Four years ago, Martin McGreevy graduated from the University of Idaho with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree and a minor in film. He had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do.Now, McGreevy is teaching a four-week course at UI and sharing his experiences working in the film industry in New York with film students. McGreevy said it feels great to be back in Idaho.
“Being back in Idaho with people who — I was sitting in their seats four years ago and wondering, you know, what I was going to do with my life and what was going to happen next — and being able to come back … and let people know that having an education from UI, it really, especially the way I went through the school, affords you the chance to really do whatever you want wherever you want. Especially since I graduated school with no debt,” McGreevy said.
McGreevy said he loves seeing the passion for film he finds among film students at UI.
“One thing that’s just been really fun is to feel the passion of people here for film and for their excitement about, you know, making their own films,” McGreevy said.
McGreevy first started work in the industry as an intern for Protozoa Pictures — the film company founded by “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky. McGreevy currently works as the office manager for the New York branch of LOOK Effects, a company that produces visual effects for film, television and venue projects. LOOK often collaborates with Protozoa, as with their recent film “Noah.”
McGreevy has been involved in several films, including “Step Up 3D,” “Black Swan,” “The Wrestler” and the upcoming “Noah.” He said he has been more of an observer when it comes to his involvement in films, but that such observation has made for great experiences.
“So, it’s been a really … great perch to sit and learn from because you get to see not only the production side of things and watching Darren’s company, from sort of the sidelines, creating their films,” McGreevy said. “And then also getting a chance to see the visual effects side of things and getting to go on set to different movies and to see how different directors work and to see how the visual effects artists create these unbelievable effects from thin air with their software.”
McGreevy said he is seeking to become a director himself. He said he has plans to work on a short film this summer here in Idaho.
McGreevy credited his ability to break into the film industry to the university and especially to his many professors, including Journalism and Mass Media professor and adviser Denise Bennett.
“It’s people like Denise who not only were fantastic professors while I was at school there, but what she does better than anybody at the school is prepare you for what it’s really like in the industry, and I think that can’t be overstated,” McGreevy said.
Bennett said she is proud of all her students who have managed to work hard and get into the industry.
“Sometimes it’s very daunting and it takes a lot of perseverance to succeed,” Bennett said. “So, I’m proud of them.”
Bennett said it is fantastic that McGreevy has returned to teach the class.
“I think it’s really generous for him to come back and share his experiences, because he had to sublet his apartment in New York City (and) he is giving up a month of his time to teach the class,” Bennett said. “And so, it’s that generosity of the Vandal alum spirit, which is really cool.”
McGreevy said students should take advantage of everything UI offers.
“Never assume that your experience at the U of I should only be confined to what your major is,” McGreevy said. “Even if, like, you can’t swing it and you have too many credits already or something, go audit the classes, go sit in on it. It’s just, like that what’s the whole thing about learning is and as long as you really focus in on what you’re most interested in and curious about and you go take those courses, the rest seems to me, at least in my experience, to take care of itself and it sort of flows from there.”
Andrew Jenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org