Feb 072010

“House lights up!” proclaimed the silver-haired former lawyer who, with blue jeans, black T-shirt, black safari jacket and Nikes, looked oh-so Hollywood in an oh-so Chicago bastion, the Merchandise Mart.

As four understudies from the Second City comedy troupe entered the sound stage, they were trailed by film students climaxing three weeks of labor by taping a half-hour faux “Saturday Night Live.” It featured comedy sketches, droll pre-taped mock commercials and a live performance by Rhymefest, a hip hop artist.

The students get academic credit by handling sound, cameras, lights and the funny people, all with the help of professionals, and their polished handiwork, “Live at the Mart,” may soon be shown on NBC locally or nationally. It underscored the glitz, teamwork and market-driven pragmatism at the core of Chicago’s Flashpoint Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, one of the country’s most curious and disorienting educational institutions.

Imagine Pixar, Disney, Nintendo and Dreamworks all melded into a vocational setting. Started in 2007, this is a pricey ($25,000 a year) two-year school intended for those not motivated by high school, or brief college stays, but who are captivated by technology.

Read more . . .

  • NBC’s High School Complex (manolith.com)
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