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Alumnus Behind the Camera: 'Weeds' Cinematographer to Visit Campus

(Posted January 17, 2011)

Mike Trim, a 1976 graduate, will visit theatre, media and communication classes during a two-day visit.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The winner of the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for the Showtime hit television series "Weeds" returns to Juniata College to take part in seminars in several classes and give a public lecture on "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: My Life in Film and TV," at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The public lecture is free and open to the public.

Michael Trim, a 1976 Juniata graduate, will return to campus a few months after triumphing at the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, the annual awards bestowed for technical arts such as cinematography, special effects, animation, makeup and a host of other categories, for his cinematography in the "Weeds" episode "A Modest Proposal."

At his lecture, the longtime cinematographer will tell how his liberal arts education at Juniata has helped him throughout his career. Originally, his career aspirations focused on feature films, but in his talk he will detail how the film business has changed, how to successfully change career paths and why television production is a more promising professional field. Trim will show clips and examples from his work and will field questions from the audience after the talk.

Trim has been cinematographer for more than 50 episodes of "Weeds," which stars Mary-Louise Parker as a suburban housewife who turns to a life of crime after her husband dies unexpectedly. He also has served as director of photography on two hit television sitcoms on NBC, "Parks and Recreation" and "30 Rock." He has shot more than 20 episodes of "Parks and Recreation: and has shot six episodes for "30 Rock," including the pilot episode.

"Bringing in an Emmy-winning cinematographer to work directly with our digital media program is literally the chance of a lifetime for these students. As more and more media moves to the web, the opportunities to enter the entertainment industry are not going to be not restricted to Hollywood and New York and Mike can give us some useful perspective on where things are going in the next decade."
Nathan Wagoner, director of new media communication

"Bringing in an Emmy-winning cinematographer to work directly with our digital media program is literally the chance of a lifetime for these students," says Nathan Wagoner, director of new media communication at the college. "As more and more media moves to the web, the opportunities to enter the entertainment industry are not going to be not restricted to Hollywood and New York and Mike can give us some useful perspective on where things are going in the next decade."

In recent years, he has also branched out as an episode director. To date, he has directed six episodes of "Weeds" and one episode of "Parks and Recreation."

At Juniata, Trim will work extensively with incoming high school students at one of the college's enrollment Open Houses. He also will sit in on classes from Juniata's arts production program and digital media program Monday evening and throughout Tuesday, Jan. 25. He also will sit in on several Juniata communications classes.

This is not Trim's first trip back to Juniata. In 2001 and 2002 he taught at two successive summer filmmaking camps, the college's first foray into digital media education.

Originally from Newark, N.J., Trim left Juniata in 1976 and decided to pursue jobs in the movie business. He got a job as a bike messenger for a film production company and eventually became a union film electrician, working as a gaffer on such films as "Mississippi Burning."

He began his career as a director of photography by shooting music videos. His first cinematography job was on a video for Madonna, directed by David Fincher, who later directed "The Social Network," "Seven" and "Zodiac."

After winning several music video awards, Trim made the move into episodic television, acting as cinematographer on a short-lived series called "Head Cases." He later moved to another short-lived series called "Cavemen," which was based on the characters from the Geico Insurance commercials.

In 2006, he was hired to shoot "Weeds." He was nominated for an Emmy previously in the same category for another episode of the series.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.