Steve Boman Survives & Thrives in Film School
If Film School: The True Story of a Midwestern Family Man Who Went to the World’s Most Famous Film School, Fell Flat on His Face, Had a Stroke, and Sold a Television Series to CBS, is the world’s longest book title, Edina resident and author Steve Boman is just fine with that.
“I actually hope that’s true. In the e-book world, it doesn’t matter how long your title is,” said Boman, adding that his publisher at BenBella Books shortened the print title to Film School.
Boman’s road has been as winding as the longer version suggests, taking him from the Edina home he shares with wife Julie (a staff pediatrician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis) and their three daughters (Lara, 16, Maria, 12, and Sophia, 10) to the prestigious University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts where he enrolled not once, but twice, after deciding to pursue his filmmaking dream in his late 30’s.
Raised in Duluth and a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, Boman had a successful career in journalism, both in public radio and newspapers, for several years. He also worked as an organ transplant coordinator at the University of Chicago, which ultimately provided fodder for the hospital drama Three Rivers, his final USC film school project that was picked up by CBS and aired briefly in late 2009.
Prior to his first USC acceptance, the family was living in Camarillo, California, while Julie worked at a nearby medical clinic. Boman was a stay-at-home dad, a job that became especially crucial when Julie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Peter Krause, star of the NBC drama Parenthood, and a Roseville native who has known Boman since their days at Gustavus, admires the way his friend handled their family crisis.
“I’m really proud of him for the way he always faces adversity with dignity, humor and grace,” says Krause. “He is such a great father. There was a part of himself he put on hold to be with his girls, but then he had the opportunity to put his creative energy to use.”
After making a full recovery, it was Julie who suggested her husband consider applying to film school.
“I realized film school was an opportunity for me to continue to focus on my passion for storytelling, but take it in a new direction,” says Boman.
As the oldest student in his class, Boman says he “stuck out like a sore thumb” and writes about the many obstacles he faced: long days, challenging professors (in particular, one he dubs FTC for “Frayed Trucker’s Cap”) and frustrating early projects.
Before long, Boman felt beaten down by film school (“It had become such a hard journey and I just wasn’t connecting with it,” he says) and decided to quit, only to reapply two years later. And on the morning of his first day back at USC, another roadblock threatened: Boman, age 42, suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for four days.
“It was very unnerving. It’s never happened again, but it definitely gives you a better appreciation for life,” said Boman, who has no residual effects from the episode.
With his family having relocated to Edina for his wife’s career, Boman dug in his heels and plunged back into the USC world, commuting home to Minnesota during academic breaks.
“I was determined I was not going to quit this time. I gave as much of myself as I could. If I was going to be away from my family, I was going to work harder than anyone else,” he says.
In addition to the personal and often very funny aspects of Boman’s story, Film School offers an intriguing inside look at the world of those jockeying to become successful filmmakers, an atmosphere which Boman characterizes as “hyper-competitive”.
“There are no guarantees that anyone is going to make it. People definitely get jealous of one another,” he says.
Boman did make it; the fact that Three Rivers was picked up as a pilot by CBS is virtually unheard of for a brand new USC film school grad. In the book, he talks about pitch meetings with Academy Award winning director Curtis Hanson, playing the waiting game and finally learning his class project would be brought to life, starring Alex O’Loughlin (now the co-star of the CBS series Hawaii-Five O), and his relative peace with the fact it only lasted two months on air.
Since the beginning of the year, Boman has been on a national book tour. He’s working on another television pilot and regularly travels to Los Angeles. In addition, Boman has another book in the works—a story of a solo motorcycle trip he took in August.
Film School, which Boman calls “more chick flick than action thriller,” receives a glowing review from Krause.
“It’s a lot of fun to read,” says Krause (who jokes that whatever Boman writes about him in the book is “all made up”) “I know his voice and it’s great that other people will come to know what that voice is. It’s serious, but it’s peppered with humor.”
Film School is available at Barnes and Noble in the Galleria, as well as other local and online retailers.
Several Edinans were honored at the second annual Cultivating Respect Conference, which is held by the national...
MINNEAPOLIS – (June 7, 2013) Herberger’s Southdale store in Edina is rolling out the green – as in putting green...
You might take your kidneys for granted. But if you heard the story of Edinans Kathleen Carter and Kim Pendergast, you...