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Legendary Screenwriter Norman Steinberg Visits Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - March 3, 2016

The man who wrote “Blazing Saddles” “Johnny Dangerously” “My Favorite Year” and executive produced the Cosby Show and many others visits Loyola’s newly launched digital filmmaking program.

The man who wrote “Blazing Saddles,” “Johnny Dangerously,” “My Favorite Year,” and other films visits Loyola University New Orleans’ newly established digital filmmaking program on Friday. Norman Steinberg is the writer of five television series, the Academy Award program and a dozen major features. The veteran film and TV writer is also the founder of Long Island University’s new TV Writer’s Studio MFA Program.

Steinberg visits Loyola digital filmmaking students from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday, March 4. The talk takes place in Miller Hall, Room 114 on Loyola’s main campus, 6363 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. The event is free and open to the public.

“Norman Steinberg is s screenwriter who actually deserves the term ‘legendary’,” said Grammy-nominated director Jim Gabour, who founded and directs Loyola’s digital filmmaking program. “He has operated on the highest levels of the film and television industries, and continues to do so.”

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Steinberg headed to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, then practiced copyright law in Manhattan with plans of going into entertainment law. He received a lucky break when he met director Mel Brooks, who gave Steinberg a chance to draft a script for “Get Smart,” a popular television show in the 60s and 70s. While his script never came to fruition, Steinberg was encouraged. He left his legal career and began writing as much as possible, turning out work for a series of publications and television shows.

Steinberg has won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing - Variety Series and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Comedy. He has also been nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay. Steinberg has scripted five television series, written scripts for the Academy Award program, and penned a dozen major features. He has worked with numerous entertainment legends, including: Bill Cosby, Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson and his mentor, Mel Brooks, with whom he wrote “Blazing Saddles.”

In the television arena, Steinberg has served as writer, creator, showrunner and executive producer, leaving his mark on such programs as “Cosby,” “When Things Were Rotten,” “Doctor, Doctor,” “Showtime's Paradise,” and “Chemistry”, a 2011 Cinemax series. He is currently writing the book for a Broadway musical based on his film “Johnny Dangerously.”

Aiming to share his gifts and inspire others, Steinberg created the “TV Writers Studio,” a master of fine arts program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, where he now teaches.

On Friday, he will visit Loyola University New Orleans Loyola’s digital filmmaking program, which launched in September and is one of the top three most popular majors among first-year students. Six years in the making, the digital filmmaking degree program at Loyola started with nearly double the expected enrollment―and is swiftly expanding.

“It’s a professional degree and a practical degree,” Gabour said. “Everyone on our staff is a working professional and the whole degree is designed as much for the practicality as for the art. We want our students to graduate from this program and be able to make a living at something they love.”

Loyola digital filmmaking students are offered 18 hours of full business courses, including: management, marketing, accounting, and in-depth legal studies. With the help of local unions, Loyola is developing programs that cover all of the crafts needed on a professional crew, including gaffer, grip, camera crew and art production positions.

“The Loyola digital filmmaking program is designed to familiarize graduates with all ends of the film business,” Gabour said, noting that Loyola’s digital filmmaking program stands apart as one of the four or five film programs in the country that demand substantial business coursework.

Loyola students also work on cutting-edge equipment, including 10 brand-new state-of-the-art- digital filmmaking cameras, made by Canon, and acquired by the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Located in Hollywood South, they also have a chance to work on local sets and gain professional experience.

Seventeen Loyola students worked on the shooting of the Terrence Blanchard “Flow: Living in the Stream of Music” DVD and all received a credit for having participated in the making of the film, Gabour said. Those students are also able to say that they participated in the making of a Grammy-nominated show.

Past students have gained hands-on experience working on Grammy-nominated and worldwide No. 1 DVD productions of a Norah Jones performance that became a multi-platinum record; have worked with DreamWorks on a live performance by hip-hop group Floetry; and been crew members for the DVD production of legendary group Spinal Tap’s 25th anniversary concert tour.

Thirty-seven Loyola students also performed as paid extras in two separate episodes of HBO’s Treme, under the direction of star actor/director Tim Robbins.

Actor/director/ composer Harry Shearer (“The Simpsons”) serves as the program’s Artist-in-Residence.

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