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'I Expected Nothing and Hoped for Everything'

AJ Young (top) on set. | Photo: Sara Nevels
F&V student AJ Young ('14) won the Academy’s Oscar Experience College Search, handed out statuettes during the Academy Awards ceremony in February, and made it a priority to network while in Los Angeles.

“I expected nothing and hoped for everything,” Young said after he spent a week in LA for The Oscars. He entered The Academy's Oscar Experience College Search back in December 2012. To his surprise, he won the contest along with five other film students from across the country.

Most of the questions he's been answering have been about the many celebrities he's met. However, more and more faculty and students have been asking about any career opportunities.

“Everyone, myself included, was excited to meet and talk to all of the stars, but the thing I focused on was getting as many business cards and contacts as possible,” he said. Young believes a career in the film industry can only be possible through networking. The opportunity at the Oscars was a perfect scenario for Young to connect with future employers right in the heart of the film industry: “I wasn't searching for autographs, I was searching for emails.”

Outside of networking, the experience offered Young an insight on the future of the industry. “We visited Disney Animation Studios,” he said. “Technology for animation and motion capture is getting easier and faster. Seeing the animators, and how an animated film was developed, really made me think about how movies will be made when I'm at the peak of my career.”

Young is looking forward to what comes next. “Hopefully these contacts I've developed will lead to internship or even job opportunities,” he said. His current project is The “Z” Word, a short film with fellow students Kayla Rosenberg ('14) and Jake Lerchen ('15).