#ProfilesOfTenacity: Alaina Booth

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Believe it or not, people that don’t know me are really surprised when I tell them that I’m in school. I never talk about it because I’m always shooting or editing videos for my company, and I travel so often (shoutout only Tuesday and Thursday classes) that people don’t really ever see me posting about school.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

I have a little personal office space for my business in the Entrepreneurship building in Studio 225. It’s such a vibe.

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

When I thought about answering this question, I realized it was never really a choice for me. I knew I belonged in Grady, and I didn’t really think about applying to any other school. Throughout high school, I knew I wanted to do something creative, and I started making videos of my life throughout my senior year. When I got to UGA, I started out as an advertising major, but ultimately the world of entertainment excited me more. I’ve always been making things into stories, and I’m a huge dreamer, and being EMST just makes so much sense. I remember sitting in the intro class for EMST and one of the slides on the board saying, “Move to LA” and I just knew these were my people and this was my program.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about telling honest stories and I want that to be my line of work, but nothing makes me more excited than connecting with people on an emotional level through video. Outside of this, I am really passionate about encouraging people that they can do it – whatever it is they want to do. I want to be the person people feel safe talking about their dreams with, and throughout my career, I want encouragement and inspiration to be a common thread. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

My favorite piece of advice is “Do what you can with what you have and who you know” and I love it because I think people get really overwhelmed that they need to be making HUGE things with expensive gear and amazing taste as soon as they start, but really that’s just not how you learn. And it’s way too much pressure to put on yourself. You just have to start, and you have to let go of what other people will think about your work when you’re starting out. When people ask me how I’ve built such an extensive portfolio, I tell them I literally just started! I kept saying yes to things I thought I wasn’t ready for and showing up to them like I knew exactly what I was doing. People believed me, and then eventually, I believed me too! 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

This past summer I spent two months in Los Angeles. Throughout the summer I got an internship, worked on a couple freelance projects, continued to run my business remotely and finally, had the opportunity to be a production assistant on a huge documentary shoot. Throughout the summer, I drew knowledge from every single course I’ve taken in the EMST program, and I was so grateful for my education that I sent Dr. Hamilton an email thanking him. I knew how to give proper script coverage because of my writing for digital media class. I could properly set up a C-stand because of production basics, and I could create really awesome pitch decks thanks to the producing for the screen class. It was a very rewarding summer to see how much my education is really showing up in my future career path, and I’m really grateful for the foundation Grady has laid for me.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Well, I love Los Angeles, so the plan is to move there and start working. I really like pretty much everything, so I’m open to following the path that excites me most. I’m particularly interested in producing, because I’m definitely a sales-minded person and will pitch in front of people all day long. I like unscripted, because I like watching the story unfold itself rather than trying to control all the aspects of it. Lately, I’m also considering marketing, because I’ve realized I approach the majority of my work with thinking “how can we make people feel an emotional connection to this piece of work?” Before I move to Los Angeles, though, I might take a year or so to travel and live in different parts of the country. I think as a media creator, the more life experience you have, the better creator you will be. So, I could call it “taking a gap year” but in reality, it’s an investment in myself as a creative person. Who knows where I’ll be in a year — I just know it won’t be boring. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

Easily Instagram. I think it’s mind-blowing that one day in like 30 years, my kids will be able to scroll down and see pictures that I posted when I was 20 years old. I mean how cool is it that we all have an internet record of our lives? If I think about it too much, I will get emotional.   

Who is your professional hero?

It might seem kind of random, but Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and GIRLBOSS. It’s not really what she does as a profession that I look up to, but rather how she does it and how she conducts herself as a professional. She just shows up 100% unapologetically. She uses humor and realness to connect with people, and she’s not shy about her failures. She’s bold, genuine and she just makes people feel like they can do anything they want. I love that. Even though my career looks different from hers, I want to show up similarly in professional spaces. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Rather than one specific moment, I’m really proud of myself for moving to L.A. alone. It wasn’t easy at first and it took a minute to adjust, but I’m really proud that I believed in myself and trusted myself to take the leap. It was the most life-giving summer I have ever experienced. So, I think rather than one singular moment, it’s all the little moments I had driving on I-10 (or I guess, sitting in traffic on I-10) that I was like “oh wait, I’m really living my dream!” 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Cate de Castro

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

From the start  of my time at UGA, I was surprised at how many students would go out of their way to help me. In every organization I joined there was always someone who was willing and excited to see me succeed. These individuals inspired me every day through their servant leadership. They reminded me just how important it is to take the time to reflect on those who made an impact in my life. I think at times it’s easy to take for granted the small things people do that make such an impact in other people’s lives. Little things like taking the time to read over a script or giving professional advice really helped to give me confidence and encouragement. I hope to always pay forward the kindness and support shown to me by my peers.

Who is your professional hero?

As an aspiring producer, I really admire Kevin Feige and his ability to establish a longstanding franchise. What stands out the most for me is his ability to work creatively across numerous projects and manage them in a way that enhances each other. I also respect his clear long-term ambitions for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how they further a larger story without diminishing individual films.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity means pursuing your dreams with determination and perseverance. It means knowing what you want in life and having the courage and drive to reach for it.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

One of my favorite memories from Grady has been coordinating the speed networking event for the Entertainment and Media Studies club, The Industry. It reminded me so much of my freshman year when I was first trying to find my place on campus. The Industry really helped to connect me on campus and get my foot in the door professionally. It surrounded me with other passionate storytellers who went out of their way to encourage and help me develop my passions. Coming back this year, reflecting on how much I’ve grown, and seeing all of the new freshmen who are now in my shoes was extremely rewarding and heartwarming. The Industry has been extremely instrumental during my time at UGA, and as president this year, it means a great deal to me to have so many new and familiar EMST students looking to get involved and find their home on campus.

What are you passionate about?

Filmmaking and storytelling have always played an influential role in my life and have shaped me into the person I am today. There is such power in film to experience the world through someone else, and I am constantly moved by stories’ abilities to shape our identities and perceptions. For me, one of the most beautiful aspects of film is its ability to capture the human experience and express it in a form that can be shared around the world, making us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

YouTube is my favorite social media channel. It’s a really great way for creatives to share their work and engage with viewers. It also provides opportunities to learn new skills — it helped me so much when starting photography and filmmaking. I am constantly inspired by everyone’s work and learning new things every day.

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

This summer, I had the opportunity to work for Manalive Media Group, a startup production company, and found myself frequently pulling from the skills and knowledge I gained from Grady. As an entrepreneurism intern, I managed the Guest Speaker Program, which provided a space for relationship building and constructive conversations with leaders from the worlds of business, finance, media entertainment, government, academia and nonprofit. On the creative side, I collaborated with the film development team to conduct script coverage, develop lookbooks for projects and engage in creative discussions. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

This year I was accepted into UGA’s Blue Key Honor Society, which recognizes students for their scholarship, leadership and service. It was extremely heartwarming to know that I had made a positive impact on my professors, peers and community. My professors and peers have played such a crucial role in developing my passions and professional goals. I am extremely grateful for all that they have invested in me and hope to always continue learning and growing to be the best version of myself.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I love horseback riding and have been riding since I was four years old! I haven’t been able to keep up with it as much in college, but in high school I worked three jobs so I could keep riding because I loved it so much.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

For the past two years I have spent at Grady, Studio 100 has been a hub for creativity, collaboration and innovation. It has served as a meeting place for me to engage with industry professionals and my peers, fostering a culture of encouragement and servant leadership. To me, Studio 100 represents all the best UGA has to offer and has been the heart of my time at UGA. It demonstrates the passion, commitment and dedication the students and faculty have for their community.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Derek Walker

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I wanted to study filmmaking in college, so Grady’s Entertainment and Media Studies program was the perfect match. I was excited that I would get to study writing, directing, editing, cinematography and even a little about the industry itself.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I’m proud that despite the pandemic, I took lots of opportunities to improve my craft and be creative. I worked on even more films and videos for myself and others than even outside of a COVID year.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m a huge Pokemon fan! It’s the only video game franchise I’ve consistently played since 2008.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity to me means the constant pursuit of a goal or improvement. With each project I complete, I look for ways that I can do the job better going forward. I make note of the things I learn and find ways to apply it in the future.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Going to the Virtual Reality lab was one of my most memorable Grady experiences. Fruit Ninja is a lot more exciting when it actually feels like you are swinging the swords and you can do that with VR. VR enhances gameplay and visual experiences in some exciting and interesting ways. It has so much potential that I can’t wait to see realized.

Who is your professional hero?

I admire Donald Glover and how he operates in music, television and comedy. He does not limit himself to one creative avenue.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor/mentor/family member?

This is not a piece of advice that I’ve gotten from one particular source, but through conversations with people and my own personal experience. I learned you will not be “you” forever. We constantly change as people and grow, hopefully for the better. I had a pessimistic feeling that if I didn’t already have a natural affinity for something by now, I would never be good at it. I think that mindset was born from a misguided thought that I wouldn’t continue to develop, learn and improve after a certain age. Yes, there are some goals that will be out of reach forever, but we have the potential to accomplish something great even if we don’t show signs of it when we want to.

What are you planning to do after graduating? What is your dream job?

I would like to create and show run an original fictional series on television or produce feature films. How exactly I will mark out those paths post-graduation is a mystery to me. Right out of college, I’m looking to work in post-production as a video editor or become a writer’s assistant.

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

Beyond the constant dread of living in a pandemic, it feels like my time in college is passing by too quickly and I’m not experiencing it enough. Spending time with people is a lot less spontaneous. There are fewer social events to be a part of and fewer memories to make. I’m going to be graduating soon and it feels like I barely spent any time with my cohort. The prospect that I will never make up this lost time is scary to me. On top of that, how the industry and job opportunities are going to look post COVID-19 is something I don’t want to even think about.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

My favorite social channel is YouTube. The platform is full of so many creative people that I cannot help but be inspired.

Where is your favorite place on campus?

Indoors, it’s the Tate Student Center. If I’m outside, I like the green spaces on North Campus.

EMST student films earn state recognition

Two films by Entertainment and Media Studies students won First Place in their categories in a statewide film competition.

“Pasta La Vista,” a short film written, directed and edited by Luke Webster, received honors as the Best Alfred Hitchcock Homage.

“Michael Davenport: The Armless Artist,” a short documentary produced and directed by Lindsey Smith, earned honors as Best Documentary.

Both films were recognized at the 13th annual BALD Shorts Film Festival 2017, which took place at Georgia College in Milledgeville.

Both also took shape as part of coursework in EMST 4250, Video Production, taught by Stephen Bridges (ABJ ’06) in Fall semester 2016. Bridges was a temporary part-time instructor and is Instructional Designer/Lead Media Producer for the Office of Online Learning at UGA.

“Pasta La Vista” tells a story about the consequences of changing the past. ‘

Christian Baum wrote the story, with Ryan Switzer, Sarah Kennedy and Graham Bohling on camera. Crew consisted of Piper Ruhmkorff (Director of Photography), Samantha Gorman (Gaffer and Assistant Camera), and Rachel Beavers (Producer). It was scored by Andrew Cleveland.

“Forgoing dialogue and sound effects, ‘Pasta la Vista’ pulls the viewer into an uncomfortable and surprisingly menacing place through emotive acting and unnerving audio cues,” said Bridges.

“Making it was an incredibly memorable experience,” said Webster. “I want to thank my friends for making it happen more than anything. This recognition is an added bonus.”

“Michael Davenport: The Armless Artist,” narrates the story of Davenport, who survived a tragic accident at age 13 in which he lost both his arms. Unable to draw even a stick figure before his accident, he found a passion for drawing with his mouth and has been a local inspiration in Athens for decades.

The student crew consists of Lindsey Smith (producer, director, camera, editor), Johnny Morgan (camera, boom operator, audio engineer, music composer), Henry Widjaja (camera), Josh Remmele (camera), Andie Leeds (audio assistant) and Sarah Guirguis (production assistant).

“I was very thankful for another opportunity to share Michael’s story,” said Smith. Earlier this year her film won Best Documentary at the Georgia Communication Association Film Festival.