Arts & Entertainment

Film professor boasts career working on ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Star Wars’

Prior to moving to Huntington, Ind. to become the associate professor of digital media arts, Dawn Ford, M.F.A., spent more than 30 years in the film industry, working in three distinct careers.

Ford started her career in sound with National Public Radio (NPR). Her fascination for film sound, however, led her to Lucasfilm Limited, LCC, where she worked as a sound engineer for “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

“It was, at the time, the best place for a sound engineer in film to be,” Ford said.

Although her daily job was not glamorous, Ford said she is proud to have worked with a quality organization where excellence preceded the brand name.

Ultimately, Ford left Lucasfilm to become a producer. She moved her family to Oregon to start her own production company and created a PBS television series titled “Smart Gardening,” one of the first HD programs to air on TV.

When funding for the show died, Ford decided to return to grad school for her M.F.A. in professional screenwriting. There, she discovered her love for teaching and began looking for a full-time teaching career, Ford said.

One day, she learned that Huntington University was looking for a faculty member to teach sound, producing, and screenwriting — exactly what ford aspired to teach.

Although she never considered working at a private Christian school, Ford said she felt God was calling her to the university.

“God is really in charge of our future,” Ford said, “and sometimes He will surprise you.”

Though she was reluctant to leave California, Ford eventually accepted the position partly because in her previous careers, she was required to suppress her spiritual beliefs in the workplace. Her first day teaching at the university was a liberating experience, she said.

“When I first stood in the classroom to pray and I realized that I had the freedom to do this,” Ford said, “I felt this surge of emotion, and I almost wept.”

Ford’s husband, Rich Ford, has since moved to Huntington to join his wife. They both continue to stay involved with the industry through relationships with their colleagues. Rich is currently an adjunct professor in the DMA department, and he continues to work on freelance editing projects. Dawn Ford remains a part-time producer in the midst of her teaching.

“I can feel that right now, I’m in that creative percolation mode where something big will come in the next couple of years,” said Ford.

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