Writing Samples

Scripts

The script for Hands of Flame (the award-winning thesis film) and other short scripts ranging in genre from fantasy, science fiction, action to drama for both live action and animation are available on request.

Issues Produced as Managing Editor

The Gender and Sexuality Issue (May 2014)

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Illustration by Andrew Philpott

(featuring: The Modern Civil Rights Movement, The Stigmas of Being Bisexual, and Safe Sex in All Respects)

 The December 2013 Issue

(featuring: Exploring Sexual Assault at RIT, The Modern Cocaine Dealer, and Rochester Bus-ted)

 The November 2013 Issue

(featuring: The Turning Point in Education, Unspoken Abuse, and Male Contraception)

 The May 2013 Issue

(featuring: Food Violations at RIT, What’s Next in Sustainability, and Anonymous Perspective)

Articles

Award Winning Editor’s Note: The Innovation Game

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the word ‘innovation’ over the last four years, I would have enough money to pay back my student loans. It seems to be the administration’s favorite buzzword. A quick google search for the words RIT innovation brings up about 1.5 million results. It’s fair to say that most people, including myself, are sick of the word.

Yet the crazy thing is, looking back, they were right all along.

From my experience, most freshmen enter college starry-eyed. There is nothing they cannot do and they will not stop until they change the world. Throughout the four or more years here, people grow up. They learn that the world is unfair; to succeed is difficult and to make a truly significant change is almost impossible. To be honest, it’s necessary to learn these lessons to mature as an adult.

But that does not mean we should stop trying to change what’s wrong around us.

The Webster definition of innovation is, “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods;” or thinking in new ways.

It’s not about grand technological breakthroughs or sweeping social changes. It’s about approaching an old question with a new answer, it’s about challenging an assumption, being a leader and doing what no one has done before. As cliché as it sounds, never let go of that starry-eyed freshmen inside, that force of energy and passion which pushes us to want to be innovators, to be the change we want to see.

Yes, it is important to be realistic, to know the limits and to know that you must start at the bottom. Yet that is just temporary. When the opportunity presents itself, I encourage you to be daring, to break from the path. It will be frightening, it will be difficult, but it will be worth it. All great journeys are.

Think big, think small, it does not matter which as you are thinking new. That is how change happens. That is what it means to be an innovator.

The Students Behind the Sirens

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Illustration by Elisa Plance

The fire rages in the hot July sun. Flames consume the house. Thick, black smoke rises into the air. In the streets of Chili, N.Y., a house fire is spreading. Matt Pillsbury, an RIT Fine Art Photography alumnus and Zach Roberts, a third year Criminal Justice major, both volunteer firefighters for the Chili Fire Department and volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMT) for the RIT Ambulance (RITA), rush to the scene in a blazing red truck, prepared to handle whatever awaited them.

They arrive at the scene and immediately join the efforts of several other trucks. The chief instructs them to drill a ventilation hole on the roof. Chainsaw in hands, they ascend to the roof. In the heat of the moment, they have to remain focused and level-headed at all times, or the physical and psychological exhaustion will cripple them.

In that environment, all of their senses are diminished. The full body suits remove any physical contact, their peripheral vision is gone, and their only source of air is through a tube. They cannot feel stressed or panicked since they have to keep their breathing slow and in control. With every action they perform they have to consider their own safety and the health of those around them. “You have to remind yourself you are only human,” remarks Pillsbury.

At the end of the day, Pillsbury, Roberts and the many other student volunteers in all the fire departments, emergency medical services (EMS) such as RITA and police stations across the country have to return to work or their studies. No matter what happens, the world moves on. Being a volunteer in emergency services is often physically demanding, psychologically taxing, time consuming and managerially challenging, but the people who do it would not have it any other way. For these students, it is a way of life. …

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The Movement of Music: The Rise of Deaf Performers

Illustration by Amber Gartung

Illustration by Amber Gartung

From the tiniest movement, from sign to sign, Jason Listman, a lecturer in American Sign Language (ASL) and Interpreting at in the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), engages all his emotions and power in each moment of his performance. On the surface, Listman is translating a song; in reality, he feels every word, and constructs his interpretation to the flow of the rhythm to present music in a whole new language. It is a language that is as much about movement and timing as it is content.

Listman, as well as many other musicians and performers, is working to create an accessible medium for the expression of music. From the artful interpretation of pre-existing music to original content, an evolutionary front of music is growing, the goals of which are to be both accessible and enjoyable to everyone, deaf and hearing.

Sean Forbes, a 2008 graduate, and Listman are just two members of this expanding collective of performers. Both deaf from an early age, the two have produced highly acclaimed music videos in which they adapt modern songs into ASL. Forbes, a Deaf musician who raps and drums, is currently producing his first record with Bass Brothers, the record label which first signed Eminem.

“There is a misconception out there that Deaf people don’t enjoy music, but they do,” says Listman. “The Deaf community is very diverse. Some Deaf people don’t hear the sounds, but maybe they enjoy the poetry of it, other people enjoy the rhythm of the sign and enjoy listening to it.”

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The Next Manufacturing Workforce

Photograph by Jonathan Foster

Photograph by Jonathan Foster

One day this past July, Kevin Williams, a war veteran over 50 years old, wandered into the Genesee County Career Center looking for an opportunity. He was homeless, living at the Cazenovia Recovery House, unemployed, possessed little education, no car, few skills and a reputation as a job-hopper.

It was there that he was recommended for the Advanced Manufacturing and Nano-Tech Certificate Training program. A first of its kind program in New York, the program prepares displaced workers or people seeking a new direction to work in the ever-changing manufacturing industry. A joint effort between the RIT, Genesee Community College (GCC) and the Genesee Community Economic Development Center (GCEDC), the 11-week program — free for students thanks to a grant from the New York State Office of Community Renewal — offers no guarantees, only knowledge.

Williams applied, was interviewed, and on November 18, 2011 graduated and gave the first commencement speech for the pilot program to his fellow 23 graduates. With a newfound confidence, Williams is now employed at AutoCorp. A mere six months before the program, he had nothing, but with the help of his hard-earned certificate he has reentered the working world.

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KEEPing Rochester Together

“I was homeless and a drug addict … I lost everything.” Tears swell in Julianna Johnson’s eyes as she tells her life story. “I was able to get sober, pull myself out of the gutter; I came down with a terminal illness I ended up beating and had an epiphany that I needed to change my life.”

Inspired by her experiences, Johnson and Brandon Kelloway, both 2011 RIT graduates in Graphic Design, co-founded KEEP Rochester in the fall of 2010. KEEP Rochester is a community service organization based out of RIT, but it started as a graphic design project. The goal of the project was to build an organization starting with the letter “K” and design fake posters, forms and a marketing campaign to support it. With all the work completed, the co-founders decided to take the final step and make their project a reality.

“KEEP isn’t an acronym. It represents ‘KEEP’ safe for women’s shelters, ‘KEEP’ warm for homeless shelters, ‘KEEP’ nourished for food banks and kitchens and ‘KEEP’ sober for rehab centers,” Johnson explains.

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