Alumni Profiles & Testimonials

“Our professors showed us how films touch on every aspect of the human experience, why certain films have such cultural relevance, how they inform how we live.” —Jane Miller ’04, playwright and screenwriter

Film and media studies majors pursue diverse careers that draw upon the ideas and concepts they discussed and debated over their four years of undergraduate study. Their creativity and critical thinking ability, which they developed through their course work, has prepared them to address real world challenges.

Here are some of the many extraordinary alumni of Johns Hopkins University’s Program in Film and Media Studies, in their own words.

Zach Byrd, 2019

Zach Byrd, 2019

Class of: 2019

Zach Byrd, 2019

Even though I always knew I wanted to make film and television one day, I honestly had no idea how I would go about doing that. Actually, I still didn’t believe that I would somehow see my path unfold before me when I was accepted into the Hopkins Film trip to LA. How wrong I was! On the first day of the excursion, it felt as if the entire world of the industry was not only visible, but feasible to break into. We met with writers, directors, studio executives, and many other players in the industry who all gave us their time, unique perspectives, and advice. There’s also an alumni panel where the students on the trip get to meet with alum from Hopkins who have made the trek to LA to start their careers. In fact, it was at this event that I made a connection that led to an internship at Plan B Entertainment—yes, I met Brad Pitt—that very summer. There’s almost no chance that I’d be able to put that on my resume without this trip. The trip’s duration was only a single week during Intersession, but the connections I made and the lessons I learned will last a lifetime. Currently, I’m living in Los Angeles developing a television show and feature-length screenplay and prepping for pitch meetings. Hopefully that all goes well. Fingers crossed!

Andrea Massaro

Andrea Massaro

MFA Producers Program at UCLA

Class of: 2015

Andrea Massaro

I remember like it was yesterday when Film and Media Studies professor John Mann told me, “You’d make a great producer.”  FMS was crucial in giving me the confidence to pursue a career in film and television.  With amazing instructors, creative challenges, and incredible support during my four years in the program, I felt prepared to tackle anything the industry threw my way.  I was fortunate to attend  the MFA Producers Program at UCLA, have turned in the first draft of my thesis, and am set to graduate in June 2017.  In the last two years, I’ve produced six projects ranging from a feature to a web series to a music video, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with several high-level producers. I currently intern in development and production at 2.0 Entertainment on the Sony lot, working for a producer I admire who, in turn, admires my ability to take on anything he asks with a positive attitude.  I’ve also started a filmmaking collective with three other FMS graduates here in Los Angeles.  We focus on producing content we’re passionate about.  I wouldn’t have had these opportunities without Hopkins Film and Media Studies.  Because of FMS I have a strong sense of who I am and what I want to  do, and I still hope to become a great producer one day.

Brandt Matthews, 2020

Brandt Matthews, 2020

Bohemia Group

Class of: 2020

Brandt Matthews, 2020

The intersession networking trip in LA gave me a clear idea of how to navigate a career in entertainment and what practical steps I could take now to one day land my dream job. Meeting with alumni and industry professionals from a variety of backgrounds showcased the many different ways a degree from JHU can be utilized, from creative development to production to nonprofit work. The connections I made helped me land an internship at

Skydance Media working in their digital marketing department. There, I was able to see how companies cultivate relationships with fans firsthand while also utilizing my creative skills in new ways. With the support of the Film & Media Studies program, I got further clarity for my career path and was introduced to a city I’m excited to one day call home. I’m currently taking full advantage of the work-from-home life, balancing a production assistant role at Small Giant in NYC with being a remote literary assistant at Bohemia Group in LA.

Giovanna Molina, 2019

Giovanna Molina, 2019

Class of: 2019

Giovanna Molina, 2019

I joined the Hopkins LA trip during my junior year. It was a great opportunity to both get a sense of the city and hear advice from key industry leaders. The trip excelled at showing students a range of work environments and paths within the film industry. I appreciated the trip’s focus on engaging with the JHU film alumni network in LA—especially the young alumni network. I moved to LA this past September to attend UCLA’s Directing MFA program. Upon reflection on my past year in LA, I’m confident that the LA trip aided my decision to pursue graduate school here and encouraged me to keep in touch with my fellow young alums.

Vanessa Richards, 2019

Vanessa Richards, 2019

NBCUniversal

Class of: 2019

Vanessa Richards, 2019

Studio North, Johns Hopkins University’s student-run production company, provides a wide range of opportunities for students to gain hands-on production experience throughout the school year and beyond. Throughout my time as an undergrad, I grew my network as well as my skill set by working on Studio North-funded student projects. It is an excellent way to connect to the film scene at Hopkins, grow as a filmmaker, and meet other students with a similar passion for storytelling through filmmaking.

I was eventually a Studio North grant recipient myself, which allowed me to shoot House, a documentary web series about house music in Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore. House explores regional differences in house music and what it means to be a member of the house music community, and features interviews with DJs, fans, singers, and promoters. I was lucky to work with a great team of friends and family, and I had the support of both Studio North and the Film & Media Studies faculty, who helped me bring this story to life.

I’m currently working in Los Angeles at NBCUniversal as part of the Page Program, a 12-month rotational learning and development experience, with a position on the Universal Pictures’ Creative Development team.