UCLA Extension

Instructor Interview – Lori Balaban

Meet new Entertainment Studies instructor Lori Balaban! Lori will be teaching Directing Workshop I: Composition and Movement in Fall 2019. She is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced two features and written and directed web series and shorts, including Irrelevant White Girl, The Dogstalker, Die Un Ze Spat, and Property Vets. She also created branded content for A+E, The Today Show, The Walking Dead, and Ron Howard’s Rush.

We sat down with Lori and asked her 5 questions to get to know more about her and her course.

What about teaching for Entertainment Studies are you most looking forward to? 
I’m looking forward to helping students find their unique voice, and creative process, so they can go out into the world and share their point of view. Each one of us is unique – based on genetics and experiences – so the creative process is unique to the individual. I also learn from my students, as their experiences are diverse from my own.

What do you hope students get out of your course?
I hope they leave with the confidence in their knowledge and intuition, to go out there create – every shoot has multiple moving parts, so the best skill a student can leave with is confidence in themselves to work with what the perimeters are, and make the best piece they can.

What is one thing you want students to know before they walk into your class?
Come prepared to make mistakes, think outside of the box, and push yourself past where you think you can go. We’re not in class to get the right answer, we’re working towards finding new questions. 

What are you watching or listening to these days that you are enjoying?
Chernobyl, Fleabag, GOT, Black Mirror, Russian Doll, Ozark, Barry, ScriptNotes, KCRW The Business and Decode, Recode podcasts

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to break into your field?
Know who you are, and what you are trying to say. It doesn’t matter if you are a director, or a writer, or any other role – if you don’t know your identity or POV, neither will anyone else – and filmmaking is a team sport. Also rejection is part of the business, don’t let that discourage you, keep moving forward and you’ll find the people who get what you are trying to do.