OK Keyes: Most Likely to Empower Women Through Film
Third-year Film Studies and Media Arts student, O.K. Keyes attributes her inspiration for pursuing a career in cinematography to an island nation in the far east.“It’s Japan’s fault,” she explains. “I was getting frustrated with physics and on a whim, I decided to take Japanese, which introduced me to animation.”
That spontaneous shift in focus has served Keyes well, allowing her to showcase her passions through film. Seeking to produce nuanced portrayals of LGBT and female characters, many of Keyes’ films feature strong women in their storylines. Keyes even served as the di-rector of photography for USC’s official “It Gets Better” video, which came out last spring. Speaking about the experience, Keyes remarks, “I didn’t realize how support-ive President Pastides was of the LGBT community.”
This budding cinematographer’s work has not gone without recognition. Keyes’ films have won numerous awards, most recently, the Golden Tripod award for Cinematography at the 2013 Campus MovieFest. Her film, “Black and White,” which depicted racial tension through an exploration in innate rhythm, also won the 2012 Moving Image Research Collections’ Award for Creative Editing.
It is apparent that Keyes is motivated by her love for the craft. In her spare time, she works with local elemen-tary and middle school students to promote media and how it can reconstruct stereotypes. Trying to turn stu-dents, “from consumers into producers,” Keyes believes her work with students will teach them to fight cyber-bullying and overcome obstacles. As for what is coming next, Keyes says, “My dream is to be a cinematographer for a television series. I love awesome female hero char-acters, and there just aren’t enough on TV right now.”To watch some of Keyes’ work, visit USC’s “It Gets Better” video on YouTube.
Stephen Howden: Most Likely to Build Cars from Scratch
Imagine a car that is completely personalized and suited to your taste-from the way it looks to its handling and perfor-mance, it is designed by you from the bottom up.That dream may soon become a reality for third year Mechanical Engineering student Stephen Howden. Aspiring to construct his own cars, Howden began taking wielding and braking systems classes at York Technical College over the summer when he was 17. Now, nearly finished with a trike project that began in August 2011, he documents and features the progress on his YouTube chan-nel “Mechanical Attraction.”
His passion for constructing complex machines first arose as a child, building models of cars and planes. “Building cars has always been an interest of mine. Growing up, I wanted to be the one with the exotic car that people would pause and point at,” he remembers.
Putting that dream into action and serving as the project officer of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Howden is now trying to garner support for the construction of a Legends racecar. “I’m trying to get the club to take an outdated racecar, fix it up and possibly make it street legal,” he notes. “Hopefully we can get permission to park it in front of Russell House.”
Summarizing his passions and long-term goals, Howden interprets his love of construction as being part of larger inter-ests, stating, “I love to take an image in my head and make it reality. I also love inspiring people… I love to take part in other peoples’ interests, and understand why they enjoy them.” With those motivations, it is clear Howden is well on his way to building those visions a reality.
Wilyem Cain: Most Likely to Inspire Others
The sheer amount of passion and devotion that Wilyem Cain emits for representing underprivileged students in his commu-nity is enough to give you goose-bumps. A second-year Political Science student from Winnsboro, SC, Cain speaks openly and honestly about his background and how it has influenced what he hopes to accomplish in the future. “My great-grandma died and it devastated me. I became an angry black male and my mom told me I should take time and help kids. On the first day, a little girl asked me to be her friend, and you can’t be angry anymore when a little girl asks you that.”
At that moment, Cain transformed his anger into motiva-tion. Realizing his responsibility as a role model for the children he was helping through the Boys and Girls Club, he began to work harder in school and eventually earned a full scholarship to USC. Now the #1 motivational speaker for United Way, Cain has raised over $19 million to build a teen help center for his com-munity. Recognizing the hopelessness of his hometown and the troubling amounts of violence children are exposed to every day, Cain believes no child should have to go home feeling afraid, noting, “When you know someone cares, you do better. Every time I raise one dollar, I know I am helping someone who needs it.”
Cain cites his greatest influence as James Brown, the Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club. “He became really successful, and began to give back to the kids. That’s what it means to be doing the right thing and to be a good per-son,” said Cain. Planning to attend the USC School of Law after graduation, Cain hopes to one-day have the capacity to represent the people of his community and give them a voice. He states, “I want to go to law school and eventually work my way into politics. I want to represent kids and be a spokesperson for my community, even become a civil rights activist.” From the extraordinarily inspiring way he speaks of his ambitions, it is clear that Wilyem Cain is well on his way to achieving those goals.
Most students can’t say they do cardio workouts twice a day, lift weights every other day and attend training meetings weekly, while also juggling academic classes and weekend competitions. But those students aren’t members of USC’s Bodybuilding and Fitness Club.
A group of like-minded students, members of the Bodybuilding and Fitness Club dedicate their time on campus to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst its members and throughout the greater USC community. Each year, the club hosts a variety of fitness activities and competitions on campus including a fall octathalon, strength meet and most recently the Mr. and Miss USC Fitness Competition (held this past Saturday, April 13). For third-year Hospitality Management student Heather Cooper, this was her first time competing and training for a fitness competition. She says, “Previously, I had never trained for anything more than a 5K.”
Participation in the club’s athletic events isn’t a requirement to join. In fact, there are many ways for non-competitive students to become involved. Several members volunteer to organize and run the various competitions. Harrison Greenlaw, former faculty advisor says, “We try to get all the members to learn, whether they are entering or just officiating.” Some students, like club officer and second–year Exercise Science student Ron Doiron, take advantage of the active community while training for other goals. Currently training for a strength meet coming up in late summer, Ron shares his knowledge with club members, imparting his straightforward approach to training. He explains, “It’s nothing specific, I just hit what needs to be hit.”
Most importantly, the club is committed to helping everyone achieve their own personal fitness goals and is open to students of all fitness levels. Members generally workout on their own time, but some club meetings are used as training sessions. Club workouts are aimed at teaching exercises that focus on certain parts of the body as well as safety, proper form and other important aspects of training. The more experienced club members help to train and guide newer members.
The club’s focus reaches beyond achieving the right exercise and training regimen. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is important to providing the proper nutrients to reach a specific physical goal. Second–year Exercise Science student, Jordan Hall finds maintaining a low carb, high protein diet and incorporating a lot of vegetables has helped her ease into the rigors of competing for the Mr. and Miss USC competition.
If you are looking to begin a healthier lifestyle or meet a community of active students on campus, checkout the Bodybuilding and Fitness Club during their weekly meetings on Wednesday at 6:30 pm in Blatt 107 or online at carolinafitness.com.
TRY THIS QUICK ROUTINE BEFORE YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Train like the Bodybuilding and Fitness Club. They perform a group warm-up at the beginning of each training meeting.
- 30 arms circles (15 each)15 yds High Knees
- 10 slow push-ups
- 15 yards Butt Kicks
- 10 Deep Air Squats
- 15 yds Straight-Leg Kicks
By: Riley Carithers
Most students complain about attending class just fifteen hours a week. Students in the Master of Fine Arts Acting program however put in enough hours to more than double that of a regular course load. Beginning at 10 a.m. and ending as late as 11 p.m., mornings are filled helping teach undergraduate courses, followed by afternoons in class perfecting their own techniques and evenings spent in rehearsal. If that weren’t enough, the already packed schedule is supplemented by weekends spent in more rehearsal. This schedule alone shows the commitment, true dedication and passion these students have for their craft.
The MFA program at USC is a graduate degree at USC that focuses on a specialization in acting, making it the only program of its kind in the state. Headed by professors Robyn Hunt and Steve Pearson, the three-year degree program works like a small company. A select group of students are accepted every two years through national auditions. The students then spend two academic years training at USC before using the third year for a professional internship.
Built upon the idea that, “all training is actor training,” students in the program enroll in a combination of traditional acting classes, which may for example, focus on Shakespeare, but range to voice training and even brushing up on skills such as clowning. The integration of actor training is part of what makes USC’s program so unique. Professor Robyn Hunt explains,
“When I went to school for my MFA it was very different – all the training was so separate. One of the things we attempt to do here is make sure that it all addresses that moment when you go on stage and have all systems be ‘go’.”
Professor’s Hunts MFA physical movement class, based upon a philosophy taken from Japanese actor training, is just one example of the combination of techniques and influences that give the program its distinction. Through various movement experiments, both formal and improvised, the actors work to increase the physical clarity and conviction in all they do on the stage, and to continually enlarge the degree to which their minds and bodies work as one. And rather than try to show emotion, they continue to experiment with finding ways to 'take action,' so the resulting sensations are close--though not exactly like--daily life. First year MFA student Trey Hobbs explains the work, “deal[s] with how instead of showing a feeling - how do we just ‘do’ and how do we make our bodies express what our mind and imagination is capable of.”
The long hours and different teaching styles prepare the students to graduate abilities to perform across all platforms, in stage, film or commercial and even with the credentials to teach at the college level.
First-year MFA student, Cory Lipman, explains, “What is wonderful about the program is that regardless of the medium, the education that you are getting is learning to be truthful in imaginary circumstances whether you are doing film or stage, that is at the core.”
With such an unusual course load, much different than a stereotypical acting studio, it seems fitting that their building is a bit out of the ordinary, too. A pair of unassuming, oversized, white doors tucked away on the horseshoe mark the entrance to USC’s Center for Performance Experiment. Enter the doors and behold a collection of tall scaffolding structures, framed by sheets of neutral fabric hanging from the ceiling. There isn’t a stage in sight– and although it may appear similar to an over-sized playground, the MFA acting students’ talent makes it clear their work is much more than child’s play.
Professor Steve Pearson, explains its significance, “[the program] is sort of centered around this space. All of working around theater is an experiment, with any kind of art - you are working on change and you are working on something that you don’t know what the out come is going to be.”
The MFA Actors perform throughout the semester, putting on their own productions and performing in some of the Theater Departments mainstage shows. Whether an experimental production or a well-known comedy, their performances are surely worth the experience, for as Professor Robyn Hunt explains, “Acting isn’t about whether the actor feels the emotion, it is about whether the audience feels the emotion, that is who you are trying to change.”
MOST LIKELY TO: run the next Universal Pictures
While studying abroad in Jonkoping, Sweden, fourth-year marketing and management major, Bryant White, learned more than just a few foreign words. “I constantly asked myself – ‘What am I here for?’” and decided that, “there must be more to life, more that I can be doing.” Realizing that there is a significant purpose for everyone, Bryant’s journey led him to found A. Bevy. Productions in September 2009. A. Bevy. Productions is a non-profit organization founded upon three pillars; change, progress and growth. The company adheres to a philosophy of positive change, working to influence others and help them to fulfill their life purpose while creating a lasting legacy at USC.
Entering college as a freshman, Bryant claims, “Life had somewhat come to a halt for me. I realized that the world was much bigger than I grew up to think.” This realization, he credits as the motivation behind his desire to give back through A. Bevy Productions. White describes the beginnings as slow, yet effective, enabling him to focus his efforts on one venture at a time and achieve successful results. A. Bevy’s first project was awarding a scholarship to a USC student, made possible through the sponsorship of USC’s National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC).
During his last semester at USC, Bryant plans to focus on establishing A. Bevy. Productions as a strong presence on campus. A. Bevy. is now an official USC student organization with a full executive board, membership, and calendar of events. This fall, their biggest event is the annual MOVell Film Festival and are planning an ‘Impress. Your. Self Scholarship Mixer,’ for the spring.
After graduation, Bryant plans to attend graduate school to earn a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in sound design and music technology, and pursue his dream of working in television and film post-production. Ultimately, he desires to form his own production conglomerate, composed of the memorable people he has encountered along the way. He has lofty goals; hoping the company will rival major studios such as Universal Pictures.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Think for yourself, not through others - and whatever you do in life, be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons... the right purpose.”
For additional info on A.Bevy, check
out www.abevyproductions.com or www.abevyminds,tumblr.com
Ashley Nicole Davis & Madeline ‘Maddie’ McDowell
MOST LIKELY TO GET HIRED BEFORE GRADUATION
Fourth-year advertising majors, Ashley Davis and Maddie McDowell, credit their decisions to attend an out-of-state university with fostering the personal growth that indirectly, led to their selection as two of only thirteen students chosen for the American Advertising Federation Initiative Future Board.
The American Advertising Federation Initiative Future Board, a creative think tank, works to cultivate upcoming talent in the marketing and advertising industry. Composed of students nationwide, members receive hands-on experience in marketing communications and work alongside industry executives. They will be working alongside a team of two other students and five Initiative agency executives on the campaign account for the fast-food chain, Arby’s.
The girls credit USC and their professor, Bonnie Drewiany, who nominated them, for helping them get their foot in the door of a highly competitive industry. “USC has afforded me countless opportunities for success,” says McDowell. As a U101 Peer Leader, in her last year at Carolina, she hopes to take the opportunity to give back. “It is my goal to help facilitate the transition from high school to college for my 18 students. It is my hope that they will grow to love Carolina as much as I do.” Upon graduation, she plans to enter the workforce as a copywriter in an advertising agency upon graduation.
As for Davis, she plans to embark on a career in Account Services at an advertising agency. She says her experiences at Carolina, “...have helped me become a better leader in so many facets of the Carolina community and beyond. I’ve been able to realize my potential. Most importantly, I know the person I want to be and the impact I hope to have on others, no matter what my surroundings may be.”
When facing the new challenges as a part of the Futures Board, the girls plan to jump into their work head first, sticking to their mottos of, “Don’t hesitate” and “Say yes.”
Johnny McClurkin & Adam Roper
MOST LIKELY TO: be endorsed by Shaun White
When third-year retail management majors Johnny McClurkin and Adam Roper founded the t-shirt company, Forever Determined, they wanted their brand to have a meaning that set them apart from the rest. Influenced by the culture of action sports, they decided on a name that indicated the ideology to never give up on your dreams.
Roper says, “Our clothing brand boasts something that no other brand does: the idea that being forever determined will ultimately lead to success.”
The company consists of four members: Dan Frey (main owner/founder), McClurkin & Roper (co-owners) and Jesse Rice (promotions). McClurken and Roper initially teamed up with Frey during their freshman year while attending USC Upstate. McClurkin claims it was his passion for creativity and drawing that motivated his decision to head all media and design projects for the company. As for Roper, natural financial savviness led him to his current position of managing the money. Each individual group member sticks to working on ‘what they know best,’ which, they credit as one of the reasons for their success.
Forever Determined merchandise boasts a west coast vibe, similar to what one would find at PacSun, and attracts clients interested in board or action sports. According to McClurkin, FD’s greatest accomplishments thus far include being feature designers in Fashion Board’s Student Designer Competition, as well as completing their website and online store. Both of these helped the company introduce their products to the greater public.
As for the future, McClurkin and Roper plan to compete in the Student Designer Competition again in the spring and will continue to promote their brand to the USC community and beyond. After graduation, both intend to make a full career out of their work with Forever Determined and hope to build it to a level that attracts endorsements from famous athletes and celebrities.
On advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Roper says, “Stick with what you know. If you dream of something, that idea may be something that others relate to, so why not take a chance?”
Check out their Facebook page: Forever Determined
By: Jared Owenby
Pedro De Abreu: Most Likely to Succeed
Pedro De Abreu was born in Brazil, into a life of poverty and hardship. Many times he roamed the streets wondering what he would do in life and how he would be able to do it. In 2005, at the age of 15, he moved to the United States not knowing any English and realized the odds were against him. However, the resilient young man was ready for whatever battles he would face on the road to success. Today, Pedro has achieved more in the few years he has been in the US than most people do in a lifetime.
After high school, Pedro moved to Los Angeles where, along with two partners, he helped found a multi-media company before deciding to attend university. Back in South Carolina, Pedro established the Check Mate Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches chess and leadership to children.
Currently in his third-year year at USC, Pedro is triple majoring in Business Economics, Management and Organizational Leadership, all the while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. For all his accomplishments, the Coca-Cola Foundation and USA Today named Pedro as South Carolina’s New Century Scholar for 2011.
Even with all the success and rewards he has gotten for his hard work, Pedro will admit that his greatest joy in life is helping others achieve their goals and dreams.
“What keeps me motivated is having the awareness that I can make a difference and that I can impact someone’s life. One of my goals is to let people know that they can do the same thing.”
In recent years he has become a sought after motivational speaker, teaching topics of self-awareness, self-motivation, and achieving goals. Here are five things Pedro wants USC students to remember on their journey to success:
- Know where you want to go in life
- Be passionate
- Be patient
- Get rid of low self-esteem
- Know that you are capable of achieving anything
If you would like to know more about Pedro De Abreu or his upcoming events visit pedrodeabreu.net or facebook.com/pedrodeabreu.
Chuck Teez: Most Likely to be Heard on the Radio
Oh Boy! South Carolina has a new MC on the rise, and he doesn’t plan on stopping until he gets to the top. Fourth-year advertising student Charles Washington, aka Chuck Teez, and sometimes Mr. Star Move, is making moves to become the next big thing in the rap game. Born in Japan and raised in a military family, Charles has seen a lot of the world. The majority of his upbringing was spent in Charleston, South Carolina, however Charles traveled the globe as a youngster gaining experiences he would later use to create his music.
Charleston, known as Chucktown to many, was the birthplace of the name Chuck Teez.
“My friends called me Chuck, and they started playing around and calling me Chuck Teez - it kind of stuck from there,” he says. Charles tells G&B he came to USC to ‘put on’ for the Gamecock Nation and will focus on his degree for the time being.
The young rapper has some pretty impressive achievements to date. He has worked with old school rap legend Dana Dane, best known for his single, ‘Cinderfella’, released in 1987. In fall 2011, Chuck’s single, ‘Star Move’, was first played at a Dallas Cowboys football game. After recording the song, Chuck thought it would be a good fit for the Cowboys so he started calling the franchise to promote it. It took a while to find the right person to get his song played, but he didn’t give up. “That’s my mind set– I’m always thinking outside the box, never thinking local, always thinking global.”
Chuck is currently working on an album with the goal of eventually landing a deal with a record label. As for the future, he plans to focus more on promotion and a possible tour. For more information about Chuck Teez and what he is up to, visit facebook.com/TheRealChuckTeez, @Chuck_Teez, or chuckteez.com.
Katie Marissa: Most Likely to Defy Gravity
From Macbeth to Hairspray, fourth-year theatre student, Katie Marissa, knows how to capture an audience with genuine acting and believable emotion. Before becoming an actress, Katie was heavily involved with dance. She first began dancing at the age of five, which led to cheerleading and eventually acting. Clearly Katie first performed in front of an audience at a very young age, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
She has already built an excellent resume of projects that include eight different plays, films, and commercials. Katie is also trained in basic stage combat and aerial silk, a type of performance found in shows such as Cirque du Soleil, in which an artist performs acrobatics while hanging from a piece of fabric, free of any harnesses or safety nets.
After graduation, Katie plans on moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. Her goal is to find work in film rather than theater, but if need be, she has no problem getting back on stage and performing.
“I don’t think I’m really in a position right now to be too picky. I like doing stage and there is plenty of it out in California.” Currently, she is working on a student film, ‘The Saint,’ a supernatural/action short about a duo named The Saint and Gabi. Having completed the first episode of ‘Outpost 409’, which can be viewed on You Tube, there is talk about continuing the sci-fi comedy web series. To learn more about Katie and her upcoming projects, you can check out videos, and more at her website, www.katiemarissa.com.
Know what Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, a dubstep re-mix, acoustic guitar and a new age yo-yo have in common? All were elements of Matt Nichols’ dynamic performance at this year’s Carolina Productions event USC’s Got Talent. The fourth-year marketing and management student created a multi-faceted performance that surprised the judges and won over the audience. Matt led off with an acoustic rendition of Gotye’s famed song before changing directions and performing a mastery of yo-yo tricks, choreographed to a dubstep remix version of the song.
A world ranked yo-yoer, Matt wasn’t even planning on auditioning for USC’s Got Talent. Being one of only four total men in a Women’s and Gender Studies class, he befriended one of the only other guys, Erik Telford. Their meeting was serendipitous - Erik is the special programs coordinator for Carolina Productions. While discussing the upcoming event one day, on a whim Erik asked Matt about any special talents, to which he replied, “Yeah, but if I tell you, I’ll have to show you.”
Matt picked up yo-yoing as a teen, he quickly progressed from the basics to creating original tricks of his own. As a highly skilled master yo-yoer or “Yo-Yo Lord,” the name his roommate likes to introduce him as, Matt has attended the world championships multiple times. The key to developing such a unique hobby, he says, is that “you have to learn to tie in your hobbies with life. You know I’d practice watching Law and Order or when I had down time working. A lot of people say ‘you must have a lot of free time’ – heck no.”
Playing the acoustic guitar and singing were something Matt found later in high school but is a passion which he has pursued relentlessly. However, his preliminary audition solely featured his yo-yo skills. Not until his long-time friend and mentor, Frick, argued to him, “You can’t win with yo-yoing, Matt. You might win with singing and guitar, but you’re not going to win with yo-yoing,” did Matt envision a way to combine his two talents.
Minutes before going on stage, Matt made some changes to the MC’s introduction of his performance, altering it to highlight his guitar playing and not his yo-yo skills. A surprisingly relaxed Matt played to his strengths; involving the audience and using the surprising twist of acoustic guitar and vocal performance to dubstep choreographed yo-yo tricks in order to clinch the winning title.
Matt’s easy-going and talkative personality make it no surprise that he became a crowd favorite. About his performance, Matt says, “I wanted to show the judges I’m multi-talented. I wanted to pull the blindfold over them and surprise the heck out of them. Luckily it worked.”