This Is Off Campus
About This Show
Off Campus is a podcast about where your life can go. Each episode features interviews with newly minted college grads, retired baby boomers, and everyone in between about their experiences in college and figuring out their next moves.
Most Recent Episode
A Trained Physicist Turns to Film
Apr 22 15
This interview originally aired on April 21, 2015.
Before he became a professor in the film and physics departments at New York University, Ian was planning on becoming a physicist in a lab. A Toronto native, Ian attended York University because of the scholarship he was offered, the proximity to his parents’ home, and the strong science program. “Coming out of high school, I was really interested in physics. It addresses those big questions–why are we here? Why is the universe the way it is? Why is the sky blue how did people get here?” Ian said.
When he finished undergrad, Ian went on to obtain his graduate degree in physics at the University of Illinois. With his degree in hand, he realized he was not as passionate as his classmates about lab work, and as a result, he decided to pursue his love of film by applying the The NYU Tisch School of Film where he was ultimately accepted.
“There are only a few programs at the graduate level that don’t require an B.A. in film studies: USC, UCLA, Columbia, NYU. But it was difficult to make that decision and tell people. I had dinner with my advisor from the physics program and I told him I didn’t want to do it anymore. I felt bad since he invested time and grant money–but I wanted to make movies. He was amazing and really supportive. He said ‘I want you to go do what you want to do. Be happy.’”
Unfortunately, at the same time Ian was pursuing his passion at NYU, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “There was no going back. No cure. It’s a slope that everyone will go down. How steep will it be? How prolonged? I was going back and forth between Toronto and New York. Toward the end, the changes in him became really obvious. He became a different person. He wasnt the man who raised me anymore. It was literally like meeting him for first time. I was meeting my father for the first time toward end of his life. That became the genesis of my film,” Ian said.
In 2012, Ian’s short film “Doubles with Slight Pepper” won the Best Live Action Short at the Genie Awards (The Canadian Academy Awards).
On Switching from Science to Film: “Make sure you’re doing something for the right reasons. If you aren’t, you’re wasting your time. The sooner you realize that, the better. ”
Student Loans: “My parents couldnt contribute financially. They didnt have the money. I did work-study and campus jobs, and it still affects me to this day. I’m still p