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Humans of the Hilltop: Steve Warner

Steve Warner, an adjunct theater professor, has been teaching film courses to students since 2007. photo via Kyle Stone
Steve Warner, an adjunct theater professor, has been teaching film courses to students since 2007.
photo via Kyle Stone

Adjunct theatre instructor and Bradley graduate Steve Warner has been providing students of all backgrounds with different perspectives on film since coming to Bradley in 2007.

“[The job] was actually offered to a buddy of mine,” Warner said. “He had ended up getting an advertising job in Chicago, but he had already agreed to teach film appreciation at Bradley so he was like, ‘Oh I just recommended you [instead].’ They literally just needed a body, so that didn’t make me feel too good, but whatever, it was fine; I got the job and I was excited.”

After getting the job, Warner said he was initially intimidated by the experience because of his lack of background in teaching.

“I never had any teaching experience before, and my first class had over a hundred kids,” Warner said. “It was pretty daunting; it was pretty overwhelming. I was learning as much as they were, but I had a blast doing it.”

One thing Warner said he loves about his job is it allows him to discuss something he loves – film – with students who may not necessarily be “film nerds.”

“I love talking about movies,” Warner said. “I especially love getting to know the students. I love that the class is a 100-level course that anyone can take because you then get such a wide breadth of students and you meet so many different individuals through it that have all these different perspectives.”

The diversity of students allows the class to be as popular and effective as it is, according to Warner.

“There are people who never thought about movies as art before,” Warner said. “I love seeing that dichotomy between students who love movies and students who don’t care one way or another but, hopefully, I can inspire a passion of film within them.”

While Warner only teaches one course, his goal is to expand the breadth of film course offerings as well as better developed organization for other existing film courses on campus.

“What I always thought sucked a lot is that there are other film courses on campus, [and] there’s no communication among anyone, so students always ask me, ‘What film courses can I take?’ but I honestly don’t know because we don’t communicate with one another,” Warner said. “There’s all these different options that students don’t know about. The goal is to get something so they’re all under the same umbrella. That way we can just be like, ‘Oh you can totally take this, then this, then this.’”

Warner said the way to accomplish this communication is the establishment of a film minor.

“We want to start with a minor,” Warner said. “We want to get something going because the demand is there; students ask all the time.”

Senior marketing major Nick Taddeo said Warner expanded his perspective on both film and art.

“Prior to taking Steve Warner’s course, I only liked action films,” Taddeo said. “Steve really opened up my eyes to different types of films, new and old. Steve also did a very good job at showing me how art pops up in many different ways [in film].”

Warner said there are two films that all students must see.

“‘The Godfather’, I can’t believe how many students have not seen ‘The Godfather’,” Warner said. “Everybody should watch ‘Pulp Fiction’. I feel like those are two films everyone should see.”

Following his film suggestion, Warner made the statement that it is imperative students see many different films while in college. He said this is the time when people develop their “tastes.”

“Once you get past college, you kind of become unwilling to change as far as tastes go,” Warner said. “I would hope that, when students say, ‘Ew ‘The Godfather’ sounds boring,’ students [decide to] give it a chance [so] they discover that they like similar films, and [that] it can help shape [their] tastes.

The idea of helping students shape their tastes is what Warner said makes his course fulfilling.

“That’s what is so cool about the class,” Warner said. “Students tell me all the time, ‘You made me view movies differently. I’m now watching something I wouldn’t have before,’ and that’s awesome because in a few years [students] will probably never give those things a chance.”

Besides film, Warner said he is interested in writing, as his degree from Bradley was in journalism.

“I loved writing; I still love writing,” Warner said. “I don’t get to do it as much as I used to before. That’s something I would love to go back to at some point.”

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