Traveling Abroad for Research by Brendan Feltrup-Exum

Typically I would probably just copy some article or paste a link to something that has inspired me creatively and educationally, however as today is my first day back in the states from spending 2 weeks in the UK I thought I might just write some of my observations here.


Our school’s approach for art and theory has a wider approach from that which I visited in Leicester. However interestingly enough the school I visited approached their film and TV from a scientific standpoint so the idea of art was well removed and the courses were thought of as a technical approach. Most people who know me know I am a very technical guy, but I really do appreciate the artistic view and time to explore and play in creating art. I believe our program has the best of both world because there is so much of the art push and drive but also the technical educational approach. I do think we could do a bit better on the technical, mainly in terms of film production and the exploration of all facets: sound design, composing, color correction, VFX (visual effects), practical effects (my favorite including blowing stuff up), costume and makeup, DI (digital imaging), Post production workflow and pipelines, etc. There are so many areas that one can spend hours, days and a lifetime learning.

I had the opportunity of spending a day with Neil Robinson who had worked at ILM and other post houses across the work working on movies like Star Wars Prequels and Avatar. In the short time I got to work with him I learned numerous things that I had not even considered. He discussed aspects of technical workflows and pipelines used in the VFX world, techniques on how to get a better end product, the market shifts in what educational tactics are in demand at the moment, and even the oddities of health and well being while working in this industry.

Another specialist I had the pleasure of working with was Pip Greasly, who is an international composer and sound designer. He works primarily in full surround experiences and what is considered full dome experiences like those in planetariums. In one sitting alone he broke down his personal beliefs about sound and how it tells the story and is inherently tied to the picture. His research is based on that of Walter Murch who he as personally had the opportunity to meet with and discuss his ideas with. I was even invited to a meeting between the two in April of this year (which I will most likely not be able to attend). However he also provided me with several copies of his own personal notes and documents from his meetings with Mr Murch which are not published documents to help expand my own visions of sound and composing for films.

I met with game designers to discuss my implementation of the Oculus Rift into video production and the concepts of thesis research which include social media’s impact upon our lifestyles. I gained new insight into the potential of the project and with further research which I am sure will lead me down a path even way after graduation will develop some interesting ideas on how to approach creative ways of interfacing people with new media.


Without writing an entire novel about my experiences, I will cap this off by mentioning that in some of the spare time that I had while visiting I had the opportunity to explore many of the museums and historical landmarks all across Scotland, Leicester and London. Seeing the art up close and personally realigned my views on being an artist and how the production of my work is carried out.


About utagtateaching

This blog is dedicated to providing resources to the Graduate Teaching Assistants in the UTA MFA program pertaining to teaching strategies, methods, and materials. We aim to start a public discussion that serves to enhance the classroom experience for both teacher and student.


  1. I am happy for you Brenden! I hope you have come back energized and ready to end your collegiate career on a high note!

    Gabe D!


  2. Well I don’t really understand all of that film and video language, but it sounds like you had a great time and learned a lot. I agree with the last statement that you made, that it is way better to see the work up close and personal. I’m very excited to take my last art history credit in Italy, its so much easier to understand the impact of the work by seeing it in person than reading about it in a book. I would love to see pictures from your trip!!



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