Works created by students from Grady College’s Department of Entertainment and Media Studies received high praise in this year’s Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Media Arts Festival competition.
Benjamin Otten, a student at EMST in Athens, Georgia, won an Excellence Award in the contest’s storytelling category for his short film “As it Lies.” Likewise, Sherry Liang, EMST student from Johns Creek, Georgia, and MFA student Taylor Potter (AB ’21), from Acworth, Georgia, both won Excellence Awards in the half-hour narrative/television short category. Liang was recognized for her film “Cheater, Cheater”, while Potter was recognized for her film “Wheelhouse”.
Each year, this competitive challenge receives more than 1,500 submissions from students and faculty around the world. The BEAa non-profit organization based in Washington D.C., focuses on providing information about media production and professional advancement to educators, students, and professionals around the world.
Otten’s “As it Lies” Wins Excellence Award, Narrative Category
Otten’s “As it Lies” tells the story of a grief-stricken golfer, Phil, who notoriously doesn’t play it when he’s on or off the course. However, that habit is challenged with the arrival of a divot from Phil’s late father, and he must decide whether to become the person his family needs him to be or fall further into the bunker.
Otten, who began writing his screenplay in Professor Matthew Nolte Evans’ class, said he found a lot of inspiration in both films like ‘Field of Dreams’ which use sports as metaphors and in his own experience. while playing with his father on the golf course. .
“I was really thrilled to see it selected as a finalist in the festival’s most competitive category,” Otten said of his film. “It really assured me that the amount of work that went into the project (from development to publication) was worth it. It also encouraged me to produce more work to submit and eventually land a top prize in the coming year.
Liang’s ‘Cheater, Cheater’ Wins Excellence Award, Half-Hour Narrative/Television Short Category
Liang’s dark comedy series “Cheater, Cheater” follows a student journalist’s investigation of her competitive high school‘s cheating scandals, which lead to out-of-control networks of deception and corruption.
Liang, who credits Professor Evans for helping her find her voice and confidence in screenwriting, drew inspiration for the script from reminiscing about her own high school experience.
“Writing a screenplay about the absurdities of attending a competitive high school costs a lot less than therapy,” Liang said. “Four years later, I’m still processing my high school experience – primarily characterized by crippling academic pressures, but I also have fond memories of friends, family, and growing up in a vibrant Asian community that I hoped capture in narrative form.”
It was Liang’s first time submitting a script to anything outside of the classroom, she explained. For this reason, Liang said she was flattered that people found the story entertaining.
“There’s a long way to go for history,” Liang said. “I’ve already rewritten parts of it. But I am proud of me for starting a script I’ve put off for so long… two years, to be exact.
Potter’s “wheelhouse” wins the Excellence Award, Narrative Short/Half-Hour Television Category
Potter’s screenplay tells the story of Dani Brubaker, a failed screenwriter. After returning from Los Angeles to his humble origins in Georgia, Brubaker is given one last chance to prove himself– in a reality TV show. However, there are three problems with her potential opportunity to salvage her career: Dani knows nothing about cars, she’s forced to move back in with her parents, and the show is on the verge of collapse.
Potter, who credits Constance Burge of the MFA Narrative Media Writing program for her help with the project, came up with the idea for the story after working on a reality TV show in the spring of 2020.
“It was an absolutely crazy time, and I thought to myself, this show writes itself,” Potter said. “Last fall, during my first semester of MFA, I decided to write what I know and write this script, which incorporates a fictionalized version of my experience working on a reality TV show. “
This is the second year in a row that Potter has won at the BEA festival, sharing last year’s overall top prize in the student category with Ana González (AB ’21) for their TV pilot “Buyer’s Remorse.”
Potter said she was “so excited and grateful to have a screenplay accepted and awarded at BEA two years in a row”.
“Receiving an award from them really means a lot to me and helps me affirm that I’m on the right track,” Potter added. “It’s also great fun to share this experience with another Grady student, Sherry Liang, who also received an Excellence Award. Let’s go to write the next one!”
Dated: March 21, 2022
Author: Jackson Schroeder, [email protected]