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Ask the Cougar

Wanting to Call the Shots

Andy Porten, Class of 2011

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 If you ask Andy Porten to imagine the worst way possible to pass the time, the aspiring director’s answer might surprise you. He wouldn’t say attending a neighbor’s piano recital, a high school graduation ceremony, or even a curling match. For Andy, reality TV is the devil, and he nearly foams at the mouth when discussing all the wasted talent on the sets of reality TV shows.

And by talent, he means the people behind the cameras, not in front of them.

“Jersey Shore? Why would you even put those people on TV?” says Andy. “It pains me!”

If you’re a fan of the MTV reality show, please forgive Andy’s strong opinions – they’re a byproduct of his passion for all things film and television. This is a guy who credits a high school electronic media course for changing his life. And he counts having coffee with “Hustle & Flow” director Craig Brewer at the Sundance Film Festival as an unforgettable experience.

“I was starstruck,” Andy says of the 3:00 a.m. chat he shared with Brewer and a number of high school classmates in Park City, Utah. “It was incredible to hear.”

Since coming to the College, Andy has eagerly taken a number of film classes. For a class project, he helped make an introductory video for the College’s Office of Greek Life. For a documentary filmmaking class, Andy made a short film on the College’s John M. Rivers Communications Museum. He makes regular use of the College’s digital media lab, which is available to any student enrolled in communication courses that require the use editing and graphics workstations, audio postproduction equipment and music composition software.

Outside of school, Andy has worked on the sets of three country music videos and in the production trailer for an Atlanta Braves baseball doubleheader. He also participated in a sports production internship for Turner South. Sports, concerts and other types of live production hold more appeal for Andy than feature films, he says, because of the raw energy instantly being broadcast to audiences across the world. In other words, it’s the one type of reality television that this Atlanta native can actually stomach.

“I really want to tell a story in that high-energy, high-pressure situation,” says Andy. “You are the sole reason for what millions of people are watching.”