Fall semester 2019 EMST students enjoyed a tour of Turner Studios in Atlanta. Here, they gathered behind the NBA on TNT set. (Photo: Dayne Young)

EMST at Five

The Department of Entertainment and Media Studies has a unique place in the state of Georgia’s rich and diverse educational and commercial ecosystem that supports the state’s media-entertainment industry. EMST is proud to celebrate its fifth anniversary this year.

Working with some of Grady’s most visible programs such as the Peabody Awards and the New Media Institute,  EMST capitalizes on its innovative undergraduate degree program to develop not only above-the-line creative talent but also governmental and academic innovators and leaders who work and develop policy for media-entertainment industries nationally and globally.

To make this happen, the EMST program melds applied production skills with the academic study of media with new courses focusing on industry, audience-focus and cinematography. The EMST faculty are national and international leaders in their fields, and experiential learning opportunities like classes that partner with major production studios and trips to visit Atlanta-area entertainment studios like Turner Broadcasting, offer unparalleled opportunities for students.

“Our students gain professional-level skills and experience. But they also gain valuable tools for understanding media-entertainment industries, and for conceiving what stories are worth telling and how best to tell them,” explained Jay Hamilton, head of the EMST department.

One of the biggest points of pride is how alumni who work in the industry take time to give back and talk with students and other alumni about the fields they represent. For example, Eric Baker (ABJ ‘90), show design director for Universal Creative at Universal Studio, visited last fall to share his experiences with Grady students, while David Kramer (ABJ ‘90), co-president of United Talent Agency, met with Grady LA students last summer and participated in an industry panel for Grady alumni in the fall. Lee Thomas (ABJ ‘87,) deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, was instrumental in helping to get the UGA MFA Film program launched.

(l. to r.) Sam Thomas, Abigail Mewbourne, Cyrus Townsend (there to represent Kiana Washington’s winning entry as the project’s DP and sound recordist), Hayden Schwartz, Caleb Moss, Meekah Howell (co-composer of music for “2030”), Armaan “Eric” Najhawan, Joybeth Sullivan and Ben Janes accept their awards at the 2020 Georgia Communication Association Student Film Festival. (Photo: Jay Hamilton)

Despite being a comparatively small and selective program, EMST students’ success in national collegiate competitions indicates the value of this innovative program. Some recent examples are the EMST students who won four major film awards at the 2020 Georgia Communication Association Student Film Festival.  Armaan “Eric” Najhawan, Caleb Moss and Abigail Mewbourne swept the narrative films category bringing home first, second and third place honors, and Kiana Washington won first place in the documentary film category. At the national Broadcast Education Association competition, Kristin Storck took home second place honors for short subject student scriptwriting, while faculty members Booker T. Mattison and Garland McLaurin won the best of competition for the faculty video category.”

EMST students also support and run The Entertainment Media Industry Club, one of the largest at Grady College. It brings professionals in to share their experiences, conducts workshops to hone skills and maintains a network to help support student-run projects. Only in its second year, the club already boasts more than 250 members.

Future innovation in curriculum and extracurricular opportunities will continue to enhance its leading position.

 

Date: March 12, 2020
Author:  Jay Hamilton,  hamilton@uga.edu

Editor:  Sarah Freeman,  freemans@uga.edu