Two thumbs up for Tulane

November 7, 2012 11:00 AM

Fran Simon

I have to admit being a bit star-struck on occasion. One of the highlights of my career at Tulane University was interviewing Kate Winslett, Jude Law and Sean Penn on the red carpet in front of McAlister Auditorium when All the King’s Men premiered on the uptown campus.


Well, I didn’t actually interview Penn. He wasn’t speaking to anyone. But nothing could beat hearing Law’s reply to my question about his favorite Southern phrase: “Hot damn!”

Budding thesps who want a career in film or television should take note that New Orleans is ready for its close-up as Hollywood South, largely due to tax credit incentives that continue to attract top-tier productions. In fact, Backstage has just given Tulane University a shout-out as one of “5 Top College Film Programs Outside of L.A.”

Backstage says that Tulane is one of five schools “that not only offer a solid performing arts education but also put students on the scene when it comes time to film next year’s blockbuster or indie hit.”

The publication also cites productions directed by visiting artists in which undergraduates can hone their skills; the annual Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, an Actors’ Equity company that offers an internship program for students (notable alumni include Bryan Batt and Anthony Jeselnik); and professional opportunities since Louisiana has become one of the most popular film and TV destinations over the last decade.

“While HBO’s 'Treme' is wrapping up its final season and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained finished shooting months ago, students on the ground in New Orleans still have the chance to find work in a variety of upcoming projects,” Backstage says.

Let me add that Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre provides students an opportunity to earn Actors’ Equity points while they perform in superb Broadway-style musicals.

Studying theater in New Orleans … what could beat that?! Except maybe a close encounter with Jude Law … or Johnny Depp?

Fran Simon is managing editor of New Wave.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu