Feature Film Buzz: Motion Picture Institute Grad in the News

Tom Zambreck and Joshua Wagner were students in MPI’s second graduating class.  During their time in the filmmaking program, they found collaborators in each other and set off on a filmmaking journey that has landed them in Hollywood. Their upcoming feature, Turning Point, is in post production and already generating buzz in the news.

Film School, filmmaking - DJ-Qualls-Lydia-Hearst-To-Star-In-8216Turning-Point8217-Connor-Paolo-Jonathan-Bennett-Topline-8216Fire-Island8217-8211-Film-Briefs

The film has an all-star cast, with DJ Qualls (Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, Syfy’s Z Nation), Lydia Hearst (Z Nation, The Haunting of Sharon Tate), Sanchita Malik (Do Better, Happy Anniversary), and Shane Brady (Ballers, Doctor Sleep). We sat down to talk with this dynamic duo to learn more about their career path, how they define success and the method behind their new film, which was shot during the pandemic.

Tom and Josh are dreamers with street smarts and a strong desire to make films. While at Motion Picture Institute, they were able to test their creative limits, learn the basics and got their first taste of life on set. In addition to learning the ropes, the next best part of the experience
was networking. Tom and Josh met each other and have been working on projects since film school.

Having a strong network really helps in this business, and while it's not easy, you can build one that works for you. Tom and Josh talk about how they have built their careers by proving what they can do, taking what they can get and then building on that experience and reaching for more. They advise anyone starting out to prioritize relationships, even when you’re in film school. You never know where your classmates
will be tomorrow and what doors they could open for you.

Tom and Josh admit that the industry is competitive and you do hear a lot of ‘no’s.’ That shouldn’t discourage you though. The important thing is to have as many leads as possible and to keep going. Eventually, something will work out and it's up to you to prove yourself. Challenges come up all the time, whether you are on set or planning your next move. Their biggest challenge of late has been the pandemic, but that didn’t
stop Tom and Josh from creating. Afterall, they did film Turning Point during the pandemic, which says a lot about their grit and determination. It’s stories like this that make us proud to have launched the careers of so many talented filmmakers.

Interested in following Tom and Josh’s lead?  Come to our next Open House. Limited seats are available for the September start so be sure to register now and save your spot.

The Newest Member to the A-Team at MPI

We’ve steadily built the A-team over the years at MPI. From a former Columbia Pictures Executive to the world's largest independent producer of professional sound effects libraries, our staff is full of working industry professionals who...

From Film School to Netflix

Michael Turner has moved fast, from graduating film school at Motion Picture Institute to now working at Netflix. That’s a path that you can take, too. The filmmaking program that Michael graduated from is only one year long. Plus, you learn...

Get Your Film Screened (Thanks to MPI)

We have aspiring filmmakers come through our doors at the start of each semester. They don’t stay aspiring for long because we put them to work on set from day one. By the end of the term, they have completed a non-dialogue film as their first...

Tricks of the Trade: Stunt Work in Class at MPI

In the film business, there are a lot of tricks to the trade that help to move a story along. We all know that actors are the backbone to the storytelling process, but there are times when actors need to switch with a stunt double in order to...

On-set Training Is the Foundation of Filmmaking

Filmmaking is an art that takes training to master. You have to understand the tools and techniques that are deployed in the industry to make the script come to life on screen. This takes time and dedication because you have to find your creative...

FYI FILMMAKING ISN'T DIY

A massive part of our industry exists ON SET. This is where you'll find protocol being practiced, this is where you learn from the pros, and this is where you build connections and test relationships.  Simply put, if you hope to work on...

Transferable Skills to Succeed On Set and Beyond

People with creative powers like MPI grad Allison Martin can succeed anywhere they choose to be. Their confidence stems from the film school education they have received and the practical experiences they have mastered on set.   In...

Talented Film School Alum with Local Roots

While there are plenty of film ‘idea’ makers to be found, the same can’t be said for people who can turn their vision into a real movie. To do that, you have to train and practice through building your technical skills. What better...

Actors, Get Ready to Land Your Next Role!

 Are you ready for your next call back? Prepared enough to be cast for anything? Before you get the part, you will need to audition for it. Auditions can make the sharpest of actors nervous, especially when the stakes are high. It doesn't...

Why Mentorship Matters for Future Filmmakers

Calvin Johns (left) pictured with mentor Scott Galeski From the beginning, Calvin Johns knew that he was creative. He started editing in middle school and quickly took to the craft. Fast forward to high school and he enrolled in his first...