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New media studies alum shares experience from top film school

Published on November 18, 2022

New media studies alum shares experience from top film school

Headshot of Meg Campbell

Eastern alumna Megan Campbell ‘21 returned to her alma mater on Nov. 14 to meet with undergraduates and discuss her experiences attending the nation’s top film school. Currently, she’s a graduate student attending the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts as an aspiring television screenwriter.

“I just finished the first draft of my thesis script, which is an hour-long drama pilot, I’m rewriting a feature length script, I’m rewriting an hour-long pilot and I’m about to start cowriting a feature,” said Campbell. “But it’s nice to be back on Eastern’s campus where I can help inspire students that were once like me.”

Campbell entered college with an unbridled desire to pursue film as her career. Despite the countless hours that she committed to writing, directing and acting in homemade feature films as a child, she could not major in film studies at Eastern, which does not offer that major. However, before graduating with a degree in new media studies, Campbell shared her passion for movies and television with other students by establishing Eastern’s Film and Media Club.

During her visit to campus, Campbell shared some insights and advice for students passionate about film and television. “Read everything and watch everything,” said Campbell. “You can find scripts anywhere. You can find them online, read them, break them down, see how they're similar and just write all the time.”

Campbell encouraged future screenwriters and directors to make friends who are also interested in film. She believes that the creative process becomes much more simplistic when working collaboratively with trusted friends and colleagues. “Write with them, read with them, work with them and encourage each other,” said Campbell.

While applying for graduate school at the USC, Campbell said she was given two standardized prompts and was tasked with writing two five-page features.

Meg Campbell (right) hosts a Q&A discussion panel as Brian Day (left) moderates
Campbell spoke with current students during a discussion moderated by theatre Professor Brian Day.

Initially, Campbell was unsure if she would get into a school that has a 3% acceptance rate. In fact, she told her parents that she would move to Los Angeles to follow her dreams regardless of USC’s decision. Thankfully, in 2022 she was accepted into the writing-intensive section of the program and placed into a cohort of 30 students with similar skillsets. Now in her third semester at USC, Campbell is taking six courses and working three jobs in the Beverly Grove area. The aspiring screenwriter and showrunner recently worked an internship with a Netflix production company, applied edits and revisions to an A-list director’s movie script, and is now developing a pilot for her first television series.

However, the skills that she acquired while attending Eastern created a foundation for her successful writing methods and techniques at USC. “Being really immersed in the theatre program at Eastern, my writing now is very (theatrical) which does give me a different voice that I really appreciate,” said Campbell. “The professors at Eastern went out of their way to help me so much. They gave me independent studies, so many notes and developed my filmmaking and screenwriting well before I even applied to USC.”

Campbell has the option to graduate from USC at the end of the 2023 spring semester. Instead, she’s opting to take additional courses that will bolster her resume, experience and skills as a screenwriter.

Campbell plans to use her experiences as a Rhode Island native to write a comedy/drama series with inspiration from “Shameless,” “Barry” and the “Sopranos”. Even if she becomes the next acclaimed TV producer, Campbell says she will always return to Eastern to inspire the next generation of film and television professionals.

Campbell is motivated to bring her dreams to fruition by having her scripts and ideas fully realized on the big screen. “Even though it doesn’t get to happen all the time, seeing characters that I came up with on-screen is such an incredible feeling.”

Written by Jack Jones