Film and Media Arts

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Regardless of area of specialty, ambitious and motivated students can pursue internships in Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and other major cities.

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Students have the opportunity to participate in the Division’s biennial full-length feature film project, produced by students with the mentorship of industry-respected faculty.

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Students can gain hands-on access to equipment the very first year and can hone their craft in scriptwriting, directing, producing, lighting, audio recording and more.

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Alumni projects have included work on Lincoln, August Rush, Jurassic Park, Supernatural, King of the Hill, Wishbone, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and other well-known productions.

Sally Helppie

Sally Helppie

Adjunct Professor

Sally Helppie is a lawyer and film producer. She is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, where she was a teaching assistant, member of the national Moot Court team, and Melvin Belli scholarship winner. She currently practices entertainment law and business litigation at Vincent Lopez Serafino Jevevein, P.C.

Helppie’s entertainment law practice runs the gamut from representing high-budget Hollywood productions to small independent producers, as well as individual writers, actors and financiers. She negotiates acquisitions and distribution, drafts a wide variety of financing documents, advises on insurance and bonds, addresses guild and union matters, handles copyright and trademark issues, prepares production contracts and litigates disputes. She has performed legal work on such films as The Tourist, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp; The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt; Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson; and Martin Scorsese’s 3-D feature Hugo. Similarly, she has negotiated and drafted contracts for multiple television pilots and series, including Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, The Glee Project, The Bachelor, Children’s Medical Center, Donna Decorates Dallas and Texas Troubadours.

Helppie also is a seasoned trial attorney who has been lead counsel in literally hundreds of cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, smaller businesses and individuals. She has tried cases before juries in state and federal courts, and has represented parties all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to her legal work, Helppie is an award-winning producer and CEO of Advocate Pictures, LLC. She produced the action thriller Exit Speed, starring Lea Thompson, Desmond Harrington and Fred Ward; The Beacon, a supernatural chiller starring Teri Polo, David Rees Snell, Michael Ironside, Elaine Hendrix and Ken Howard; Beyond the Farthest Star, a family-friendly feature starring Renee O’Connor and Todd Terry; and Infiltrators, starring Nathalie Kelley from Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, as well as Robert Picardo, Steve Railsback, Greg Jbara and Hallee Hirsh.

Helppie was the 2011 chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Sports & Entertainment Law Section and currently serves as secretary on the Council for the State Bar of Texas Entertainment & Sports Law Section. She is a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, a member and past chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Business Litigation Section, and a member of the Texas Motion Picture Association, Dallas Producers Association and Women in Film-Dallas. She serves as chair of the board of Tall Castle, Inc., a non-profit film production corporation.

Education

J.D., University of California at Los Angeles School of Law
B.A. Journalism, California State University at Northridge

Professional Experience

Feature film producer
Practicing attorney

Teaching

Producers Seminar

Selected Articles and Presentations
Making Money in a Digital Age, Dallas Bar Association Entertainment Law Boot Camp 2013; Fifteen Minutes of Fame: Reality TV Shows, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes 2012; Today’s Contract, Tomorrow’s Lawsuit: Entertainment Contracts from the Litigator’s Perspective, Entertainment Law Institute 2012; So You Want To Be In Pictures: Does it pay to loan your property for a movie location? Dallas Bar Association Headnotes 2012; Copyright Basics and Script Clearance, El Paso Classic Film Festival 2011; Film Distribution for the Independent Producer: Strategies and Negotiations, Entertainment Law Institute 2010; Movie Production: Do I have to pay for that? Christian Media Association 2010.

Links

Areas of Study

Advertising

Art

Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Communication Studies

Creative Computation

Dance

Film and Media Arts

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Classes

Facilities

Faculty and Staff

Summer Film Production

Student Opportunities

Internships

Alumni

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

Journalism

Music

Theatre