Four students earn top awards at 2021 BEA Festival of Media Arts

Editor’s Note: Taylor Potter and Ana González are BEA Best of Festival winners. Their television pilot script won out of all first place winners in the student category. They will split the $1,000 prize.

Students in Grady College’s Department of Entertainment and Media Studies  won big at the Broadcast Education Association’s creative competition, Festival of Media Arts. 

Fourth-year students Taylor Potter and Ana González took home first place for original television series pilot script. Second-year student Hyde Healy received an award of excellence in the same category, and fourth-year student Tévon Knight received an award of excellence for a short video.

The BEA is the premiere international academic media organization driving insights, excellence in media production and career advancement for educators and students. The competition receives over 1,500 submissions representing students and faculty from schools around the world.

Potter and González developed their television pilot, “Buyer’s Remorse,” in Professor Matthew Evans’ writing for television course, which was launched last semester. The show depicts the perils of a realtor who, desperate to make a mid-career comeback, resorts to dealing drugs to save her family from foreclosure but becomes the catalyst for her family’s destruction. 

The course’s emphasis on peer collaboration allowed Potter and González to refine their work, and it taught them important lessons on story, character and conflict.

‘“Buyer’s Remorse” seeks to discover the lengths to which a mother and wife would go to save and protect her family at the expense of herself and her career,” they said.

The moment the “Buyer’s Remorse” team learned of their award.
Healy’s pilot script for the show “Command Sandwich” showcases his passion and skill for writing. Healy wrote the pilot before taking classes in the EMST program. His sister Isabella, who studied cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, played an active role in providing feedback for the script’s first draft, Healy said.

“I used my dysfunctional workplace experience in food service as the basis for this pilot. I love comedy, and my dream job is to write comedy professionally, so I thought I’d used the time granted while the world was shut down to write this pilot,” Healy said.

He credits involvement in clubs like The Industry and Sharkwing Sketch Comedy for exposing him to student work and inspiring him to write the pilot. 

Knight also received an award of excellence for his one minute campaign video of Brianna Hayes, a candidate for UGA Student Government Association president in 2020. 

“In the span of about 72 hours, I directed, shot, and edited the project together,” Knight said. “I think this award was a true confidence boost. BEA is not easy to compete in because colleges across the nation send in high-quality pieces.”

One key element Knight took away from his Grady classes is the necessity to devote all of himself to the project in order for it to feel authentic and be effective. The shooting styles and compositions used in the video were techniques he learned in Professor Garland McLaurin’s cinematography class, Knight said.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Tévon Knight

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

When you have a goal, no matter what is thrown in your way, you find a way to succeed. Tenacity is all about persisting when things are tough, uncertain, scary or down right impossible. Growing as a human is all about leaving your comfort zone and pushing past the things that make you want to quit. That’s tenacity.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

People would be surprised to know I’m a big professional wrestling fan! I never talk about it, but watching professional wrestling from a young age is what got me very interested in storytelling and video production.

What are you passionate about?

Storytelling has always existed, but in the last 20 or so years, the technology and access to quality storytelling is extremely abundant. My goal as a filmmaker is to use that abundance to give voices to minority groups who have been underrepresented and unheard throughout history. We can’t fully love and accept each other if we don’t understand each other. Everyone has baggage, everyone has challenges and everyone has a voice. I want to help move to a place where everyone’s voice is not only equally elevated, but we can also accept each other’s individual experiences. I want my art to convey that just because someone’s path doesn’t reflect our own, we do not have to be in opposition.

Who is your professional hero?

Ava DuVernay, who is the director of several critically acclaimed films that educate on the African American experience up to this point in history. Some of her films include “When They See Us” and “Thirteenth.”

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

Coming into college, I knew I wanted to learn how to effectively tell stories. Grady is predicated on telling meaningful, impactful stories. Whether that be through a branding campaign, a movie screen or a newsroom. I decided on Grady because I knew I’d be able to gather tools and network as I learned my craft.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

I like to post my photography on Instagram, but I like Vimeo and YouTube as well.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment in the last year would have to be purchasing my first professional camera, the Panasonic GH5. Having this camera has allowed me to continue creating in my free time and apply things I’ve learned in Grady to more of my personal work!

What are you planning to do after graduating? Do you have a dream job?

After graduating, I plan to grow my freelance business in the Atlanta area. From there, I hope to expand into other large cities around the United States. Ultimately, I one day want to own a nonprofit that focuses on educating children of color in low-income neighborhoods in the subject of media production.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

The Main Library study rooms

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to COVID-19 in your life as a student and future professional?

Things being online can be challenging, but I think the hardest thing (especially for Entertainment and Media Studies students) is searching for opportunity. The film industry and videography industry is seeing difficult times right now. However, having tenacity is all about creating your own opportunities in any way possible. That’s what I’ve done, and what I’ll continue to do.