(un)Common Sounds: Christians, Muslims, & Music on ABC

Acclaimed Sumatran world music ensemble, Suarasama, perform in (un)Common Sounds

I am thrilled to announce that my newest musical documentary, (un)Common Sounds, premieres on ABC’s “Visions and Values” series starting this Sunday (check the downloadable schedule at the bottom of this post).   In 2009 and 2010, I had the opportunity to travel to Beirut, Lebanon and Yogyakarta, Indonesia with a group of music and scholars (ethnomusicologists!) from Egypt, Malaysia, Libya, Turkey, and the United States.   These Muslims and Christians study the ancient roots of their faith and it … [Read more...]

Greatest Graduation Speech of our Era? DFW’s This is Water.


As a college professor, I have endured sooooo many graduation speeches.    It is a tough assignment, speaking to graduates who simply want to march across the stage.   The clock is ticking against graduation speakers before they even begin.   How to capture the attention of grads who veer between naivete and cynicism?   Steve Jobs delivered an inspiring salvo at Stanford. Speakers must resist the temptation to put forth empty platitudes.   The grads may respond to cynical humor that matches their … [Read more...]

This is what I do…

We're launching a 21st century film school at Pepperdine University.   We are interested in the small screens emanating from our smart phones and iPads as well as the big screens at the cineplex or our home theaters.     This is a short introduction to our new masters degree in media production, commencing this fall.  Considering making a move to Malibu in 2013. … [Read more...]