Murray 1693 Scholar
Oklahoma City, OK (Casady High School)
William and Mary really seemed to be the ideal fit. The students were incredibly smart and talented, but were also a vibrant group of individuals with a wide array of interests outside of the classroom. The friendliness around campus overwhelmed me. The rich sense of tradition on campus was extremely appealing as well. William and Mary is a beautiful and historic school with an incredible faculty and a student body that is both intelligent and fun-loving... what more could anyone ask for in a college experience?
Literary and Cultural Studies: Film Concentration (with a Minor in French)
Extracurriculars at W&M
- My biggest involvement at William & Mary was Alma Mater Productions, the event programming board on campus. I was the chair of the Contemporary and Cultural Issues Committee. I loved taking a leadership role in bringing notable speakers to campus such as RENT star Anthony Rapp, MTV personality Gideon Yago, Julie Powell (author of Julie & Julia), Jamie Tworkowski (founder of To Write Love on Her Arms).
- Other involvements included:
- William & Mary Classic Movie Club - President and Co-Founder
- Alpha Phi Omega - co-ed community service fraternity
- Equestrian Club
- Student Organization for Animal Protection ("SOAP")
- Swing Dance Club
- I also participated in a variety of filmmaking activities and competitions at William & Mary- such as the "24 Speed" 24 hour filmmaking contest which is held each year.
- A highlight of my time at William & Mary was when "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence (a W&M alum!) visited campus last Spring to judge a short filmmaking competition, and my team's film made it into the Top Five! The film was also selected for promotional use by the William & Mary Admissions Office.
Research at W&M
- My Freshman year, I got involved with the planning of the inaugural Williamsburg Global Film Festival, which was held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebration for Williamsburg's historic Kimball Theatre. The festival had now become a yearly event- and I helped coordinate the 3rd annual festival, which had a "Global Film and Music" theme. The Global Film Festival was a weekend-long event which consists of screenings, musical performances, receptions, and q&a sessions with visiting scholars, filmmakers, and other VIPs. All aspects of the event were organized by a team of student coordinators, under the guidance of Professor Tim Barnard. I got the chance to experience all aspects of the film festival planning process, including graphic design and publicity work, planning parties and receptions, writing and editing program and website content interviewing filmmakers, generating podcasts and promotional videos- and, of course, lots of exciting hands-on experience during the actual festival.
- I got another "behind-the-scenes" film festival experience while studying abroad in Galway Ireland, where I was able to volunteer for the 21st Annual Galway Film Fleadh (Gaelic for "Festival")
- I also participated in the Williamsburg Theatre Project, an endeavor to collect and archive all of the available data about the history of movie-going in the Williamsburg area. This was done through conducting oral history interviews with the citizens of Williamsburg in order to capture their memories of movie-going in the area, as well as a thorough examination of local newspaper archives to find film reviews and theatre ads.
I wrote, directed and edited a 30 minute short narrative film, Rough Draft.
Where am I now?
I am in film graduate school (funded by a merit fellowship) at the Tisch School for the Arts of New York University. My Murray Project, the feature film Rough Draft, has been shown at festivals in Los Angeles, Virginia, New York and Oklahoma, and won the Best First Feature award at the Williamsburg (Brooklyn, not Virginia) Film Festival.
I spent my last year at NYU working simultaneously in the office of producer Harriet Newman Leve. I assisted in the development of several film and television projects she has in the works, as well as with her Broadway endeavors. My time was mostly spent working on the production of "ANN" at Lincoln Center, which starred Holland Taylor (and resulted in my first-ever credit in a Broadway Playbill, which was pretty nifty).
I was also able to attend the Tony Awards in conjunction with Holland Taylor's nomination for "ANN," and it was a truly memorable evening.
This summer, I made the move from "ANN" to "ANNIE" (because that's not confusing or anything). I work for the show's executive producers, so I spend my afternoons in the production office, and my evenings at the theater for the shows. They may say to never work with children or animals in showbiz, but ANNIE's got plenty of both. This means there's never a dull moment, but also a lot of fun to be had. We also had Jane Lynch with us as Miss Hannigan for the summer, so that was a busy and exciting time.
I have recently begun working for ANNIE's director, Tony-winner James Lapine. I will be doing more work for him this fall, which is great since he has several new stage productions in the works, and is also involved with Disney's film adaptation of "Into the Woods."