Anne Lewis

Photo Credit: Connor Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

Although there are a number of directors who didn’t attend college, such as Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick, not all aspiring movie makers can simply pick up a camera and make it big.

As competition to write, direct and produce movies becomes more and more competitive, film schools across the country urge their students to gain real-world experience. 

Film students hunt for internships to gain practical experience in the field. When they perform various tasks, such as editing footage or handling equipment, students see how filmmakers handle pre-production and post-production work.  

Radio-television-film senior Lucas Doyle reads scripts, delivers packages and runs errands for his internship with production studio Arts + Labor. He said it’s crucial to work closely with people in the industry because they help guide students through the do’s and don’ts of filmmaking.

“You can work on your own stuff as much as possible or be on set as much as possible, but it’s always helpful to see how professionals do it,” Doyle said. “It’s important to know what’s ahead of you.”     

Anne Lewis, a senior radio-television-film lecturer and documentary filmmaker, said she learned to edit mainly by watching other editors work. She advised students to look into organizations, such as the Austin Film Society, that help students make useful
industry contacts.

She said students should apply for UTLA — a program in which students spend a semester attending classes in Los Angeles and interning for a number of production companies.

“Getting out in the field from the very beginning is very valuable for students,” Lewis said. “It’s exposure to how things actually function in the real world.”    

Radio-television-film senior Kelsey Duncan works as an assistant editor and production assistant at independent film production company Alpheus Media. She said her internship helped her learn editing software and make useful contacts with potential employers. She also said internships help film students who are not as technically skilled at using cameras or editing footage.

“There are a lot of people who come into college with experience,” Duncan said. “There are people who don’t have internships, but they know more than I could ever think about cameras and directing. For me, [interning] was a really great choice, and I’m glad I did it.”

Lewis said working for bigger companies doesn’t necessarily guarantee learning everything there is to know about film. She said large production companies look appealing and help students gain useful contacts, but independent studios offer students the  freedom to learn skills in various aspects of film, such as editing and cinematography.

“There are advantages to working for a small company,” Lewis said. “You probably get to do more than working for a large company, where you would be confined to one area.”

Doyle said he appreciates working at Arts + Labor and feels he’s receiving training for what he hopes to do for the rest of his career.

“It’s nice to see what’s actually going to be expected once you graduate and the day-to-day routine for the position I want,” Doyle said.

Radio-television-film senior lecturer Anne Lewis helped author a letter to President William Powers Jr. opposing Shared Services. The letter has been signed by more than 100 faculty member in order to halt the possibility of approximatley 500 jobs being eliminated in the centralization process.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

President William Powers Jr. received a letter signed by more than 100 faculty members opposing Shared Services on Tuesday. 

The letter — authored by radio-television-film senior lecturer Anne Lewis, English associate professor Mia Carter and law professor Julius Getman — petitions Powers to withdraw his endorsement of Shared Services, which he issued March 31.

Shared Services is a plan designed to save money by centralizing University human resources, information technology, procurement and finance services in various ways across campus. Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, has said approximately 500 jobs will be eliminated in the centralization process, primarily through attrition and retirement. 

Powers’ endorsement of the final report and findings of the Shared Services Steering Committee launched the first two pilot versions of the plan in the College of Education and the Office of the Provost. According to Mary Knight, associate vice president for financial affairs and member of the Shared Services Steering Committee, members of the committee have been meeting with the business officers of both departments to discuss the specifics of the pilot. 

According to Lewis, the letter from some faculty members is a more formal expression of an online petition opposing Shared Services with more than 1,000 signatures from students, faculty, staff and other members of the community. 

The letter focuses on various aspects of Shared Services, including the impact it could have on the support systems that exist between staff and faculty in a department. 

“A lot of [staff] have been at this university for a long time, and a lot of them have been in that department for a long time,” Lewis said. “They do multiple functions: They take care of each other, [and] they take care of us. It’s a creative function. We build these departments that way.”

Another concern listed in the letter is the involvement of Accenture, a consulting firm with a controversial history. The University has paid Accenture more than $4 million to assist in data collection and organization. Accenture also worked with the Committee on Business Productivity, the group that first recommended Shared Services. Two members of the Committee on Business Productivity and one member of the steering committee are former Accenture employees.

Communication between the administration and campus is another concern, according to Lewis. She said she questions whether the various meetings UT administrators had with the campus before pursuing implementation were genuine attempts to hear campus feedback. 

“Was the approach to campus really an attempt to have a discussion where Shared Services, or this approach to saving money, would be taken off the table and other options could be explored, or did it come to campus as a done deal with those town halls really being a PR effort to sell the campus on this?” Lewis said. “There are some things in the process that I could point to that lead me to the second.”

Knight said she is open to any conversations members of the faculty want to have about Shared Services.

“I hope most of campus is willing to give us a chance to show how it will work and how we really do want to engage the staff on campus and the faculty who will be using the services,” Knight said. 

Lewis said opposing Shared Services, regardless of whether she is completely against it, feels like the right thing to do. 

“I would hate to say that I’m totally against Shared Services,” Lewis said. “I’m not sure that’s even the point. It just feels like you’re kind of on a train that’s moving forward, and there’s very little that you can do to steer it without just standing in front of it.”

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Several hundred students, faculty and community members marched across campus in protest of the University’s Shared Services Plan, despite campus being closed for “winter weather” Friday.

The Shared Services Plan is a list of recommendations intended to save money by centralizing the University’s finance, human resources, procurement and information technology services. University officials predict that 500 jobs will be eliminated — primarily through natural attrition and retirement, according to officials — as a result of this centralization. 

The UT Save Our Community Coalition, a collection of student groups on campus including United Students Against Sweatshops, partnered with the Texas State Employees Union, the University Leadership Initiative and several other organizations to voice their concerns about UT’s partnership with management-consulting company Accenture for the implementation of the Shared Services Plan.

In 2006, the state outsourced the call centers for the state’s food stamps and Medicaid programs to Accenture in an effort to save money. The state terminated the contract in 2007 after issues with technical operations led to problems with benefit distribution.

Anne Lewis, senior radio-television-film lecturer and Texas State Employees Union Executive Board member, spoke at the protest about the importance of a community rallying together to preserve its ideals.

Lewis said a petition has been opened to UT faculty in opposition to the UT-Accenture plan. Lewis said between 400 and 500 signatures have been collected so far.

“I’m not sure if the petition will change anything,” Lewis said.

Plan II junior Bianca Hinz-Foley, spokeswoman for United Students Against Sweatshops, said around 300 people showed up to the protest, which was held on the eve of a two-day United Students Against Sweatshops national conference held in Austin. Hinz-Foley said her organization’s main goal is to convince the University to discontinue collaboration with Accenture.

“We’re calling on UT to cut ties with Accenture altogether,” Hinz-Foley said. “Accenture is the worst of the worst. It’s not that they’re inefficient, it’s that they’re fundamentally corrupt with their model.”

UTPD officers accompanied the protesters to ensure their safety and keep traffic unaffected, according to UTPD Capt. Gonzalo Gonzalez. Gonzalez said the protest was generally peaceful, but it did create a disturbance when protesters physically blocked the street traffic on Guadalupe, while dancing and chanting.

On Thursday, Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, responded to a resolution from Faculty Council asking for more information about the Shared Services Plan.

Hegarty agreed to add a non-administrative faculty member nominated by the Faculty Council Executive Committee to the Shared Services Steering Committee. He also included information about Accenture’s role in the plan.

Hegarty said Accenture worked with the Committee on Business Productivity, which recommended implementing Shared Services to the University. He said Accenture also played a role in gathering data for the steering committee to determine the potential success of implementing Shared Services at UT, a service that will be completed in February.

According to Hegarty, the combined cost of these services totals more than $4 million, but there is no current contract with Accenture for future services.

Miguel Ferguson, a Professor from the School of Social Work at UT along with fellow panel members Anne Lewis, Michelle Uche, and moderator Lucian Villasenor discuss their opposition to proposed cost raises and employee cutbacks cited in a privatization plan at the Union Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

Student groups and members of the Texas State Employees Union gathered in the Texas Union Building on Wednesday to voice their opposition to a plan by a committee working for President William Powers Jr.

The plan, released Jan. 29 and titled “Smarter Systems for a Greater UT,” proposes cost hikes on food, housing and other services, employee cutbacks and increased uses of assets like UT’s power plant, which it claims could create a combined $490 million for the University. Powers also spoke on the plan at the time of its release.

“We’re not at all convinced that the University is going to save money by this deal,” said Anne Lewis, radio-television-film senior lecturer and representative for the Texas State Employees Union.

Lewis said she is afraid that housing, food and parking will be privatized, a possibility that the committee raised in its report. Should they be privatized, Lewis said, employees would suffer and so would service.

“We really believe there’s some very big questions about the quality of service [for students] given the profit model operating in what is a nonprofit institution,” she said.

She said she believes the cutbacks could be self-defeating, as worker performance in areas like housing and food were affected by reduced pay.

Miguel Ferguson, a social work associate professor who also spoke at the event, said he believed the University can find the money it needs elsewhere in its budget.

“It doesn’t seem right that we can spend millions on a jumbotron and yet not have enough money to pay a decent wage and provide some decent benefits,” Ferguson said. “Our own interest is in having a healthy workforce here on campus ... it seems unconscionable that those are the very people we seek to burden and shift the cost on their backs.”

Michelle Uche, a student representative of the International Socialist Organization, questioned the benefit of raising prices on UT students. Uche pointed to proposed price hikes, like proposals to increase campus parking and food prices to market rates. The committee recommended a 5 percent per year increase for 10 years on food prices and a 7.5 percent per year increase for 15 years on parking prices.

“One issue that comes up frequently with students I talk to is that ‘The increases will be manageable,’” Uche said. “It’s going to be a big deal for people who are attending the University after us.”

Teri Adams and members of the Texas State Employees Union, who want full public funding for higher education, speak out against University-wide budget cuts during a protest in the West Mall Thursday.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

Members of the Texas State Employees Union rallied for full public funding of higher education at West Mall.

By holding the rally, members of the union hoped to gain members and add signatures to their petition aimed at convincing the state Legislature to cease further financial cuts to education, said Anne Lewis, UT senior lecturer and representative for the TSEU.

Lewis said the group is primarily concerned with stopping proposed tuition increases at the University. During the rally, participants said “stop the addiction to increased tuition,” expressing their opposition to any existing proposals.

The McCombs School of Business’ College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee has discussed propositions this month to increase tuition for residents by $160 each semester and slightly more than four times that amount for non-residents, news that Lewis said she found distressing.

She said the group also hopes to limit staff layoffs and cuts to faculty and staff health care.

“There’s a lot of optimism in our group, and as far as we’re concerned, everything can be reversed,” Lewis said. “Our large campus has so much responsibility — with 50,000 students and 12,000 to 14,000 employed.”

Founded in 1980, TSEU has succeeded in passing numerous grievances in the Legislature. In 2003, the union halted cuts in graduate student workers’ health benefits, a goal that Lewis said the TSEU was alone in fighting for.

After the rally, the TSEU held a discussion panel to clarify the immediate goals of the union with the rally attendees.

One of the speakers, assistant English professor Snehal Shingavi, said the way education is heading seems to be similar to the direction of giant corporations like Wal-Mart, with students as the commodity.

“Public education was meant to give opportunity to rise out of the lower classes,” Shingavi said. “Instead, it’s just a cash cow.”

UT alumnus Will Roger, a union member since 1983, said the state believed in investing in students when he attended college in the 1960s and the increases in tuition since then make no sense.

“Because of my education, I was able to get a decent job, raise a family, pay my taxes and generally repay the public investment that the state made in me,” Roger said.

Another main concern of the union was stated in their chant “they say privatize — we say unionize.” TSEU lead organizer Jim Branson said one of his main concerns is keeping education away from the private sector.

“It’s time that public universities 

Printed on Friday, October 14, 2011 as: State employees rally for higher tuition, staff layoffs