Ashton Bruce is a fourth-year EMST student from Dawsonville, Georgia. (Photo: submitted; Graphic: Sophia Haynes)
#ProfilesOfTenacity: Ashton Bruce
What are you passionate about?
Education. A big part of my work at the Office of Online Learning is assisting professors in making engaging content for their students. I feel like I gain knowledge about a variety of subjects just by being behind the scenes. I get the opportunity to learn about subjects that I never would have taken classes for when editing video content for these online courses–business law, anthropology and more. In editing and filming these lectures and interviews, I learn not only about the subject matter our faculty is so passionate about but also the diversity in the experiences of our faculty. I’ve always been the kind of person who knows a little about a lot, so it really appeals to me and makes me feel fulfilled to work there.
What is the last show you binge-watched?
The Great British Baking Show! I was late to the game, but I couldn’t stop watching once I started.
What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?
The hardest part of COVID-19 as a student and future professional was watching the entire entertainment industry by and large shut down. The arts are probably the first industry to shut down and will likely be the last to open up. The line of work I chose and wanted to do felt truly non-essential.
As we spent longer in quarantine, it felt like media was the only thing keeping me tied to people. There were so many eras in the COVID-19 pandemic based around what people were watching–Tiger King was definitely the biggest. Since we weren’t doing much beyond not leaving our house, my friends and I talked most about the movie or TV show we finally had the chance to watch. We stayed connected through Netflix watch parties and TikTok. I kind of had the realization that media isn’t essential to the function of society, but it is integral.
Morning person or night owl?
It would surprise high school me to know, but I’m definitely a morning person.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself before you began taking classes?
All of what you learn now in your introductory classes is foundational. Take it seriously, and really learn. Once you have a solid understanding of the basics of the industry’s structure and history, it allows you to make connections to current challenges that advance your understanding of the material you learn in class completely. You’re not learning what you’re learning to pass a test; you’re learning it to have conversations with the professionals in that industry.
Proudest moment in the last year?
My proudest moment this year was watching my name appear on the end credits of the biggest–and probably best–independent film I’ve worked on to this date called ‘Let’s Never Speak of This Again.’ I was the first assistant editor for that film during my sophomore year.
When post-production finished and we’d had our wrap party, the producer and director had arranged to premiere the film for cast, crew and friends at the Tate Theatre. Being able to cheer for my friends’ names and my own name on the big screen was a very exciting experience.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor/mentor/family member?
When I was in Dr. Hamilton’s Entertainment Media and Popular Culture course–the first class you take as an EMST major–it was my first semester of college. I came into college bashfully undecided. Yes, it can feel scary when asked what your major is, and you have to admit that you don’t know. So, I was taking the course to figure out if this was something I would even be interested in doing (hint: it was).
Dr. Hamilton invited Katiedid Langrock, a now local screenwriter whose work on children’s television has been featured on Disney, PBS and Netflix, to speak with the class. At some point during the presentation, she said, “Think of networking as just making friends. Just be nice to people, and you’ll make friends. That’s how this industry works.”
At the time, I thought it was a nice idea. As I got more involved in my major, college and work experiences, I had more and more encounters where I had to face the challenge of networking. Changing the way I thought of networking because of Langrock made the experience way less intimidating and even fun. As president of The Industry, a UGA club designed to provide networking for future entertainment players, it’s the piece of advice that I give to every member who asks me how to network. Be nice, and make friends.
Favorite Athens restaurant?
I could probably eat from Thai Spoon every day if my wallet would let me!
What are you planning to do after graduating?
I absolutely know I want to work in post-production, so my goal after graduation is to move to Los Angeles and take steps to become an editor for television. Maybe it’s the COVID-19 binge watching right now, but I love the idea of being an editor for reality baking competition shows.
Favorite UGA memory?
My favorite UGA memory is from my freshman year when I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show performance at the Tate Theatre with my mom and little sister. My mom remembers when Rocky Horror came out and how she’d go to the live shows when she was my age, so she really wanted to go. We were musical theatre junkies but had never actually seen most musicals–like Rocky Horror. So, my sister and I getting a ‘V’ marked on our forehead before the show with my mom is a fun memory for me.
Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
The #ProfilesOfTenacity series–formerly the #GradyGrit–is a set of student features highlighting the strength, determination and leadership of students in Grady College. Stay tuned to see how #ProfilesofTenacity evolve in the future.