Candidate Profile

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Celebrity & Showbusiness
Film & TV
Thomas has worked 45 years in Hollywood, including the production of nearly 40 documentaries, shorts and commercials followed by seven feature films as producer/director/writer and editor. He has also been the behind-the-scenes “doctor” of numerous movies for other producers and studios. He has worked at the major Hollywood studios, (Warner Bros. for five years) and directed many well-known stars including “Spiderman’s” Tobey Maguire. John’s films have screened at important U.S. and international film events including the Cannes Film Festival.

John is a graduate from University of Southern California’s Cinema Department, the world’s first and most famous film school. The historic training ground of other fellow filmmakers such as John Carpenter, Ron Howard, Judd Apatow, Robert Zemeckis and George Lucas. In later years, John earned advanced MA and MFA degrees.

As a university professor, John has spoken and made enjoyable presentations to audiences of all kinds, including groups well over 2,500 in size. He currently teaches at Houston’s Carnegie Tier One Institution, the University of Houston.

As a stand up comedian who appears at local comedy venues, John peppers his movie presentations with his trademark, easy-going and unassuming observational humor which appeals to audiences of all kinds. Unlike other speakers who just talk about movies, John is an actual movie maker who can authoritatively answer audience questions from the inside out, and provide honest answers along with real world illustrations and examples.

Classic Science Fiction
Many consider the 1950’s through the 1970’s to be the Classic Period of science fiction films. Flying saucers, 50ft tall women, giant radioactive insects and zombies filled movie seats around the world.

No genre has been more important to Hollywood than the western - nearly a fifth of all feature films from the silent era through the 1950s were westerns! We’ll sample the very best of all time.

Hollywood Musicals
From “Singing in the Rain” to at least four remakes of “A Star is Born,” musicals emerged thanks to the addition of sound in the late 1920’s. These extravaganzas first became popular by satisfying depression-era audiences seeking escapist entertainment.

Movie Secrets and Trivia
A 35 year old carpenter, was installing a door at a movie studio when he was asked to read lines with actresses who were testing for a new film. The carpenter was Harrison Ford and the film was Star Wars! A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood you never knew.

Film Noir
These often dark and stylish Hollywood crime dramas, emphasized cynical attitudes and sexual innuendo. Included are such classics as, “Double Indemnity,” and “...the stuff dreams are made of,” in “The Maltese Falcon.”

2001: A Space Odyssey
2019 is the 50th anniversary of this visual masterpiece that makes every top ten list. This is a presentation about the making of "2001" including rare behind-the-scenes photos of the production and recollections of the actors and technicians who helped bring Kubrick's vision to life.

Contemporary Cinema
The advent of sophisticated digital cameras and computerized visual effects, (CGI) brought dinosaurs to life in Spielberg’s ground breaking “Jurassic Park.” Are we looking at an exciting new cinematic world, or a triumph of style over substance?

Top 20 Greatest Films
What are your favorite films? Which films made the most money? Which are favorites of the critics? Vote for your all-time favorites and see how your choices stack up against the AFI’s Top Films of all time. (In two parts: 1-10 & 11-20)

The first films ever made were documentaries. How did these unusual filmmakers get started and what motivated them? Some of the most important contributions came from the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and surprisingly, Walt Disney.

Movie Music
Who are the well-known musical artists we love to hear, but never see? How do composers use music to identify a character, create suspense and so easily manipulate our emotions? Can you identify a well-known theme just from the first few notes?

The Best Comedies
What’s your favorite funny film? Why does one film make you laugh, but not another? We’ll look at scenes from the best films by the directors and writers who always know what makes us laugh out loud.

Did you know that animated films are made backwards? First the sound track, then the pictures! Why have famous animators said that “Disney set animation back 30 years?” We’ll look at how animation has changed over the years and the new revolution in computerized animation.

Destination Related Movies
For example, if the next port is Australia, we might take a look at the best films from the important Aussie filmmakers. France? Truffaut, Godard and the “New Wave.” Or, Germany’s strange and stylish Expressionist movement. (Requires some advance notice)

These are just a few of the topic areas which can be presented, all with colorful, fun and dynamic visual compilations. Each Power Point-based presentation is 45-50 minutes long including promotion of the next presentation and ten minutes set aside for Q&A.
Have current Russian visa.