TCU alumnus and director of photography Michael Grady has visited students in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media this week and will participate in a cinematography workshop Friday to end his visit.
Grady worked in cinematography for the movies “Easy A,” “Faster,” and “Notorious.” His next film will be “Friends with Benefits.”
Grady said he came to speak to TCU students because of the energy and the thirst for knowledge the TCU community has. He has talked about his experiences working in the film industry and what students can do if they want to be where he is after graduating.
“It’s a tough business and it’s mean,” Grady said. “You need to love it, and you need to really want to do it.”
Grady said the film industry can be challenging, but not impossible, for students to break into such a tough market.
“You can if you want,” he said. “Don’t think it is the most impenetrable wall ever. It seems it, but it’s not.”
After coming back last year for a football game, Grady said so many things at the university had changed.
“I missed my time here and I loved [TCU],” he said. “And the further I get from it, the more I appreciate it.”
FTDM instructor Greg Mansur said Grady was out in Los Angeles and heard about TCU winning the Rose Bowl, which made him think about his alma mater.
“He wanted to give back,” Mansur said. “It means a lot to us because we can bring him back and his expertise.”
Grady reviewed “Top Grad,” the reality TV show that the department is producing, and had really strong things to say about it, Mansur said.
“He’s also giving them confidence,” Mansur said. “It opens up doors for [students] because he’s telling them all about the industry from the inside.”
Emely Torres, a junior film-television-digital media major, said Grady’s discussion was conversational and engaging.
“It wasn’t like he was trying to give a lecture,” she said. “He was just talking about his job.”
Torres said she was able to gain an understanding of the film industry after hearing Grady speak to her directing class.
“Even though he told us everything he is doing and how successful he is, he wasn’t throwing it in our faces; he was really humble about it.”
She said she liked the fact that his style of teaching was completely different from the way a professor would lecture. Torres said she enjoyed his experiential way of teaching.
Grady graduated from TCU in 1992 and went on to graduate school at the University of North Texas. Grady also studied at New York University and later finished his education at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.
Grady said he learned about life and responsibility as an undergraduate of marketing and philosophy at TCU.
He said he did not know what he wanted to do with his life until his senior year of college when he started taking film classes. Grady said he took film introduction classes at TCU and a cinematography class.
Grady said although things have changed since he graduated, such as Radio-TV-Film moving to FTDM, he learned at TCU that film was what he wanted to do with his life.
“The first movie I ever made was right here on campus, in an apartment on Hulen,” Grady said.