Filmmaker Jon Reiss and musician David Cutler may be masters of two very different crafts, but they share similar advice for arts students at Arizona State University.

Both artists will be giving guest lectures this spring at the Lyceum Theatre in Tempe as part of the p.a.v.e. Initiative, a program through the ASU Herberger Institute's School of Theatre and Film that focuses on student entrepreneurship.

Based off his 2008 book of the same name, Reiss' "Thinking Outside the Box Office" lecture aims to educate students about promoting their work and captivating an audience despite the many distractions of modern society.

"The hardest thing is getting people who want to watch your film," Reiss said. "The media landscape is very saturated; people have so many choices of what to do with their time and unlimited possibilities. You're competing with all these different options that people have, along with a sense that's out there that media should be free."

Reiss, who will be speaking at ASU on Feb. 21, has been a filmmaker for more than 30 years and said he was inspired to write his book after the release of his third feature film, "Bomb It." He is currently working on two more books that relate to the concepts of both marketing and distribution, along with applying these ideas to all forms of art.

Cutler's message also extends to the greater art community, and he hopes to encourage art school students to jumpstart their careers with his lecture on March 26, "Managing the Savvy Artist's Career."

"Artists' careers are changing drastically, and it's very unlikely for someone to just get a job where they have a full-time employer and get benefits," Cutler said. "For most of us, we have to create our own career."

Cutler has been a pianist since the age of 5, but also composes and conducts his own music. Following years of art school education, he said he came to the realization that he had no marketable skills with which to promote his work upon graduation.

He set out to solve this dilemma through extensive research and by drawing from similar predicaments among his peers, which triggered him to write "The Savvy Musician" in 2009.

Cutler said he would like students to leave his lecture with a sense of both excitement and optimism, and advises that they begin developing their careers long before leaving art school.

"I think it's a great time to be an artist for a certain type of person, or a certain type of savvy artist," he said. "There is no formula, but (this lecture) will provide them with tools that can be applied in any artistic discipline to developing a varied and fulfilling career."

Both Cutler and Reiss are thrilled by the opportunity to speak at Arizona State, and hope their lectures will inspire a newfound ambition within students.

"I'm really looking forward to interacting with the students of ASU," Cutler said. "It'll be my first time at that institution, but I'm well aware of some of the incredible faculty and the incredible initiatives that they have."

To learn more about Reiss and Cutler, visit and

For more information about the p.a.v.e. Initiative and ASU's School of Theatre and Film at the Herberger Institute, visit

• Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.

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