Vitals: Producer, Teacher for
UTLA (UT's Semester in
Los Angeles Program)
B.A. English, 1991
MFA from Peter Stark Producer
Favoritte Senior Fellows Class:
"Symposium" with Rod Hart
By Kate Van Winkle, Public Relations (2012)
“The cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved. There are many copies. And they have a plan.”
Sci-Fi fans may recognize those words from one of this generation’s most notable television series, “Battlestar Gallactica.” Few, however, probably know that those words are the work of Senior Fellows alumnus Paul Leonard.
A 1991 graduate of The College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, Leonard holds both a B.S. in Radio-Television-Film and a B.A. in English, as well as an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producer Program. Today, he works as a freelance producer on the new SyFy channel series “Defiance.”
“I oversee all things post-production, including editing, visual effects, music, sound design, etc.,” says Leonard. “I just started on this show, but I’ve been handling this level of responsibility in post-production since 1996.”
Based in Los Angeles for more than 20 years, Leonard brings his industry expertise to the UTLA program, where he now teaches students about post-production and editing techniques in Los Angeles.
He says he developed his production skills working as the manager of Texas Student Television (TSTV) while he was an undergraduate. The critical thinking skills that helped him develop into a teacher, he says, he owes in part to his time in the Senior Fellows program.
“It helped me be more articulate in my arguments and be more comfortable expressing myself in a well educated room,” says Leonard.
During his impressive career in the industry, Leonard has watched the field of communications change from film to high-definition tape to file-based formats. He has seen the industry struggle to adjust to Web content and the budget implications inherent in its meteoric rise. “Visual-effects technology for television “has grown by leaps and bounds,” he says.
For students hoping to be part of the highly competitive communications industry, these changes can seem daunting. But Leonard offers simple advice to those about to graduate.
“Decide what you want to do or what field you’re interested in and be passionate about pursuing it. If you want to write, direct, or produce videos and/or feature films, then just start doing it and quit making excuses,” says Leonard.
“I saw an interview with Meryl Streep lately where she repeated her husband’s mantra, ‘start by starting.’”