Professor Spotlight: Glenn Williamson

Attention communications and media studies majors interested in working in film: Sonoma State University has sent a gift. His name is Glenn Williamson, and he is the newest professor to the communications department, teaching Communication and Media Studies 320.2: The Film and TV industries.

The course is designed to present an overview of today’s film and televisions framework. Its main focus is to teach students all about the behind the scenes action and main principles of the entertainment industry. Students are able to explore the various titles that are necessary within this type of work. With personal experience, professor Williamson is able to give his students first-hand details on the subject, as he is currently an active film producer in Hollywood.

“I was very impressed by his background,” said SSU-TV Faculty Adviser Ed Beebout, a fellow communication and media studies professor and colleague of Williamson.

Of course Williamson had to start somewhere, but from there he has worked long and hard to get to where he is today. As he teaches in his course, there are many steps that need to be taken before one can get to the top. 

Williamson first began as a publicity assistant. From there he worked his way up to production executive, and then became president of production at Focus Features. Today, professor Williamson is busy spending his days producing films in Hollywood, while teaching the course here at Sonoma State once a week.

“I’m hoping to give [students] a real understanding of how the film business and TV industries are working now,” said Williamson. “It’s not really—there’s some theory, but it’s mostly practice.”

With the type of background and past history professor Williamson has, he is not only well-known by students, but he has also impressed the staff here. When it came to the hiring process, department Chair Marco Calavita was involved, and has been working with Williamson since the beginning. 

What stood out the most to Calavita about Williamson was his high-level experience in the entertainment industry. 

“The fact that he had so much real, high-level Hollywood industry experience, including producing some great movies and as a studio executive,” said Calavita, “and that he was still active in the industry and still producing movies, even as he was also beginning to teach film at top schools like UCLA.” 

Williamson has taught courses in the film and media arts department at Chapman University, as well as courses in film television and digital media at UCLA. The professor might also begin producing two of his own films this upcoming year. 

With his type of experience, Williamson has his students enthralled. Not only will he be able to give his students first-hand information about working in Hollywood, but also inspire them to pursue more. Some students, like third-year Anna Luna, have become inspired by the professor’s dedication to teaching here. 

“Glenn has worked with producers such as Richard Zanuck,” said Luna, “and I’m pretty sure he commutes to SSU from LA, which just goes to show his dedication and commitment skills,” said Luna. 

The class was made for students like Luna, who are motivated and driven to make it far in the film industry. With a professor like Williamson, Sonoma State is giving students their very own connection to the Hollywood film industry. All they have to do is work for it.