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UA graduate pursuing film, television production degree

Brandon Sparks, a Tuscaloosa native and UA graduate, is pursuing a MFA in film and television production at USC. Photo Courtesy of Brandon Sparks

Katie Bedrich

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THEN

Brandon Sparks was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. After graduating from the University last May, Sparks moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for film and storytelling at the University of Southern California.

“High school was where I found my passion; the University was where I was able to explore it, and USC is where I am honing it,” he said.

Sparks majored in telecommunication and film with a minor in theatre at the University. He participated in many extracurricular activities, which he said helped him gain real-world experience and prepared him for graduate school at USC.

Sparks was involved with the local community theater company Theatre Tuscaloosa, where he learned about the skills and language of acting. Additionally, he worked for the University in the Media Relations Department, gaining experience with video equipment, detailed presentation and public relations. 

Sparks also co-founded the student group Crossroads Productions, in which student filmmakers are able to get together and collaborate on a variety of projects. 

“I feel like I learned an incredible amount that I’m able to use as a storyteller and filmmaker – things that I do not think I could have gained anywhere else,” he said.

Sparks said his classes in the film and theatre departments were critical in becoming well-rounded and experienced. He took classes in acting, directing, playwriting and stage designing in combination with film classes. 

“It’s always cool to hear from people out here in Los Angeles who say they wish they could have taken the classes I was taking,” Sparks said.

NOW

Sparks is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in film and television production at USC. He said the program is very competitive and is modeled after the film industry.

“If you really want to do this for a career, then you need to be able to be torn apart and have the ability to build yourself back up,” Sparks said. “You have to be mature about it all. It sets you up with great opportunities for your career.”

Through his current program said he has met a diverse group of talented storytellers who are pursuing the same dream that he is. Sparks said returning to Tuscaloosa over Christmas break was a surreal moment for him.

“The University will always be special to me because it was a place where I grew as a person,” he said. “It is weird thinking back to the person I was when I walked into my first class at Morgan Hall.”

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UA graduate pursuing film, television production degree