By Kevin McKeever
For Alex Beatty, The University of Alabama stood out because he could jump right into what he loved. Some schools do not allow students to start production classes until their sophomore or junior year.
“But one of the key things Alabama had to offer, that a lot of other places didn’t, was the ability to take film production classes your freshman year," he said. "So that’s one of the major reasons I ended up there.”
Along with the classwork, Alabama is one of only two universities in the nation which own a public radio station and a commercial television station under the umbrella of the Digital Media Center. At Alabama, Beatty took advantage of New College, giving him a much more customizable curriculum towards his interests in the film industry.
One class that stood out to him was a four-week advanced film production class with Tom Cherones, Alabama alumni and long-time director of Seinfeld. In addition, production classes taught by Dr. Rachel Raimist, and working alongside Keith Dobbins, prepared him for his career after Alabama. Along with classes, the years spent working for the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater as a camera operator, director, and then working his way up to video manger shaped his skill set and prepare him for his first job.
Beatty graduated in 2014 then moved out to Los Angeles as a freelance worker. He had always known that he would focus on his freelance company, Project One Studios. In order to better prepare himself, he took a class at The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). After getting involved there, he found out they had extra videos that needed to be edited, so he volunteered to help. After doing outstanding work, it led to a job offer from the ASC which opened doors to get freelance work on short films and other various jobs. He gained a ton of knowledge working alongside industry professionals just because he volunteered to prove his worth. Beatty still works for the ASC and will soon move to Orlando, Florida, to expand Project One Studios. If he could give any advice to undergrads at The University of Alabama, he would tell them to take the leap of faith and move out to Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, or any city with production jobs.
"Don’t be afraid to take that first job, even if it’s not exactly what you want to do," he said. "If it’s anything remotely involved in the film industry, don’t think you’re above it.”