Oglethorpe Helps Petrel to Fly in New Direction

Coming back to the Oglethorpe campus 10 years after graduation was an odd feeling. Much about the university was the same, but I was definitely different. I’d been out in the “real world” for several years and here I was back at the old Petrel’s Nest.

I graduated from OU in 2002 and worked at a local agency that did casting for various film and television projects. After that, I spent six years as a marketing communications manager. I enjoyed certain things about both jobs, but my passions were not being stoked and I knew I needed to make a big change. Was the elusive dream job out there somewhere?

I took some chances and got very close, but things didn’t quite work out. After learning some hard lessons I found myself suddenly without a job. It felt like the whole world was breathing down my neck wondering what I was going to do. A common piece of advice I received was “networking!” “You must network!” “It’s all about who you know!” So, I reached out to the usual friends, family members and OU grads with whom I’d kept in touch; but, I knew I needed to do more.

Reed Barrickman '02

In July 2012 I visited the Oglethorpe Career Services Center. I got some good advice and was pointed to the Alumni Office (networking!). There I met with Barb Henry who impressively rattled off the names of several fellow Petrels who might be able to help me get my career back on track. I also began receiving emails from Career Services about internships and job opportunities that were aligned with my interests.

Sometime in August I got an email about this new program at Oglethorpe called Pegasus Creative. Among other things, they were looking for a social media intern. Social media was a big puzzle piece missing from my marketing communications experience. I decided to apply.

I have spent the majority of the 2012-2013 academic year as the social media specialist of the Pegasus Creative team. Through both research and conversation I’ve gained a much greater understanding of social media and the most effective ways to utilize it. I’ve also been able to exercise my writing, researching and video editing skills. Furthermore, because of Pegasus Creative I got a very valuable freelance job through a connection with a member of the University Communications staff. More experience for my resume!

I also thoroughly enjoyed two Pegasus “field studies.” One was to a local digital marketing firm and the other was an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at CNN. Pegasus Creative is a great way to explore and develop your skills in a real working atmosphere. I also think it’s a great way to help figure out which direction you’d like to take your career. It’s been quite an experience being back at Oglethorpe on a regular basis amongst all of these impressive and quirky students. Luckily they don’t make me feel too old.

Everyone involved in the program has been really helpful and supportive while I pursue some freelance work and continue my “dream job” search. I’m sincerely grateful to Oglethorpe for this great opportunity. I’m proof that your college education doesn’t have to end at graduation. I just wish they’d had Pegasus back when I was a student.

Lights! Camera! Campus MovieFest!

A five minute film is not easy to create, but according to the winners of Oglethorpe’s Campus MovieFest competition, those five minutes of film are worth all of the time and energy put into making them.

“This is my life,” said Christian Hartnett ’14, director of the Best Comedy winner, The Screenplay. “Videos, editing, everything that goes into film. That is what gives me purpose… this (competition) was something I really had to do.”

Campus MovieFest is the world’s largest student film festival and a premier outlet for the next generation of filmmakers. Oglethorpe’s Offices of Campus Life and and Student Government Association were integral in bringing the competition to OU, which began on January 23 and lasted barely a week. During this time, students were supplied with tripods, camcorders, and computers that were essential in bringing their movies to life. Then, after countless hours of writing, acting, filming and editing, students submitted their five-minute movies to CMF officials.

Best Picture director Hillary Heath '13 and writer Weatherly Richardson '13.

“It was a lot of fun and I think we learned a lot from the experience,” said theatre major Hillary Heath ’13, who directed the Best Picture winner, Getting Brain. “I’ve never shot a film before, (and) it was interesting to switch from theatre to film… I hope OU keeps doing this.”

On Thursday, February 7, 16 teams had the unique opportunity to screen their films in front of their peers. The overall winners (Trinity Pond Productions for Untitled Love Story, the Best Drama winner; Team Awesomesauce for The Screenplay, winner for Best Comedy; and Doing Stuff Badly for Getting Brain, Best Picture) are moving on to the next round, Hollywood!, where they will compete with winners from other colleges and universities around the country.

Best Comedy Director Christian Hartnett '14

“All of a sudden, my movie pops up, and I jumped three feet in the air,” said Christian. “All the hard work was worth it.”

The competition has had a tremendous impact on its winners, who are grateful for the experience and for those who offered help along the way.

“(Adjunct professor) David Patterson taught me everything I know,” said Christian. ”He’s a great mentor.” Weatherly Richardson ’13, the writer of Getting Brain, similarly credited adjunct faculty Jessica Handler and her screenwriting class, which introduced her to the idea of professionally pursuing film.

“(Hillary and I) started our own production company and we’ve been wanting to do these films for a while,” said Weatherly.  “I found out we’d won on Twitter, because I had to work. We kind of weren’t expecting this at all.” 

All of the competitors interviewed expressed a desire to produce more films in the future and I, for one, am excited to see them. Congratulations to our winners, and best of luck in Hollywood!

Watch all Oglethorpe students’ film entries here!