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    Bay Area Writer Daniel Clowes Talks 'Wilson'

    WILSON

    (L-R): Woody Harrelson, Director Craig Johnson and Writer Daniel Clowes on the set of Wilson. Photo by Wilson Webb. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

    When life hands you lemons, sometimes the lemonade turns out sour. In Wilson, a film adapted from comic book writer Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name, the titular character (played by Woody Harrelson) brushes through his days sowing the seeds of his cynicism. After his father dies and his only friend moves away, Wilson faces a rude awakening when he realizes how lonely he truly is and seeks to fill the hole his own grouchy tendencies dug for himself.

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    Take a Trip To 'Almost, Maine,' With School of Acting Grad Students

    “There is nothing like taking the audience on a journey,” said Amanda Casarella, a final-semester M.F.A. acting student cast in the School of Acting’s graduate performance of Almost, Maine. “The willingness of the audience to jump into the story with you is palpable to the actors on stage. You don’t get that immediate response when you’re working in front of a camera.”

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    School of Acting Hosts San Francisco URTAs

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    Executive Director of the School of Acting Diane Baker (center) with Rachel Friedman (left) and Scott Steele (right) of the University Resident Theatre Association. Photo courtesy of Diane Baker.

    Each winter, the University Resident Theatre Association holds a series of auditions and interviews for prospective M.F.A. candidates. Known as the URTAs, the events are held in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. This year, Academy of Art University’s School of Acting hosted the San Francisco URTAs. The event took place Feb. 4–5 and provided some 150 aspiring actors with the opportunity to audition for dozens of recruiters from 39 URTA member universities and other prominent institutions.

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    Podcast Course Now Part of the Academy's Liberal Arts Curriculum

    COM-150 will introduce students to the “fastest growing form of audience entertainment in the world”

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    School of Communications & Media Technologies instructor and Urban Knights Radio General Manager Matty Staudt. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The popularity of podcasts continues to soar. According to Edison Research, some 35 million people listened to a weekly podcast in 2016, and members of this group downloaded an average of five podcasts per week. Academy of Art University recently added COM-150—a beginning podcasting class—to its liberal arts curriculum. Previously, the course was offered mainly to School of Communications & Media Technologies (COM) students who had to meet certain prerequisites before enrolling in the course.

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    Photography Major Wins 'Academy Idol' Singing Competition

    Akayna Calkins impressed judges, the studio audience and live-stream viewers with her rendition of “Hold Back the River”

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    Academy Idol judges and audience look on as winner Akayna Calkins performs during the series finale. Photo by Bob Toy.

    It’s not every day a photography student goes to college and rekindles a love for music. But that’s exactly what Akayna Calkins did during her very first semester at the Academy of Art University.

    When Calkins found out about the Academy’s reality singing competition Academy Idol from a friend, she mustered up the courage and gave it a try. Six weeks later, she walked off the live studio set a winner, defeating the 11 other contestants, and taking home the grand prize—a trip to audition at any singing competition in the country.

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    Animation Instructors' Short Film Earns Oscar Nomination

    Co-director Andrew Coats and co-writer Mark Harris made Borrowed Time during their spare time at Pixar

    A little over a year ago, Andrew Coats screened his animated short film, Borrowed Time, for a private audience at Pixar. John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Jim Morris were all there.

    “That remains the most stressful/scary screening I have ever had in my life,” said Coats, an animator at Pixar and instructor at Academy of Art University, who directed the film with his friend and coworker Lou Hamou-Lhadj. “Pixar is probably filled with the toughest critics we know. So the outpouring of support we got was amazing. John [Lasseter] even came up after and gave us big hugs. It meant a lot to hear him tell us how much he liked the film and how proud he was of our accomplishment in finishing it. I will remember that for the rest of my life!”

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