Alumni Voices: Film Director Bob Byington

Today we feature some words from Bob Byington, who pursued a career in film after graduating with an MA in American Studies. His films have screened in theaters and festivals nationwide, including our own South by Southwest. His most recent film, Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012), stars Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson, and Jess Weixler and was filmed right here in Austin.

How is the work that you’re doing right now informed by the work that you did as a student in American Studies at UT?

Bill Stott, who was my primary mentor at UT, let me make a movie for the Doc. class he was teaching, and that got me started on the whole idea of trying to make a movie instead of being fascinated by watching them.  And I was able to take RTF classes as a kind of cross-discipline thing.

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for students in our department about how to get the most out of their time here?

The facilities and resources at UT are astounding. Professors work for the students, tho’ it’s not set up to seem that way. And the equipment you have access to as an American Studies grad. student, that’s sitting in the RTF building — even when I was there in the early ’90’s it was great, and now it’s obviously way better…