Russ Galusha is a 2008 graduate of the UALR School of Mass Communication. He is an award-winning film and video editor, working in locations around the world, but he returns to Little Rock as often as possible.
1. When did you attend UALR? What was your program emphasis in the SMC?
I started UALR in the spring semester of 2003 and graduated in spring 2008. My degree was in radio, television and film (before the school of mass communication was created from the journalism and rtvf). with a minor in studio art.
2. Were you a “traditional student,” i.e., did you attend immediately after high school, or did you come to the university later in life?
I graduated high school in 2001 and immediately went to Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth. After a year and no real direction as to what I wanted to do, I decided to take the following year and work. After a half year of working menial jobs, I decided it was time to go back to school and I enrolled at UALR, taking nothing but basic core classes to find out a real direction.
3. What drew you to the School of Mass Communication (SMC)?
I think it was in 2004, I was invited by a very close friend to travel to Italy with his film class (a Texas Christian University (TCU) film class). They were shooting a short film with the DaVinci School in Rome. After shooting for a month over the summer it was an easy decision for me. I signed up for some RTVF classes.as well as some graphic design and animation classes.
4. What experiences during your time in the SMC led you toward your career in filmmaking?
I think a major experience involved the internship program. Because my brother Les Galusha, worked at one of the major commercial production houses in Little Rock, Jones Productions (now M3 Productions), and that Gary Jones (cinematographer/founder of Jones) is very good with helping out young filmmakers who are eager to learn, I was able to study at the front lines with some of the top creative minds in the state. Mark Giese, Amy Barnes and David Weekley all helped to put this in place because they know the best experience for a student of the craft is first-hand experience. They really made you put in the work so you wouldn’t look stupid. It really helped to “thicken my skin” in a very competitive market.
5. What was one of your more memorable experiences from your time at the SMC?
One of my more memorable experiences would be in Studio Production with David Weekley. We had to produce our own 30 minute show. This was quite a bit of fun just coming up with concepts and learning “live-to-tape” studio shoots.This helped to get me out of my editing box and forced me to do some on screen talent stuff which helped me to appreciate many different aspects of studio production. Also working on the Internship program with Jones Productions. As said before this gave me first-hand experience with true professionals.
6. Who was a faculty member in the SMC who made a strong impact on you and your career path?
The faculty member who made the most impact on me was Mark Giese. His no-nonsense way of teaching and openness to new ideas really helped push me. He understood that you can only learn so much from a classroom setting and forced us to work outside of school. He knew what it took to succeed in this field and if you were willing to put in the hours he was more than willing to help guide you to success. With his hard-nosed work ethic and criticism you really learned how to handle people in our industry.
7. What advice would you give to someone now attending the SMC that you wish someone had given you during your time at the college?
The best advice I can give someone is that class room work will only get you so far. To have a working knowledge of the field, talk to your professors and get in contact with someone who does this for a for a living. The most hands-on experience you can get will help you the most. Be pushy and take the initiative to talk to people and get the real-world work. Other wise you will be left behind. The professors at UALR all understand this and will try to guide you in the right direction.