Tommy Britt Was the Founding Faculty Member for the Film Department at George Mason University

Posted by Monica Hoel
Being the first person to do something can be very exciting, but also a little daunting.

But when George Mason hired Tommy Britt in 2007 to be the first instructor in their brand-new film department they knew what they were doing because the program, which began with just a handful of students, has grown by leaps and bounds. Until 2010 he was the sole instructor of courses in Film and Video Studies, a program supported by other faculty and courses from across the University. Now the department has hundreds of students and a dozen faculty members. From the accessibility of technology to film distribution, many things have changed in 13 years but Tommy has remained enthusiastic and committed to his students through it all.

Tommy is published widely and has won numerous prizes for his work, but he brings all those experiences back to the classroom. In fact, hearing him talk about his experiences and honors makes it clear that that he immerses himself in screenwriting competitions and conferences for the sole reason of better understanding what his students will face in the real world as they strive to succeed. Tommy writes prize-winning screenplays, but says having a film made is not his goal. He enjoys the process of teaching and giving his students an edge. The writing gives him greater insight to what competitions and film producers are looking for and therefore enhances his ability to help those in his classes.

Tommy is also well-known for his writing about television, film, and music. In fact, he has recently had chapters published in more than one book, including a brand-new publication called The Routledge History of Death Since 1800. His chapter is on the history of death in film.

True to form, even these writing experiences have led to more opportunities for his students, and he is now teaching a class on writing for television.

You can hear a conversation with Tommy in the WEHC-FM archives. And he has agreed to do an engagement event for E&H’s “Increase Your Excellence” series in December! Watch for details.

  • Tommy Britt,  Emory & Henry Class of 2002

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