Motion Picture Institute's Faculty & Staff - Working industry professionals who know the practices and tools of the trades.

They bring their experiences and skills into the class to teach our students how to succeed. Motion Picture Institute is a school designed by Filmmakers, for Filmmakers.

Motion Picture Institute Instructors

Douglas Schulze

Instructor Film Directing
(MPI Co-Founder / CEO / Film Director)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Doug1

Award winning filmmaker and Motion Picture Institute CEO & Co-Founder Douglas Schulze brings three decades of film industry experience to the classroom.  Schulze built MPI with CoFounder Kurt Mayry with the belief that filmmaking is an art form best learned on set; not in a classroom.   Since the late 90’s Schulze has mentored hundreds of filmmaking success stories from Todd Miller who went on to produce Apollo 11 that played Sundance (aired on CNN) to Zak Bagans who went on to create the hit Ghost Adventures cable show.  Outside the classroom Schulze writes and directs independent films. His work has aired on the nation’s largest pay cable networks such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtimes, STARZ. His films have been distributed by Lionsgate, eOne Entertainment and played notable festivals such as Fantasia and L’Etrange in Paris, France. Schulze has worked alongside Academy Award Winners like Chris Walas and former ASC President Michael Goi (American Horror Story). Schulze has directed notable actors such as David Carradine, John Saxon, Dee Wallace, Lance Henriksen, Veronica Cartwright, Sid Haig to name a few.  Doug holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Cinematic Arts.

Contact email: doug@motionpicture.edu

Kurt Eli Mayry

Instructor Production Lab
(MPI Co-Founder / CFO / Producer / Writer)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Kurt_Mayry_Faculty_Pic_Kurt is co-founder of Motion Picture Institute and a graduate of the University of Michigan with BBA in Business Administration. He produced the 1993 feature film Hellmaster, the 2004 film Dark Heaven, the 2011 film Dark Fields, the 2012 Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead, the 4th season of the Chiller Drive-In television show in 2010, the 2013 The Dogs’ Fighter documentary, the 2015 The Dark Below, and he is currently working on the sequel Mimesis 2 featuring Kristi Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and reality television pilot based on the Chiller Drive-In show entitled The Monster Show. Kurt has worked in the film industry for over thirty years starting out in the commercial production industry working for companies like Victor Duncan in the mid-80s and working on independent films. Kurt is former president of the Ohio-Michigan Association of Career Colleges and Schools and a board member of the DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television).

Contact email: kurtm@motionpicture.edu

Kathryn J. McDermott

Director of Career Services /  Instructor - Preproduction, The Film Business and Capstone Thesis Production
(Producer / UPM / formerly VP Production - Columbia Pictures)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Kathryn_McDermott_smKathryn has worked in feature film production for over 27 years in Los Angeles. From 1995 to 2005 she worked as Vice President of Production Administration at Columbia Pictures overseeing the productions of Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2, Memoirs of a Geisha, Fun with Dick & Jane, Closer, Hitch, & Spiderman 1 & 2 just to name a few.  Prior to that she has worked as Production Manager on Striking Distance (starring Bruce Willis), assistant to the producer on Last of the Mohicans, A League of Their Own, Only the Lonely, Career Opportunities and was associate producer on First Knight (starring Richard Gere and Sean Connery) and My Life (starring Nicole Kidman and Michael Keaton.)

Contact email: kathryn@motionpicture.edu

Ric Viers

Instructor - Production Lab Sound Dept, Motion Picture Sound
(Location Sound Mixer / Author of The Location Sound Bible)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - RicViersHeadshot(1)Ric is producer, international author, sound designer and world's largest independent producer of professional sound effects libraries.  He is the author of the Location Sound Effects Bible, The Location Sound Bible and Make Some Noise.  He is the founder of Blastwave FX one of the world's leading sound effects publishers. Known as the "Rock and Roll Professor of Sound" Ric was inducted into the Full Sail University Hall of Fame in 2014.  He has hosted several video series like Rode University, Crash Course in Location Sound and most notably The Detroit Chop Shop Video Diaries - a reality series about the interns at this studio.  His career focuses heavily on giving back to the next generation of filmmakers and sound designers.  His sound work continues to be used in major motion pictures, television shows, radio programs and video games worldwide.

Contact Email: ric.viers@motionpicture.edu

Marc Prey

Instructor for Screenwriting 

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - db269955-99ba-4b96-947a-4a338f731e59%5B1%5DMarc Prey is a professional screenwriter, playwright and author of both fiction and nonfiction. His dozen-plus film credits include such diverse fare as the family film “Mail Order Monster” (2018), adult comedy “The Sex Trip” (2017) and suspense thriller “Paid in Full” (2016). He has sold scripts to Hallmark,  Lifetime and Pixl and been hired to write for Academy Award-winning producer Mark Harris ("Crash") and Emmy Award-winning producer Sergio Guerrero.  His nonfiction humor memoir on life as a husband and father, “When It Comes to Spooning, I’m a Fork,” was an Amazon best-seller, and his romantic comedy stage play, “Lifeboat,” has been performed in front of both U.S. and international audiences. Marc has also created and scripted a short-form digital web series and served as the screenwriting representative on his home state’s film council. Prior to forging a career in the arts, Marc was a journalist, lawyer and entrepreneur. He is married and the father of two boys.

Contact Email: marc.prey@motionpicture.edu

Robert Skates

Instructor Cinematography 1, 2 & Production Lab

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Robert_SkatesRob brings over 26 years of production experience as both a camera operator and cinematographer.  His cinematography credits include Rachael’s Attic, Cain’s Children, Dark Heaven, Dark Fields and numerous music videos and commercials. Rob has also been a camera assistant on a number of independent features including the films Narc (starring Jason Patrick) and Time Quest (starring Bruce Campbell) and camera operator on Mimesis.  Rob also works as a camera technician at Stratton Camera and is a freelance cinematographer for Two Penny Productions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wayne State University.

Contact email: rob@motionpicture.edu

Jeremy Schroeder

Instructor Production Lab, Lighting for Film, Commercial Production Techniques
(Film Lighting Technician, IATSE)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Jeremy_Schroeder_smJeremy has worked for 15 years as a film technician in New York city putting in 10 seasons on the television show Law & Order as Best Boy and Key Grip.  His other credits work as a key grip on the feature Enchanted (Disney), The Girlfriend Experience (dir. Steven Soderbergh), Possible Side Effects (dir. Tim Robbins), Then She Found Me (dir. Helen Hunt) and many other television shows. Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography and Cinematography from the prestigious Ithaca College Film School in New York.

Contact email: Jeremy@motionpicture.edu

Patrick Elliott

Instructor The Camera Team
(Camera Operator freelance)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Patrick_Elliott_CompPatrick for the last eight years has worked all over the Midwest as a professional cinematographer and camera operator. His clients include Ford Motor Company , Chrysler, Big Screen Entertainment, the band Srkillex and Eminem. He has traversed between many different types of productions from corporate commercials, music videos, television pilots, reality shows and independent feature films. Patrick is the owners of Diakonia Productions a graduate of the University of Michigan - Dearborn and a 2007 graduate of Motion Picture Institute.

Contact email: patrick@motionpicture.edu

Joshua Bowren

Instructor Film Editing,  Advanced Editing,  Intro to Visual Effects

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Joshua_BowrenJosh brings over 25 years of editing experience to the school. He works both at WXYZ Channel 7 as an editor and at Media Network of Waterford as executive director. Josh has literally cut over a thousand projects from PSA’s to independent feature films. His advanced training and experience with Adobe Premiere CC, AVID, Final Cut, Davinci and Adobe After Effects have been an integral part of developing our editing curriculum.

Contact email: joshb@motionpicture.edu

Jennifer Martin

Instructor Production Lab 
(Script Supervisor)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Martin_Jen-w2Jennifer has been working as a professional script supervisor since graduating from The Motion Picture Production Program in 2012. Her TV movie and film credits include UPtv's Christmas Movie Christmas, Lifetime's A Christmas Winter Song, Miracle on Christmas, and The Pickle Recipe; while her commercial and corporate credits include spots for Nike, Downy, Hungry Howie's, Ford, and Chevrolet.  In addition to script supervising, Jennifer is also a screenwriter, and holds her MFA in TV and Screenwriting from Stephens College.

Contact email: jen.martin@mpifilm.com

Tara Plizga

Instructor Production Lab 
(Assistant Director)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - 7fd084bdd24d5a4896c5cabaa1042532Tara has been working as a film professional for over thirteen years in a multitude of positions ranging from production assistant to production secretary, coordinator, unit production manager, second and first assistant director.  Tara has worked on TV series such as Pretty Little Liars and The Captain to features films like Up In the Air, Machine Gun Preacher, Northern Lights, Highland Park, Dark Fields and Prayers for Bobby.  She has worked on numerous documentaries and commercials for such clients as Ford, St. John's Health and the UAW.  She has worked for production companies Bijou Cine', Taproot Pictures, CineLED, Exodus Film Group and Lifetime Television Network.  Tara has a Bachelors in Communications from Oakland University and a Certificate in Filmmaking from New York Film Academy Universal City, CA.

Contact email: tara.plizga@motionpicture.edu

Sandra Birch

Instructor Acting Workshops
(Professional Actor)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - A_Sandra_BirchSandra has been actively working in the arts and entertainment industry as a professional Actress for 37 years where she has worked in film, television and commercials.  She spent 20 years as a Resident Artist and Voice and Movement teach at Jeff Daniel's Purple Rose Theater Co. where she was the recipient of three prestigious Best Acting Detroit Free Press Awards and a Wilde Award.  She has done numerous shows at Williamston Theater where she was the recipient of a Best Acting Wilde Award and Pulsar Award for The Lion in Winter and a Pulsar Award for Beau Jest.  She played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe which won the Wilde Award for Best Show at Performance Network in Ann Arbor.  At Tipping Point Theater she was the Subscribers Choice Award recipient for Best Actress or Cemetery Club and The Last of the Red Hot Lovers.  Sandra has  holds a BFA from Central Michigan University.  She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, ACTRA and CAEA.

Lindy Lenk

Instructor - Capstone Thesis Project, Film Career Preparation
(Production Coordinator / Hair/Make-up / Independent Producer)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Lenk_Lindy-wLindy began working in the film industry over ten years ago as a hair stylist, make-up artist and wardrobe assistant. After attending Motion Picture Institute and graduating in 2010, she turned her focus to other aspects of filmmaking. Lindy has written and directed short films, local commercials, corporate communications and music videos. She is a member of IATSE local 161 working as a Production Coordinator and APOC for film and television. Some of her credits include the comedy central series The Detroiters starring SNLs Jason Sudeikis and the feature films Eloise (Eliza Dushku and Robert Patrick) and Grain (starring Jean-Marc Barr). Lindy’s other credits include working as a production assistant on the AMC series Low Winter Sun and as a producer’s assistant on Family Weekend (starring Kristin Chenoweth and Mattew Modine). Lindy holds a degree a B.A. from Wayne State University with a major in English and minor in Greek, an A.A.S. in Video Production from Macomb Community College, Certificates from Motion Picture Institute in Film and Acting.

Contact email: Lindy@motionpicture.edu

Jeffrey Staebler

Instructor - Film Art & Design
(Assistant Director / Production Designer)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Jeff_Staebler_Pic-wAfter spending 20 years in the corporate world as a partner of an Architectural / Engineering firm and in Product development, Jeff ventured in to film. After graduating from MPI in 2013 Jeff has worked on numerous films and commercials as 1st AD. He has also gained experience working in almost every department on a film set, thanks to his hands-on experience at MPI. Jeff has worked on feature films including: Transformers 5 The Last Knight, God Bless the Broken Road, Camp Manna, Rush (Battlefield), Liberty’s Secret, The Dark Below and more. He has experience working in the commercial world for: Ford, Chevy, Cadillac, Genesis, Quicken Loans, Chemical Bank and Fathead. Also music videos for: Royce da 5’9, and Travis Scott. All giving Jeff the various set experiences that help to link the lessons learned at MPI with the expectations on a film set.

Contact email: J.Staebler@motionpicture.edu

Scott Norman

Instructor Acting Workshops
(Professional Actor)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - Scott_Norman_Headshot-wScott has been a professional actor for 13 years. He trained as an actor through various workshops in New York City with Broadway directors and industry casting directors before moving to Southeast Michigan where he has performed on a variety of professional stages, films and television programs. He resume includes starring in a number of independent films such as The Art of Power to featured roles in network television shows like ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 and AMC’s Low Winter Sun. His most recent credit was appearing in the acclaimed indy horror film “It Follows”. Scott is also an independent filmmaker having studied documentary filmmaking at State University of New York-Buffalo earning a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Scott is also a 2016 graduate of Motion Picture Institute having earned a certificate in The Motion Picture Production Program making him uniquely qualified as an instructor for the Acting Thesis: Production course.

Contact email: S.Norman@motionpicture.edu

Rob Winkworth

Instructor Acting Workshops
(Talent Agent)

Professional Film Instructors - Troy, MI | Motion Picture Institute  - RobWinkworthRob Winkworth is a talent agent at The I Group Model and Talent agency.  He has over 8 years of experience in commercial, industrial and theatrical work in both on-camera and voice over, with a particular focus on introducing new talent to the entertainment business.  A graduate of Wayne State University, Rob is a former middle school teacher and a long time Detroit area resident.

Contact email: rob.winkworth@motionpicture.edu



VIDEO SERIES:  "Meet Our Pros"  - Interviews with our Pro Instructors, their Film Careers & Courses and highlights from their work.