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Staff Profile: John McCluskey, Film & Media Studies

Thursday, February 8, 2018


I was born in Morgantown, WV, but I will always consider Lawrence, KS, to be my hometown.

Have you always been interested in film?

I have been interested in all forms of production and creation as long as I can remember.  The art and process of creating something tangible and meaningful from just a hint of an idea has always drawn me to the creative world.  From a learning perspective, this has driven me to a lifetime of learning the technical aspects of the creation process in order to quickly solve problems and keep the creative process moving forward.

What made you want to pursue working in film?

I have enjoyed working on films since the 8th grade, beginning with making music videos and working with tape to tape editing systems. Later on in high school, I got into audio production and recording. It was through doing production sound and song placement for Kevin Willmott’s film “Bunker Hill” that I was drawn back into the film world. 

Describe your role in the FMS department at KU.

I am the Assistant Technical Director for the Film & Media Studies department. My role here is focused on making sure all aspects of the technical production process run smoothly. We support four to five production classes per semester as well as numerous faculty and student projects. I also do audio and video systems design as well as manage and operate our new recording studio at Summerfield Hall.

What professional experiences and areas of expertise do you bring to the table?

My background is in audio engineering and live event production.  I bring twenty years of experience of studio recording and mixing working on numerous music and film projects. In addition, my experience in live event production and lighting is essential to the day to day operations and maintenance of our new Sound Stage.

What has been your proudest moment as a staff member?

My proudest moment is seeing my former student employees out making a living in the industry as creatives.

How would you describe a typical work day?

A typical day usually involves managing equipment use throughout a large facility, which requires a lot of communication and coordination between faculty, staff and students.

What do you hope students take away from an education in FMS?

I hope that students not only learn the technical aspects of production, but also learn how to challenge themselves and use art to change societal perceptions.

If you could give students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be self-motivated and ready to work hard.

Describe your favorite KU memory.

My favorite memory at KU is of unboxing our new Neve console when it was delivered in late 2016.

What was the greatest experience in the FMS Department you’ve ever had?

The best experience I have had in the FMS Department is of working on the design team for the renovations at our new facility at Summerfield Hall. I especially enjoyed working with Emeritus Professor Bob Cofeen in designing the recording studio, as well as doing the system design and installation for the control room.

Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world?

I would like to take the time to do extensive travel in South America, Africa and Europe.