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R-TV Department offers narrative motion picture option with help from Gary Jones

August 27, 2010 -- Students who have a strong desire to pursue a career in the motion picture industry and learn from a renowned cinematographer now have a chance to do so with the creation of a narrative motion picture option in Arkansas State University’s Department of Radio-Television this fall. This degree option lies under the production emphasis in R-TV.

“We have facilities at ASU that provide the students with the equipment they need to make their own digital movies,” said Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts, interim chair of the Radio-Television Department. “We are excited to offer students the chance to work with one of the best known Arkansas cinematographers, Gary Jones. Gary brings real world film work into the classroom. His experience combined with the best Radio-TV faculty in the Mid-South gives the students wonderful opportunities to excel in the communications industry.”

A screenwriting class is offered each Monday from 5:30-8:20 p.m. Students are taught how to write scripts for motion pictures, going from a simple outline to screenplays for short-film narratives. The class offering is open without pre-requisites.

In addition to the screenwriting course, other courses in the program option include “History of Narrative Motion Pictures;” “Film Cinematography, Light and Editing;” “Advanced Filmmaking Techniques;” and Film Distribution and Exhibition.”

Jones helped “sign-on” KAIT-TV in Jonesboro on July 1, 1963. By the time he graduated Jonesboro High School in 1964; he was already directing up to seven hours of live television a week and filming 16mm commercials during his spare time. Jones graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-TV in 1968, and completed his Master of Science Degree in Television from the University of Illinois in 1970.

He earned his Master of Arts Degree in Heritage Studies from ASU in 2010 and is currently at the dissertation stage on his PhD in Heritage Studies from ASU.  He spent six years as director of film services for WFAA-TV in Dallas and was operations manager and again helped CITV-TV in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to sign on.

Jones has traveled throughout Arkansas shooting 35mm film for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and other high-profile clients. He is the region’s only resident 65mm IMAX cinematographer, with six films to his credit, including “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience (2003),” which set box-office records for an IMAX film. His writing experience includes eight screenplays--including “Stay Tuned for Murder” (1987) and “Too Scared to Laugh” (1989), an unpublished novel, various documentary scripts and national magazine articles. His most recent writing credit was an article on the aforementioned NASCAR IMAX film, which appeared in the March 2004 “American Cinematographer,” known as the bible of professional filmmaking.

Jones Productions was founded in 1981 and today offers clients the area’s most experienced high-quality motion picture facilities—including location and studio film production in 35mm, 16mm, and 24p high-definition formats; commercial grip and lighting packages; 3D computer animation and high-definition input capabilities; and post production.

Pitts went on to say that the department at ASU is one of the “only stand-alone radio-television departments in the country that is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC.) “Our standards are high and the quality of student that leaves our program can stand against any in the country,” she said.

For more information, contact Pitts at 870-972-3361 or

Pictured:  Gary Jones, Jones Productions

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