July 22, 2024

How Do You Make Teen Comedies Today? Buy a High School.

“It was a fantastic idea for the kind of thing that we’re doing here, which is educating storytellers of the future,” said Michael Schoonmaker, the chairman of the television, radio and film department at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. “One of our advantages here in the frozen tundra of the snow capital city of the world, is that, you know, we’ve got them captive but also we’re pretty far away from everything. Jeremy’s program connects the two.”

Will Sacca, 24, first met Mr. Garelick in the spring of 2017 when the director came to his intro to screenwriting class and pitched American High directly to the students. Mr. Sacca became one of the first summer interns and was charged with reading and analyzing comedy scripts for what could be American High’s first features.

After graduation, Mr. Sacca returned to American High and worked in a variety of different departments: locations, production, accounting. He then became Mr. Garelick’s assistant before moving back into development, where now, as the head of the department, he manages a team of readers, including college interns who provide initial reaction to scripts.

“I’m really fortunate,” Mr. Sacca said. “If I was at any of the mini-majors in L.A. or one of the big studios, I would be, at best, an executive assistant.”

Ms. Rahman’s trajectory was similar. A recent graduate, she was living in New York City trying her hand at acting when she made a decision to return home to Syracuse. First she got a job as a background actor on American High’s second feature, “Banana Split.” That resulted in a move into the costume department, where she’s been ever since.

“We’ve got Syracuse University and this really great film school there and you would think that this kind of thing would have been done a long time ago,” she said. “It seems that people are just kind of realizing, ‘Oh wait, there’s a place to make movies here and it’s sustainable.’”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/21/business/media/american-high-teen-comedies-movies.html

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