Profiles of Tenacity: Abbie Herrin

Abbie Herrin is a fourth-year Entertainment and Media Studies major. (Photos: Submitted.)

Profiles of Tenacity: Abbie Herrin

November 09, 2023

Fourth-year Entertainment and Media Studies student Abbie Herrin loves all things film and television. She’s grateful for her community in Grady College which helps her pursue her goals.

Why did you choose your major?

When I was in high school, I applied to a lot of art schools and heavily considered going for animation, but I ended up choosing UGA for a number of reasons. My original Grady major was ADPR, but when I realized that EMST was an option, I quickly switched. I truly love movies, and I know I would have regretted not pursuing them.

What does tenacity mean to you?

I think tenacity falls somewhere between persistence and perseverance. I believe you can’t really have tenacity without either one.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Try to meet as many people as many people as you can! People in Grady are always doing or making cool things, so it’s great to get to know them.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Herrin attended the Cannes Lions Film Festival and said it was a surreal experience.

I was very fortunate this past summer and attended the Cannes Film Festival as well as Grady LA. It’s hard to pick just one! For Cannes, being there and walking around with the badge and seeing everything the first day was just so surreal and exciting. I had never been out of the country before, and it was so amazing to be traveling and seeing new, cool parts of the world.

For Grady LA, I think it was being able to meet Michael Schur. Dr. Bernabo was amazing and got Michael Schur to come talk to us this summer and it was so cool meeting him. The Good Place is one of my favorite TV shows and meeting the person who created it (and has worked on tons of other amazing TV shows like Parks and Rec and The Office) was amazing.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Probably The Red & Black . I was a yearbook kid in high school, so I joined R&B spring of my freshman year. It was still covid and there weren’t a lot of opportunities to get out and get involved. The R&B gave me that opportunity, and I’ve met some of the best people there.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m not quite sure, either working as an assistant in the industry or as a graphic designer in film and TV marketing. Honestly, I plan to apply to a lot of things when I graduate and go in whatever direction that takes me.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

I directed a short film I had written for my production basics class, and honestly, that film was such a hot mess. We shot at night, which was simply not smart. It was so cold and lighting the scenes was a mess, but we also had a lot of fun, and I learned so much. I think we messed up in a million different ways, but the experience and knowledge gained were tenfold. Also, as an honorable mention for my most memorable Grady experience is when we wanted to rotate the camera around our actress for a scene, but we didn’t have a track, so we got a desk chair and pushed Ashley, our camera operator, around in circles to get the shot. It should be noted that it was 10 p.m., 40 degrees, pitch black, in a neighborhood cul-de-sac. It was memorable for sure–and I have a funny video to go along with it)!

Herrin enjoys the hands-on learning she gains through the EMST program.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Professor Evans is such a great writing teacher. He’s so helpful but is never overbearing. He allows you to make mistakes and learn from them while giving great advice. Dr. Bernabo is also great! I took her class in the spring semester and during Grady LA. She cares very deeply for her students and is always looking for ways to help them out. She helped us make so many connections this summer, which I’m very grateful for.

Where’s your favorite place on campus and why?

I love the vibes on the 4th floor of Grady. Last semester I had a gap in between classes so I would go up there and sit. There’s always a cool collection of people walking through. I also have a little studio place in the Dodd now that I am a senior graphic design major. I get to decorate the walls, and it’s nice to have a space there as well.

Who is your professional hero?

I think it’s a tie between Greta Gerwig and Lulu Wang. Gerwig has such a way of writing and directing that is palpable through the screen. Wang is an Asian American female director which is, unfortunately, pretty rare. She directed The Farewell—one of my favorite films from 2019. She participated in this amazing Hollywood Reporter Directors Roundtable a few years back, and she talks about what she had to go through to make her film. She mentions how people wanted to change her story, but she never faltered on her vision, especially because it was based on her own life. Her perseverance in an industry that can be so unforgiving is really inspirational.

Herrin worked on short films throughout her time at Grady.

Honorable mentions are Don Hertzfelt and Denis Villeneuve—I simply love their work. Hertzfelt made an animated short film trilogy called World of Tomorrow that is absolutely amazing. The first one is one of my favorite pieces of work ever made. Villeneuve is behind some of the best sci-fi in the past 10 years, Arrival—one of my favorites—Blade Runner: 2049 and Dune.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, but also know it’s okay to move at your own pace! My freshman year was fall 2020, so I am giving myself grace with that, but it can be hard. Honestly, it took until my spring semester of sophomore year to feel like I had a footing and had made friends outside of my roommates and people I knew from high school.