Ledonne develops a Video Productions department at Adams State

(02-08-2012)

With the addition of Danny Ledonne to the Communications Department, a new program is blossoming at Adams State. Ledonne is developing a video productions program under the Mass Communication’s Journalism major.

The program has both extracurricular and academic components. Ledonne is establishing Grizzly Video and Productions, a YouTube channel that collaborates with other courses, such as theatre, art, music, and biology to make films. Students are also encouraged to explore their own personal media interests.

Academically, he is teaching three courses. Digital Filmmaking is a three-week summer intensive in which students make short films. The class ends with a large screening of all their work.

Video Practicum is a one to three-credit course in which students work independently developing and implementing a story idea. “Students at this age don't really need to be taught about basic storytelling concepts; by ages nineteen or twenty, they’ve already developed artistically. I’m here to help them share their culture and develop their work through media technology. We’re all just learning from each other through a new form of storytelling like we would learn from the Bible or Greek Mythology,” said Ledonne.

Music Video Production is a newly available course that started this spring semester; students pick an artist and design a video concept for a song. Through collaboration, they work to implement their ideas and expand on the musician’s art.

“More classes are soon to come, and I have many ideas for those, such as a class where people bring in their own video equipment from home, and I teach them how to better use it. People ask logistical questions about equipment they already own all the time,” said Ledonne.

His goal is to eventually create a major in Video Productions, although he is starting by developing a minor. Ledonne plans to offer a wider variety of courses and increase enrollment. When that happens, there will be larger investments in equipment so more people can take the classes. “Right now, nobody comes to Adams State to be a film major, but if they were able to, the film industry would grow here,” said Ledonne, who also serves on the Southern Colorado Film Commission.

The commission’s goal is to attract large film companies to make productions in Southern Colorado. Film production stimulates tourism, and the companies require food, housing, and the means to produce their films, which they purchase from the community.

“The Valley has such promising qualities that attract filmmakers, such as the diversity of terrain, the constant sunshine, the Alligator Farm, and the Railroads,” said Ledonne. The Commission aims to offer tax breaks so Colorado is more competitive compared to other Southwestern states. “Ultimately, my role will be to help students get jobs in the community. If films are made here, the local media will develop like the local agriculture,” said Ledonne.

Overall, Ledonne is excited to give back to his hometown of Alamosa. While completing his MFA in film/electronic media at American University, he gave back to the DC community by making video highlight reels of inner city football players and posting them online for college recruiters.

Now, he wants to give back to his home college and develop a monumental program. From volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club, teaching Tae Kwon Do, and filming the local community dance performances, Ledonne found his passion for teaching and his eagerness to give back to his community.

“Despite that most of the people I graduated with are now employed by the entertainment industry in LA and New York, I knew that wasn’t for me,” said Ledonne. He’s passionate about environmental filmmaking, as has been demonstrated by his work at NOAA and Tim Armstrong, an Adams State Biology professor, on Kenyan safaris.

Ledonne will be honoring the campus with a faculty lecture called “Adventures in Backpack Filmmaking” on February 15th at 7 PM. The general public is invited to join him in Porter 130.

In order to contact Ledonne, go to emberwildeproductions.com.