winner of: 2012 Romy Award (Best Screenplay), 2012 Blue Panther Award (Best Film),
Nominated for: 2012 German TV Award (Best Film), 2012 Prix Europa (Best Film)
HANNI & NANNI 2 (screenplay)
Family entertainment, based on Enid Blyton’s “St Claire” franchise. Box-office hit in Germany 2012, Winner of: 2012 Golden Sparrow Award (Best Childrens’ Film)
TV movie based on the memoir of Austria’s diving pioneer Hans Hass
Nominated for: 2012 Romy Award (Best Film)
2010 MY LAST DAY WITHOUT YOU (written by / producer)
Romantic comedy drama set in New York
Winner of: 2011 Brooklyn Film Festival (Best Producer), 2012 Black Reels Award (Best Independent Film), Official Selections include: Heartland Film Festival, Atlanta Int’l Film Festival, Oldenburg Int’l Film Festival
DEVIL KICKERS (screenplay)
Family entertainment / Sports, based on a German best-selling fiction series
German box-office hit, Nominated for German Film Award (Best Children’s Film)
THE ALBANIAN (co-writer)
Drama, German-Albanian co-production
Winner of: Moscow Int’l Film Festival 2010 (Special Jury Prize), 2010 Max Ophuls Award (Best Film)
2009 NORTH FACE (screenplay)
Alpine period drama set in the 1930’s, based on a true story
Winner of: 2009 German Film Critics Award (Best Screenplay), 2009 German Film Award (Best Cinematography, Sound)
THE CRIMINALIST (head writer, various screenplays 2009-2011)
TV crime series starring German leading man Christian Berkel
Nominated for 2009 Golden Camera (Best TV series)
2008 ON THE SUNNY SIDE (written by)
TV crime thriller, pilot for a new installment of the TATORT series
Winner of the 2009 Grimme Audience Award (Best Film), nominated for 2009 Golden Camera (Best Film)
MY MOTHER’S TEARS (screenplay)
Argentinian-German co-production based on a true story
Official selections include: Shanghai Int’l Film Festival, Sao Paulo Int’l Film Festival
2007 ARRANGED (script consultant, associate producer)
Comedy Drama set in New York City
Winner of: Brooklyn Int’l Film Festival (Best Film), Skip City Int’l Film Festival (Best Film), Washington Jewish Film Festival (Audience Award)
KNIGHT – HERO OF A DARK AGE (screenplay)
BBC Docu-Drama unraveling the truth behind the Lancelot myth
2006 PILOTS (screenplay)
Commercial Short film for IWC Switzerland, starring John Malkovich
MRS. RATCLIFFE’S REVOLUTION (script consultant)
British comedy drama set in the late 1960’s, produced by Assassin Films London
2005 ICEWIND (director, written by)
Period short film, drama
Winner of: Schiwago Award 2006, official selections include: LA Shorts, Chicago International Film Festival, BAM Childrens’ Film Festival (New York)
MY BEST YEARS (head writer, several screenplays)
Period TV Sitcom about the struggles of teenage life in East Germany
Nominated for Rose d’Or Award (Best European Comedy Series)
2004 THE RING THING (written by, creative producer)
Spoof comedy produced by Condor Films / Elevator, Switzerland
Most successful Swiss feature film of the year
2003 GOODBYE, LENIN! (co-writer, script consultant)
Period Comedy drama about the end of the Berlin Wall, produced by X Films
One of the highest-grossing German films in history. Nominated for Golden Globe (Best Foreign Film). Winner of: 2003 BAFTA (Best Foreign Film), 2003 Berlin Intl’ Film Festival (Blue Angel Award for Best European Film), 2003 European Film Award (6 awards incl. Best Film, Best Screenplay), 2003 German Film Award (9 awards incl. Best Film, Best Screenplay), 2003 Cesar Award (Best European Film), 2003 Goya Award (Best European Film)
2001 JULIETTA (screenplay)
Drama produced by teamWorx, Germany
Winner of 2001 Brooklyn Int’l Film Festival (Best Film)
2000 BROOKLYN BRIDGE (written by)
Short Film shot in Berlin and New York
Nominated for 2001 Max Ophuls Award (Best Short Film)
1998 ALL TOGETHER (story editor / head of story)
TV daily soap for RTL

Frankie Farrell
Production Sound
Adjunct Professor of Music
Music Technology
MMus University of California, Los Angeles
Recording Technology, Audio Processing

Ty Rust
Post-Production Sound
Adjunct Professor
Music Technology
Music Technology, Electronic Music Systems

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