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Texas State film program gets boost with soundstage, other facilities approved by Board of Regents

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | August 23, 2019

students with video cameras

The Texas State University System Board of Regents has approved a proposal to renovate the Aqua Sports Center at Texas State University in support of a BFA in Theatre with a film production concentration.  

The board approved the project during its quarterly meeting August 23 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. 

The project, which has an estimated cost of approximately $10 million, would remove the swimming pool and convert the building into a cutting-edge space for new course offerings in film, video, sound and associated technologies. 

"The idea for a film production concentration as part of our existing BFA in Theatre grew out of a handful of film courses offered as part of a more general degree and that introduced our students to an industry that has always been intertwined with the traditional theatre world," said Debbie Alley, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. "Our vision for a film program has always been uniquely different from programs at other universities because it offers students expansive opportunities in theatre and film, and because we are training students to step directly into the film industry after graduation."

The renovation would include construction of a soundstage with green screen, computer lab, recording/sound mix studio with an isolation booth, screening room and a seminar room. Theatre enrollment has increased 53 percent over the previous five years, and the new facilities would allow Texas State to meet the growing demand for the film concentration.  

"Popularity of the film classes have grown significantly in the last five years, which has allowed us to expand the range of course offerings," Alley said. "In addition to an introductory film production course required for most theatre majors, we now offer multiple courses in the areas of film directing, editing, lighting, art direction, production management and the business, as well as courses in web series production and film and television writing. We are in the process of developing courses in visual effects, sound design for film, virtual reality post production and independent film producing, as well as a series of courses focused on significant film auteurs."

 Tom Copeland, a Texas State graduate, retired faculty and former director of the Texas Film Commission, worked to establish the film concentration within the theatre program and for many years served as the sole instructor. Copeland understood first-hand that the film industry needed designers, lighting technicians and make-up artists as well as actors and directors to produce a film. He used that industry knowledge to help build a wide-ranging program at Texas State from the ground up.  

San Marcos is situated between Austin and San Antonio, two cities with vibrant independent film communities where film graduates are in demand. With the advent of digital streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ and Hulu, the global economic impact of film and entertainment is projected to rise from $1.72 trillion in 2015 to $2.14 trillion by the end of 2020. The demand for graduates with both creative and technical skills will continue to rise, and Texas State is uniquely situated to create a program that feeds both the curricular demands of students and the industry that will hire them.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises seven flagship institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University; Sul Ross State University; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922