Tonight, I fly out to Michigan to give two guest lectures at my alma mater, University of Michigan. Over the years since my graduation, I’ve reconnected with my very first film prof, Hugh Cohen. It was 1988 when I first stumbled upon his class, The Art of Film F/V236, when looking for an elective to round out my schedule Freshman year. Well, it was nothing short of a revelation. I had always loved movies, and had this pent up desire to learn about how these magical illusions were crafted. Professor Cohen’s class was the first class to tap into that desire. Yes, like all young film students, I wanted to quickly grab the nearest camera and start making films immediately, but it was largely thanks to Prof Cohen and a Film department in its infancy that was responsible for fostering a keen eye for analysis and for making me write enough papers to finally be able to coherently express the theories and reactions that came from that analysis. I can honestly say that I still use, on a daily basis, everything they taught me while studying films there. From the film language and terminology that is a required basis for any clear discussion of a scene or sequence in films, to the context one gets from internalizing the different movements and key filmmakers throughout film history, I feel uniquely prepared to take on any scene, sequence, or film and figure out why it’s working or why it is not. It has also helped me, in tandem with my time as a professional, to help me look at my own work with a critical eye, while I refine and revise it, until it is as good as I can make it. And I have to thank Hugh Cohen and his class for setting on the right road to get to where I am now. That, and for keeping me out of any more calculus and physics classes…phew!