Full Sail University’s commitment to real-world education wouldn’t be complete without a real-world celebration of its successful graduates, and the university’s annual Hall of Fame week fits the bill.

Since 2009, Full Sail has inducted six graduates per year into its Hall of Fame, honoring their industry contributions and their commitment to continued involvement with students and faculty. Current Full Sail students can learn from Hall of Fame inductees by attending industry panels, workshops, and meet-and-greets throughout the week. 

To date, graduates from the university’s Film programs have made the inductee list every year for their work as directors, editors, cinematographers, writers, and more. Many film inductees have worked on blockbuster movies, award-winning films, and with major studios — like Devan Renea, a Film graduate who is being inducted this year into the 13th Hall of Fame class and is currently Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Post-Production Creative Services at Warner Bros. The hands-on learning in Full Sail’s Film programs, combined with the inductees’ dedication to mentorship, prepares students to make their way in the film industry after they graduate.

Full Sail University’s Film Programs

Full Sail’s Film programs are a perfect example of how the university’s classes mimic a workday in a student’s chosen industry. In the Film bachelor’s program, students experience each step in the filmmaking process: They write their own scripts and choose a story to film, plan out shot lists in pre-production, learn about technical skills like loading film and using dollies and sound equipment, and build sets for their movie. During film days, students each take on a different key role like Director or Production Designer or a crew role like Grip, Gaffer, and Camera Operator, then they use editing software to put their completed film together during post-production.

The online Digital Cinematography bachelor’s degree prepares students to become a jack-of-all-trades in video production and digital cinematography. Each student is provided with a professional camera package and a fully-loaded MacBook Pro with software for budgeting, scripting, and editing. Students find their own locations to film their individual projects and learn about scriptwriting, lighting, directing, post-production, and more during their online courses. By the time they graduate, students are ready to pursue entrepreneurial roles in the film industry.

Full Sail also offers a master’s degree in Film Production. Graduate students can earn their MFA while sharpening their existing moviemaking skills, working on formats ranging from feature films to web pilots to documentary shorts. They work on Full Sail’s campus and learn about scriptwriting, directing, visual storytelling, and business strategies that can help them bring their completed work to audiences. 

Additional programs like the Computer Animation bachelor’s and Creative Writing bachelor’s focus on the technical skills students need to work in animation or to develop scriptwriting skills.

Hall of Fame Film Grads

Over a dozen graduates from Full Sail’s Film programs have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years. These grads say that the school’s real-world classes helped them find their place in the film industry and succeed in the roles they sought out.

Graduate Larry Katz, who was inducted into the fifth Hall of Fame class, has worked as a Second Assistant Director (AD) on movies like **Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End**, **Dawn of the Planet of the Apes**, **Captain America: The First Avenger**, and **X-Men: First Class**. Larry was a movie buff who wasn’t sure how to turn his love for the medium into a career – until he came to Full Sail.

“I just didn’t know where I fit [in the film industry] before I came to Full Sail. I would see those 100 titles in the credits and I didn’t know what they were and I was open to learning about them. Full Sail pretty much answered the question of, ‘What are all of those roles?’ I knew what my strengths were, and as it turns out, [Second AD] really suits my strengths,” he says.

Larry enjoys being a Second AD because it’s an active role that touches every shot in a film.

“They can’t do one shot unless I’m standing there and I say, ‘Picture’s up.’ I decided to come to Full Sail in the first place [because I was a fan of movies]. Now the movies that I work on, they can’t do one frame unless I’m standing there watching, kind of like as a fan in that moment.”

Hall of Fame 12 inductee Stephanie Dawson, who is a producer on PBS’ **Great Performances** through WNET Group, says that Full Sail helped her see how individual roles on set work together towards a completed film. 

“I would say that the real-world setup of the school, making sure that we simulated what would really happen on a set, even in class, was a good way to prepare us,” Stephanie says. “Because film is very regimented, every role has specific responsibilities, and the way that they behave on set is very, very particular. It was good to have that exposure before stepping on a set, because I think in the outside world, it’s not very apparent how each individual role works and flows together and what the chain of command is and the process of communication.”

Both Larry and Stephanie say that their induction into Hall of Fame was a validation of their hard work and a satisfying way to mentor the next generation of Full Sail Film grads.

“[Being inducted into the Hall of Fame] was the best day of my life. I was just validated, so proud. I wouldn’t be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I’m just another crew guy on set. But to be recognized for things that I’ve accomplished, and even more so for being recognized for giving back to Full Sail students – it was just amazing,” Larry says.

“It was an honor to be recognized by the place that helped me really take that leap into my dream,” Stephanie recalls. “And then also talking to the students [and seeing] the way the students look at you. Being a grad is one thing, but being a Hall of Famer, that is yet another. I love talking to the students. And I feel like [Hall of Fame] made it even more accessible on both sides. Like I said in my speech, ‘I feel like being in the Hall of Fame is an honor, but it’s also a responsibility.’ And that became very clear when I was on campus.”