February 27, 2018
It was an English major who convinced me to transfer out of the English department at Miami University, as ironic as that seems. That wasn’t his intent. In fact, the English Department had invited him in from California to tell students about life as a Hollywood script writer. I’m sure the professors were hoping to inspire more people to come study English, seeing as their former students were quickly climbing the ladder in one of the most competitive industries in the U.S.
But that’s not how it went in my case.
I left the talk incredibly inspired, with a realization that dreams aren’t just for following. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can capture one. Put it on a leash, lead it down the block, tell people how you found it lost on the street, cold and shivering, brought it in and gave it a home. I walked in comfortable with the idea of becoming a journalist. I could tell stories and someone would pay me to do it, I figured. But I left thinking that I didn’t have to settle for a desk at a dying newspaper, I could take my passion for writing anywhere. Maybe even to the silver screen.
Full disclosure: I never became a Hollywood writer. By the time I left Oxford I was intent on staying in Ohio and working to tell our stories. Local stories. A few days after seeing that presentation I went to my guidance counselor and switched my major so I could study video production, because how can you write for a format when you’re not sure how it’s made? That’s where I stayed, discovering that I did better with running cameras than writing dialogue. There were still characters, still stories to tell, I still had the freedom of creativity. I produced a documentary with a friend I met in class, I went to work filming for the Redhawk’s football team. Years later I landed here, running my own business working with corporations, small businesses, artists and the like to commit their stories to video. And I can’t help but feel like I owe some debt of gratitude to that writer, and the professor who sent me to see him talk. Turns out an extra credit assignment helped shape my path more than most of my credit hours.
So I was pretty honored when the English Department at Miami invited me back as a panelist for their Beyond Bachelor Hall discussion. It’s a yearly event where students gather to hear from professionals about how they can take their English education into various industries. I’m excited for the chance to share some insights and answer questions in the building where I had my own personal breakthrough.
I doubt anyone will be leaving in a sense of awe, the way I did, but I love a good story so it feels fitting that mine is coming full circle.
Beyond Bachelor Hall will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2018 in 337 BAC from 4:30 – 6:00 pm