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Hollywood director finds new beginnings at CU Denver

JEWETT SHOWS STUDENTS THE BIG LEAGUES

From the assistant director who brought you 300: Rise of an Empire, CSI, and Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, comes a new hour-and-15-minute feature: class. One of CU Denver’s newest additions to the faculty is Eric Jewett. As a 40-year Hollywood veteran, Jewett brings professional experience and passion into his courses.

Photo: Sofia Shappell – CU Sentry

Telling few people, Jewett and his wife ducked out of Hollywood and moved to Boulder just months before the Fall semester was set to begin. “I saw an ad in Actor’s Guild that said CU Denver was looking for a new teacher,” Jewett said. “I was looking for something fun and creative, so I applied. Never in a million years did I think I would get it.” Had it been anywhere else, Jewett said he would’ve said no, but “comin’ to Colorado? Are you kidding me? Count me in,” Jewett said.

Eager to learn everything”

Although leaving the bright city lights and fame of Hollywood to come to CU Denver sounds daunting, Jewett has no regrets. “In Hollywood, if you mess up, you’re done. But here, this is the time to fail,” Jewett said. “And I encourage my students to fail. Once you mess up, we can sit down and talk about it and the next film or script will be better. It’s a fun and exciting time for me.” Going from working with CU Denver’s professional actors to working with new and amateur students at CU Denver is revitalizing for our new acting professor. “I have high expectations for my students, but I don’t expect them to know much,” Jewett said. “It’s refreshing to have a group who know nothing about Hollywood, but are eager to learn everything.”

The routine has changed significantly for Jewett. Instead of seeing the finished script and moving forward, he starts all the way in the beginning where the ideas are just coming to fruition. “I love seeing the beginnings of ideas,” Jewett said. “For me, it’s all about the process.” His student’s strive for the same end goal as the actors in Hollywood, yet start in different places in the race. Jewett’s students are “eager and excited, while being anxious to learn.” What they bring to the table may not be Oscar worthy, but with tweaking from Jewett, they could be well on their way. Bringing good ideas is an excellent start and it’s not an easy one at that.

In the brief period he’s been at CU Denver, Jewett’s started making big plans. He talks about how acting is such a personal and intimate skill, that one semester doesn’t give him the chance to teach everything he wants to. Ideally, he wishes for a four-year long program where he can follow his student’s success. “There are two things that make a bad actor: self-consciousness and not listening, and my overall goal is to get my students to overcome both. “It sounds simple, but it takes years to learn.” It’s a new chapter for students beginning their acting careers, as well as Jewett going back to where it all starts. “I’m here. I’m going to stay. And I’m having fun.”

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