Category Archives: Ben Shedd


40th Anniversary of the Gossamer Condor’s human-powered airplane Kremer Prize flight

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Gossamer Condor’s human-powered airplane Kremer Prize flight, the first successful human-powered flight in human history, with a screening of THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR Academy Award winning Documentary Short Film at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Continuous screenings all day on the digital video wall on 23rd August 2017. It was nice to see old friends on the screen all day long.

MacWorld 1986 Article by Jeffery B. Young 
Photo by George Steinmetz

The first filmmaker featured in MacWorld magazine 1986

By 1986 I was using my then 2 year old Mac Classic to do word processing [with MacWrite], some graphics [with MacPaint], animations [with the brand new VideoWorks from MacroMind] and doing budgets [on the Multiplan spreadsheet software from Microsoft in 1985].  It was the budgeting software that sealed the deal for my first IMAX production job when I took a typed production budget and entered into the ever malleable spreadsheet to show several different production options with the funds available.  I recently found that spreadsheet budget analysis for the SEASONS film in my files and realized that I’d only had a working computer spreadsheet for a few months when I put it to use for that possible job.  It was the beginning of my spreadsheet way of thinking.

MacWorld 1986 Article by Jeffery B. Young    Photo by George Steinmetz

My collection of Macs, all the way back to Mac 1 in 1984. I've been getting new Mac almost on the Moore's Law schedule, with chip density doubling every 18 months while manufacturing costs stay flat.

My Mac Computer Museum from 1984 to now….

This is my collection of Macs, dating all the way back to the 1st Mac Classic in 1984–sitting on the left box behind the iPhone. It had 128K of RAM and a 400K Disk Drive. So much better than the IBM Selectric I bought in 1982 with 16K of memory.  I’ve been getting new Macs almost on the Moore’s Law schedule now that I look back at it, with chip density doubling every 18 months while manufacturing costs stay flat. My 2014 MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM and a 500GB Solid State HardDrive. And my first Mac and most recent MacBook Air each cost ~$2,500 … and that was also how much the IBM Selectric with the 16K of memory had cost.  Ah, keeping up with Moore’s Law. [There is a Newton in there somewhere, along with a couple of Portable Powerbooks and a Blue Bubble Mac and Clamshell Portable. And VideoWorks is running live on the Mac Classic screen. Thank you, Marc Canter and Jamie Fenton, for that demo copy in 1985. Suddenly things were moving, animated on the Mac screen, and everything has been moving ever since then.]

Ben Shedd Brief Bio Cover Sheet

Ben Shedd Teaching, Production & Research

Ben Shedd Teaching Production Research Click to Download 22.7MB file with Bio and many production and teaching pictures. It is a big file so please grab a latte while it downloads. This PDF tells many stories about my work all across teaching, production and research, and is filled with photos from through the years.

UFVA 2015 Conference at American University. First row, green plaid shirt, amongst many old and new friends and colleagues, teachers of film and video from throughout the USA.

UNIVERSITY FILM AND VIDEO ASSOCIATION/UFVA 2015 Annual Conference, American University, Washington DC

This is the group photo of Film and Video faculty from around the United States and a few, like me, from around the planet attending the 2015 UFVA/University FIlm and Video Association’s Annual Conference at the School of Communication at American University in Washington DC.  I am in the front row, middle, wearing a green plaid shirt.  It was very good to catch up with old acquaintances and meet some new colleagues at UFVA.

Ben Shedd First Movie Press Clipping in the Stockton Record Newspaper, 1954

60 years making movies!

[Click Here to see enlarged view of 1954 Stockton Record News Article.] 

As I mark my first year anniversary as Professor of Digital Filmmaking at the School  of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, 2014 was a year of several movie-making anniversaries for me.

1989 – 25 years since starting my EXPLODING THE FRAME research on developing a new cinematic language for giant immersive screens.

1979 – 35 years since receiving an Academy Award with Jacqueline Phillips Shedd for Best Documentary Short Subject for THE FLIGHT OF THE GOSSAMER CONDOR and beginning teaching at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

1974 – 40 years since Associate Producing the very first PBS NOVA science program WHERE DID THE COLORADO GO? and the NOVA series going on the air on PBS.

1964 – 50 years since high school graduation

1954 – 60 years since I started making movies

I am attaching my first movie press clipping for my first acting role in 1954 as Prince Valiant in KNIGHTS OF THE SQUARE TABLE movie, the first of seven fully costumed narrative films my father made each year with the neighbor kids where I played roles like Mountain Man Tom Fitzpatrick, Sheriff Wyatt Earp, and World War I fighter pilot Baron Von Richthofen.  These films are now in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Archive.

Also on the list are graduating with an MA Degree in Cinema from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and a BA Degree in Radio/Television/Film from San Francisco State University’s Department of Cinema and directing & producing 3 giant screen OMNIMAX films plus teaching cinema production and business at 7 universities, but they don’t have as good 5 and 10 year anniversary dates as the list above.

60 years in the movies and counting…

Selfie with Howard Prouty and Tom Oyers

Visiting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Library and Archive

While traveling in Southern California, I had the opportunity to visit the Margaret Herrick Academy Library in Beverly Hills CA where I got a fabulous tour from Archivist Howard Prouty and met Awards Coordinator Tom Oyers.  I’ve had a long-time email correspondence with these Academy colleagues and it was great to meet them both in person.  Howard has been working to create an Archive of my life-time of production files at the Academy Archives.  I am most appreciative of what Howard and the Academy are doing with 15 dozen boxes of files with details about making all of my movies through the decades, along with prints of most all of my films for the Academy Film Archives.  And it is Tom who makes it possible for me to continue as an active member of the Documentary Branch, no matter where I am living like in Singapore now, in screening documentaries every year for Academy Nomination consideration.

Selfie by Ben Shedd at the Academy library with Howard Prouty and Tom Oyers.

With Prof Norm Hollyns USC Cinematic Arts Head of Editing, Prof/Producer Bruce Block USC Cinematic Arts and Prof Francisco Menendez, Film Department Chair, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Norm is the past President of the University Film and Video  Association [UFVA] and Francisco is the incoming UFVA President.  Nice company to be keeping.

At the CILECT Conference in Southern California October 2014

I traveled to the CILECT Conference – Centre International de Liaison des Ecoloes de Cinema et de Television/The International Association of Film and Television Schools – representing the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University with the aim to become a CILECT member.  It was like a mini United Nations meeting with film and television faculty from over 60 nations gathering for the biannual CILECT Congress. Included were visits to the CILECT host Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and to my alma mater USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.  The theme of the CILECT Congress was PreVisualization with university faculty and industry filmmakers opening the world of digital movie making for all of us.  Among the CILECT keynote speakers was Chris Edwards, CEO of THE THIRD FLOOR and my old USC Cinematic Arts Colleague Professor and Producer Bruce Block.  Bruce’s key text THE VISUAL STORY: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, Television and Digital Media has widely expanded many key ideas that hundreds of us USC Cinema alums learned years back from Les Novros in his course Film Graphics.  I also met some of my colleagues here in Singapore from other Film Schools, including Senior Lecturer Charles Maideen from LaSalle College of the Arts Puttman School of Film.  An invigorating international week.

Photo Selfie by Ben Shedd at CILECT: With Prof Norman Hollyn, USC School of Cinematic Arts Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Editing, Prof/Feature Film Producer Bruce Block, USC School of Cinematic Arts Eisenstein Chair in Cinematic Arts, and Prof Francisco Menendez, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Film Department Chair. Norman is the out-going President of the University Film and Video Association [UFVA] and Francisco is the in-coming UFVA President. Good company to be keeping…..

Seeing former Students from the 1980s - now Film Department Chairs - Francisco Menendez [Cal Arts] and Will Akers [USC Cinema].

UNIVERSITY FILM AND VIDEO ASSOCIATION/UFVA 2014 Annual Conference, Bozeman Montana

I presented a talk and visual tour about the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore on International Panel: An International Community of Practice: Media Curricula Around the Globe. I also presented a talk on NOVA and Natural History Documentaries: Forty Years On for the panel: Tales from the Niche: Teaching Natural History Filmmaking in the “Unnatural” Curriculum. 3rd Panel Discussant for Documentary Panel: Finding Our Way In, Getting the Word Out: Part 2.
I was delighted to see two former students at the UFVA Conference from my classes in the 1980s at USC School of Cinematic Arts and the California Institute of the Arts: Profs Francisco Menendez, now Chair of the Film Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [and incoming President of the UFVA] and William M. Akers, Chair of Motion Pictures, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee [and author of “Your Screenplay Sucks: 100 Ways to Make It Great” – the title says it all]. This mini reunion was a surprise and really great.  So nice to see you guys!
Selfie by Ben Shedd with Francisco and Will