If you ask Andy Porten '11 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 Porten, reality TV is the devil, and he nearly starts foaming 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 Porten. “It pains me!”
If you’re a fan of the MTV reality show, please forgive Porten’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. He counts having coffee with Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer at the Sundance Film Festival as an unforgettable experience.
“I was starstruck,” Porten says of the 3 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, Porten has eagerly taken a number of film classes. Last fall, for a class project, he helped make an introductory video for the College’s Office of Greek Life. More recently, for a documentary filmmaking class offered through the College’s Center for the Documentary, Porten made a short film on the College’s John M. Rivers Communications Museum. Besides producing their own documentaries for public television in South Carolina, the Center for the Documentary also offers film students the chance to use their lab, which features editing and graphics workstations, audio postproduction equipment, music composition software and more.
Outside of school, Porten has worked on the sets of three country music videos and in the production trailer for an Atlanta Braves baseball doubleheader. This summer, he’ll participate in a sports production internship for Turner South. Sports, concerts and other types of live production hold more appeal for Porten 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 the Atlanta native can actually stomach.
“I really want to tell a story in that high-energy, high-pressure situation,” says Porten. “You are the sole reason for what millions of people are watching.”