Elizabeth Daley, dean of School of Cinematic Arts, USC

Women's Impact Report 2012: Academics

Daley has overseen a massive reconstruction and modernization project that involved building on 2152.782 sq. feet of new space. By the end of 2012, the Phase III Cinematic Arts complex will open, housing the school’s Interactive Media Division, the Institute for Multimedia Literacy and the Interdivisional Media Arts and Practice Ph.D. to continue bringing the school more opportunities to mobile and immersive media. The school has also announced a BFA for Film & Television production.

What we should know: “I want people to understand how incredibly powerful film is. It shapes our values, it’s how we understand ourselves. I know of no better way in the world to communicate with people, to share values, share ideas, change behavior, than through film, TV, games, media … people say it’s just entertainment and I want to say no, it’s incredibly important and powerful.”

Words of wisdom: “I think what you want to do is be sure you really want to be in (the film industry), because it’s a tough business and the people who are in it are truly passionate about some aspect of this business. And its important to realize what a broad industry it is. There’s so many roles you can play. Don’t get a preconception that ‘I can only direct, or only write or be a producer,’ be as open as you can and find out what your special talents are, and get as broad an education as you can and know as much about the industry as you can.”

Smartphone habits: “I live with it, it’s attached to me. I think it’s the most liberating thing in the world because I can travel and be in all sorts of places and continue to keep things moving here.”

Work week: 10 hours a day, six days a week

Charitable passion: “Probably USC cinema, although I always say we’re not a charity, we’re an investment. I’m enormously grateful for the support the industry gives us, because 80% of our students are on some kind of financial aid, and if it wasn’t for the incredible generosity of the industry this school could not exist, and these students couldn’t attend it. There’s a perception that USC is rich and we have all the money we need, and that is not true.”