Get weird, make mistakes
I came to DePauw knowing I wanted to write, but there were a lot of different avenues that I could take writing. At The DePauw newspaper, it was journalism. In the English department, it was poetry and prose. I was always confident in my ability to write, but professors like Greg Schwipps really helped me hone it and become more concise and intentional. Eventually, it was a combination of film classes that I took with Angela Flury, Chris White, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick and James Paasche that made me lean toward screenwriting and eventually filmmaking. Each class exposed me to different kinds of films, how to understand story and the different ways you can execute story. It gave me the confidence boost to just go for it. Once you catch the filmmaking bug, it’s hard to shake it. You always want to improve and push yourself. Going for my MFA felt like the best way to do that.
I can’t remember which professor said it, but this saying I learned from the English department has always stuck with me: ‘If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then go for it.’ That idea has given me the agency to experiment with my films. Get weird, make mistakes and turn them into strengths. In terms of skills, DePauw always stressed this, but I haven't really mastered it until now – be concise. Don’t be too precious with your words. And let the audience/reader come to their own conclusions. Don’t beat people over the head with your ideas. Your audience will thank you for it. I find that valuable because the scripts that get developed professionally don’t mince words. You don’t have to get too fancy. Use your who, what, when and how. If the story does what you intend it to do, your audience will figure out the why.
I’m heading into my last year at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. This semester, I’ll be one of three directors to make an advanced project through the school. I’ll be helming a horror film called Price which is about an actor who goes insane while trying to get into a role. When the film is finished, my team and I will take it to festivals with the goal to start conversations on further developing Price or getting on another project.
Major: English writing
Minor: film studies
Involvement: The DePauw newspaper, Media Fellow, Prindle Post, The Midwestern Review, Resident Assistant, Rector Scholar and Presidential Scholar.