Learning how to write in a variety of styles has long been a priority for Taylor Potter (AB ’21). She knows it is her path to her dream career.
Potter graduated this year with undergraduate degrees in Entertainment and Media Studies from Grady College and Film Studies from Franklin College. She also completed the interdisciplinary writing certificate and is in Grady College’s Narrative Media Writing MFA graduate program.
The countless hours of writing and editing is the preparation needed for Potter to accomplish the dream of becoming a showrunner for her own television show at NBC.
She is also using her writing skills to pursue scholarships that can help allay the costs of graduate school.
Potter recently won the Vincent Wasilewski Award, which is a $4,000 scholarship, from the Broadcast Education Association (BEA).
“Like every other student, I want to graduate without student loan debt, so I’ve been working really hard to earn the money to pay for grad school either through traditional means like my internship with Focus Features or through scholarships like this one,” Potter said. “Winning a scholarship of this stature makes a remarkable difference in my educational career and allows me to focus more on my work than on my bills.”
The Wasilewski Award required applicants to display superior academic performance and outstanding work in electronic media.
Potter learned of the award when submitting to BEA’s Festival of Media Arts Competition earlier in 2021. Potter and her writing partner Ana Gonzalez won first place in that competition for best television pilot script.
“I’m really proud of Taylor, and it’s cool to see her hard work validated,” said Matthew Evans, EMST assistant professor. “Screenwriting isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon. And Taylor gets that. She just wants to get better and better. She tackles difficult subject matter, and writes about complex female characters, too—which we need more of. I’m excited to see what Taylor writes at our Low-Residency MFA, and I look forward to following her career in Hollywood.”
Potter credits active involvement in student filmmaking for building her portfolio and network to boost her standing for potential national accolades. She has three pieces of advice for any aspiring filmmakers at UGA looking to carve a similar path.
- “Make something. It can be a script, a book, a short film. It doesn’t matter. Make it and put all you have into it. You’ll become a better writer/director/producer/etc. and you might even garner some recognition from it later.”
- “Get to know your professors and vice versa. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked for a letter of recommendation from the same six professors. You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with all of them, but it’s in your best interest to befriend a few and always have them in your corner.”
- “Lastly, APPLY! Apply to that film festival, that screenplay competition, that scholarship. You can’t get a yes if you tell yourself no.”