Andrew Malkasian Q&A

By Cici Spaniel

Photo by Stella Ragas

Raised in Idaho and arriving at GFS by way of Kennett Consolidated School District, Andrew Malkasian has had quite the journey before arriving on campus this year, where he teaches filmmaking II and middle-school history. Over 25 years of film interest and 17 years of practical work, Malkasian hopes to bring a new perspective to the film department, where he steps in for JT Waldman.


What is the most important thing about learning film?

The modern audience knows more than they give themselves credit for. Trust your instincts a bit. That doesn't mean that you don't learn technique and practical skills, but you can rely on things you know are true. I mean, we’ve all watched many years of television and film, so we know the basic structures of what makes something look good, in terms of a frame. We also know how stories work— we’ve been telling stories since we’ve been able to talk, so we understand what a good story entails, and we can flesh it out from there, so that’s where skills and technical know-how come in handy.

What is your goal working in film personally?

I haven’t made anything for myself in years, but that doesn’t mean I haven't done things. Ultimately I just want to tell a compelling story. Because there’s so much content— there’s content made on TikTok every second, that isn't really worth our time. So what am I doing that makes someone go ‘oh, that was worth seven minutes.’

How was your previous school different or similar from GFS?

The obvious difference is that was a public school and this is a private school, and it was non-denominational. But I would say there are a lot of similarities in terms of community, and I think that's one of the biggest reasons why I was happy to be offered a job at GFS because I knew it had a strong sense of community, and I didn't want to go to any ordinary school.

What makes film a class you want to teach?

I think there’s something about learning a topic by teaching it.I know how to edit film, I've been doing it for a long time and I now have to articulate certain skill sets or methods of editing that I could just internalize and do myself. So I think you learn more when you teach. I think teaching can make you better.

What are you doing with your students in your film class?

We are learning a little bit about something called the rule of six, which is a very Hollywood, very specific way of editing which is you're editing based on six criteria, and those six have a graduated importance. The most important, is you edit based on a motion. Going down the list, you edit based on two-dimensionality. This is a three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface, how do you take that into account? We’re also looking at scenes, a deconstructed scene full of various shots and using the rule of six to put together a scene that is comprehensible using these rules.


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