Alanna LeBlanc has been obsessed with films and scripted television shows for as long as she can remember. Now that she has become the first University of West Georgia student to graduate with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) in Film, LeBlanc’s obsession can now become her career.
The degree offers UWG students an opportunity to engage with and integrate knowledge and techniques of multiple creative and technical fields in the intellectual and professional endeavor of film. Students develop degree plans, including at least two film-related disciplines such as critical studies, screenwriting, art and lens-based media, production design, performance and production.
As a child, LeBlanc’s fascination with film was broad, but she had one absolute favorite: 1993’s “Jurassic Park.”
“I would watch it everyday,” she said. “I would be terrified, but I was obsessed with Jeff Goldblum.”
As she came of age and prepared to enter the realm of higher education, LeBlanc decided to pursue a degree and subsequent career in photography, feeling the film industry was too far out of reach.
“I was doing photography commercially,” she said. “I took half of the senior pictures in my high school class. I thought I would make a career out of it. Although I really wanted to work in the film industry, it just seemed too difficult to break into.”
While working toward her bachelor’s, LeBlanc saw a flyer for the film pathway degree on campus. She quickly made an appointment with her adviser and changed the course of her education.
“I reworked everything so I could do it,” she said. “I was able to move my major to my minor and worked to make it happen from there. My adviser was so helpful and made it easy, and I was able to transfer credits and make adjustments simply. Almost immediately, I was on a path in life I hadn’t thought possible before.”
Through an association with the Georgia Film Academy (GFA), UWG students like LeBlanc can work in the film industry in various capacities while completing their degrees.
The GFA is a collaborative effort of the institutions of the University System of Georgia supporting workforce needs of the film and digital entertainment industries, ultimately striving to place students with union-covered film and television production craft internships and placement in film, television, and digital entertainment apprenticeships and jobs.
Since graduating in fall 2020, LeBlanc has worked for The Wesley Foundation at UWG – a Christian campus ministry sponsored by the United Methodist Church – and is currently in the GFA internship program, building her film career.
LeBlanc said her ideal next step in the film industry would be working as an art or general set production assistant. However, she is always optimistically and excitedly looking toward the next horizon.
“Long-term, I would really love to be a director of photography,” she said. “I also want to write and direct some of my own work professionally.”
LeBlanc has already written two dramatic short films and is currently working on a romantic drama feature film. She and some close friends recently produced one of her short films titled “Memorials,” which she has submitted to several film festivals.
While at UWG, one professor in particular was invaluable in helping LeBlanc discover, develop and enhance her screenwriting abilities.
“Dr. Kevin Casper made me a better writer,” she said. “His writing method is showing, not telling, and I try to integrate that into my storytelling, character development and action.”
To current or prospective students considering a similar path, LeBlanc said they should “go for it.”
“I would encourage students to figure out what they’re really passionate about and enjoy and think about how they can frame their education around that,” she said. “Be intentional in your life. A lot of times, people think their passions cannot be their careers, but you can do it.”