Clancy Brown Fan Club Weblog

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Art of Cinema
at Urbana University's Grimes Center & Moore Center
April 1 & 2, 2005

Presented by actor Clancy Brown, sound editor Philip Stockton, and set designer Randy Wilkins

Philip Stockton, Clancy Brown, & Randy Wilkins

On April 1st, my husband Richard and I drove down to Urbana, Ohio to meet with friends, fans, and family, and attend Urbana University's "The Art of Cinema" lecture series being presented by Urbana native sons Clancy Brown, Randy Wilkins, and Philip Stockton. The program was presented by the Champaign County Bicentennial Arts & Culture Committee & Urbana University.

Clancy Brown signing autographs

On the evening of Friday, April 1st, Phil, Clancy, and Randy screened portions of Martin Scorsese's Academy Award winning movie, "The Aviator" (for which Philip Stockton was the Sound Editor.) The three gentlemen discussed the technical aspects of their trades and how each came into play within the scenes we were shown. A Question & Answer period followed. Audience members were later invited to stay and discuss the various aspects of the movie industry with the presenters, one on one. An autograph/photo session with audience members also followed the formal part of the evening.

Philip Stockton, Clancy Brown & Randy Wilkins

On Saturday, April 2nd, Randy, Phil, and Clancy each held individual sessions devoted exclusively to their individual crafts. Randy, who has designed sets for such feature films as "The Patriot", "Crimson Tide", "Pleasantville", "Meet the Fockers", "Gattica", and "Catch Me If You Can", as well as such television shows as "The Wonder Years", "Murder She Wrote", "NYPD Blue", and "Carnivale" (the WWI trenches), gave a fascinating lecture on set design and the tricks of the trade -- including forced perspective sets and how they recreate such real life places as a sixties era "To Tell The Truth" gameshow stage (for "Catch Me If You Can"), and the president's plane in "The Sum of All Fears".

Later in the morning, Philip Stockton, whose Sound Editor credits include "The Aviator", "Gangs of New York", "Angels in America", "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", "The Birdcage", "Goodfellas", "The Silence of the Lambs", and "The Age of Innocence", explained the intricacies of sound design. It was fascinating to find out that, even when there is apparent silence onscreen, there is actually ambiant sound going on in the background that the audience doesn't consciously realize. But if that sound were to not be present, it would completely jar the audience out of the moment. He also explained the huge advances in technology that have opened up opportunities for newcomers to experiment with film making without all the cumbersome and extraordinarily expensive equipment that would have been necessary only a decade or so ago.

Both gentlemen presented slides and movie clips to illustrate the points they were making, and fielded questions on a wide range of topics.

Clancy's mother Joyce Brown, Clancy, and Randy Wilkins

The afternoon session, "Acting for the Screen" was presented by Clancy Brown. He spent the session explaining how an actor takes his cues from the script, building his character from the evolving story there, and looking for the connecting elements and motivations that make the character who they are. He also discussed the economic forces that change the way movies and television series get made, and an insiders view of the audience's role in effecting change in our entertainment.

Clancy's mother, Joyce Brown, and the Champaign County Bicentennial Arts & Culture Committee she chairs were the driving forces in putting this lecture series together. It was a dream to many to finally get these three very successful Urbana native sons together to speak on the movie-making business, and Mrs. Brown's love and pride in her son's accomplishments, as well as Phil & Randy's, was readily apparent. Everyone enjoyed the weekend's lectures and seemed to get a lot out of them. So congratulations to Mrs. Brown and everyone in the Champaign County Bicentennial Arts& Culture Committee & Urbana University for putting together such a fascinating program.

Rich & Beth Blighton, and Clancy Brown

Many, many thanks to Clancy's parents, Joyce and Bud Brown, as well as Clancy, for the wonderful weekend. The Brown family's generosity and kindness is astounding, and both my husband and I cannot thank them enough for the amazing time we spent with them. The Brown family's continuing commitment to their community and to education is rare indeed and, without a doubt, most inspiring.

Thank you SO much!