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Graham Byers

Graham Byers

BFA, Film and Television Production '22

What inspired you to want to study the cinematic arts?

I have always wanted to use cameras to tell stories, but I wasn't allowed to watch movies as a young child. Instead, I would play with toys in the forest and made up stories with them. My grandmother was also a photographer and so I was introduced to photography at a very young age. One day, while out with my grandmother, she showed me that the make-believe I had crafted with my toys could be photographed. I was so excited to know that I could share these stories through the visual image. I then shared the photographs with my friends and it gave me such joy. Ever since then, I have been in love with the power of the image to evoke emotions in others like my grandmother once showed me and its ability to imagine worlds unknown. 

What scholarship award(s) did you receive directly from SCA?

I received the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Fund for Student Support.

What has been the impact of receiving a scholarship from SCA?

I was raised in a single-parent household with a mother who vowed to provide me the best education possible. She has sold part of our house, worked tireless hours, and even leaned on others for financial support so that I could get a good education. The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Fund Scholarship has alleviated a lot of financial stress on both my mother and me which has meant that she can save money for her retirement and has allowed me to better focus on school and outside projects.  

What activities or student organizations are you involved in outside of the classroom?

- Light Tech at Trojan Event Services 
- Content Creator at Universal Music Group's 1824º 
- Freelance Director/DP
- DP on USC ROTC ads

What has been your favorite class or project at SCA thus far?

My favorite SCA class thus far has been CTPR 294: Directing in Television, Fiction, and Documentary. I love the rotation of professors in that class and the opportunity to try out diverse areas of the industry in our projects.

What is a meaningful experience you've had while at SCA?

Meeting an upperclassman on a 310 set who referred me to Universal Music to work on their 1824º content team.

What are your career goals after graduation?

My goal after graduation is to work as a freelance DP/Director in the doc, commercial, and music video spaces. I would love to travel after graduation as well and possibly live in New York City for a couple of years.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking to apply to SCA?

Be authentically you. Yes, it's cliché, but there's good reason for it. I look around my class and everyone is unique. It is impossible for me to mistake one student for another because we all are each authentic to who we are as individuals and filmmakers which makes SCA such an exciting place to be a part of.