Film, TV Director Michael Grossman to Work with UH Students

Veteran Director Spending a Week at UH Sharing Insights with Media Production Students

Film and television audiences around the world are quite familiar with the work of Michael Grossman. The director’s output for big and small screens includes recognizable titles such as “Pretty Little Liars,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Nashville,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Charmed,” “Angel,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and others.

Soon, the TV and movie veteran will take a break from Tinseltown to visit Cougar country.

Grossman will work with students from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication and School of Theatre & Dance from April 12 – 18. His time at UH will be just as busy as his directing schedule.

Working with Valenti School professor Keith Houk, Grossman will guide students in classes focused on television production and acting for camera. He also will collaborate with students on short films and other projects.

“He’s here to show students how things work in the world of episodic television,” Houk said. “Also, his very presence on campus gives our students a major connection to the industry.”

The public is invited to sit in on a Q&A with Grossman at 7 p.m., April 15. He’ll discuss how to break into the entertainment business and answer questions from audience members. The discussion will be in room 101 of the Graduate College of Social Work.

This will be Grossman’s second visit to campus. Two years ago, he also worked UH students. As Houk indicates, the longtime director provides students with invaluable professional insight into the competitive film and television industry. Students already have benefitted from his guidance.

“He (Grossman) recently emailed me to let me know that he’s been in touch with a recent graduate,” Houk said. “That former student made a contact through Grossman that helped him land a production assistant job on the forthcoming ‘Captain America’ sequel.”

Grossman’s connection with UH began two years ago after Houk met one of Grossman’s close associates at a charity poker tournament presented by the One Step Closer Foundation. During the tournament – which benefits those with Cerebral Palsy – Houk requested a Skype call with Grossman. The director instead suggested that he visit campus and work with students.

“It went so well that he had no problem coming back out when I invited him,” Houk said. “It’s an honor for us to host him and a great opportunity for our students. Our media production professors teach theoretical and practical aspects of the profession. But, it’s an evolving industry. Learning from someone who is in the business helps them understand how to get their feet into the right doors and how to apply their classroom and lab knowledge on the set of a TV show or movie.”

Grossman’s visit is one of UH’s efforts to connect students to real world opportunities. In fall 2014, Houk led students on a professional project to create promotional videos for Houston Grand Opera. Students recently handled video duties for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Senior Michael Pyndus was among those students and will participate in upcoming classes with Grossman.

“The Valenti School has been very generous with providing us professional opportunities that are preparing us for careers in the field,” he said.

Houk is among the experienced video and film professionals who mentor JJVSoC’s media production students. Aimed at undergraduate students, the school’s Media Production concentration provides technical and theoretical skills necessary for careers in filmmaking, television, multimedia communication and broadcast journalism.

Grossman’s participation with UH is made possible by the Valenti School and the Center for Student Media – which includes the Daily Cougar, Student Video Network and Coog Radio.

To learn more about the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, visit its website.

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the University’s newsroom at