1. Why do you tell people you were “born to run?”
Well if you were to ask my mother, she would tell you I learned to run before I learned to crawl, and she had to put bells on my shoes to keep track of me as a kid. However, as an “adult,” my weeks feel incomplete and unproductive if I don’t get in at least 4–5 runs. It puts me in my happy place.
2. You played oh so many sports in high school, but loved tennis most of all. Why do you connect with it over other sports? What has it taught you? (And throw in that story about Rhode Island.)
To me, tennis is the greatest sport. I started playing around the age of 7, but one of the many things that makes it so great is I can play until I’m 80, if I so choose (and that’s if I’m still kickin’). When I first picked up a racket, I knew I was in my element. The sport just came so naturally to me, and it was something, over time, that my brother, dad and I could do together. I remember, so distinctly, when the three of us had the opportunity to hit on grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. I was probably 10 at the time, but I felt like I was one of the pros. It’s also a sport where you can’t point fingers at anyone else but yourself, which really helped me grow mentally and grow as a person.
3. As a sixth grader, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Believe it or not, if you were to have asked my sixth-grade self what I wanted to do when I was older, my answer would have been to work in advertising. I was that strange kid who walked around the playground at recess creating and reenacting commercials, but the best part is I wrote them all down in a diary and still have them to this day.
4. How did you get into the storytelling aspect of film when you were in undergrad?
I always knew I loved the idea of storytelling, but I simply never found my favorite medium to tell stories; that is, until I entered into the e-media program at Xavier University. I initially entered the program because, at the time, I thought I wanted to pursue sports broadcasting, and I knew if I wanted to be successful in that field, I had to learn the production side of things. However, come to find out after two-and-a-half years of dedicating my time to sports, the industry wasn’t quite right for me. More times than not, I’d find myself irritated while working the games. The competitive environment made me want to be the one playing, not the one on the sideline feeding scores. But at the end of the day, enrolling in Xavier’s e-media program led me to a passion I never knew I had, and that’s storytelling via film.
5. Who was the most influential professor you’ve ever had?
Blis DeVault has by far been one of my most influential professors I’ve ever had. She was the one who convinced me to enroll in the e-media program and was the one who guided me along the way. I could not have asked for a better mentor and friend. Not only does she know her stuff, but I’ve never met someone so passionate about passing that knowledge on. Blis sincerely believed in me from day one and really pushed and challenged me to succeed. Thanks, Blis!
6. You’re a little competitive. Talk about how that’s shaped you over the years and what challenges/benefits it’s brought.
Being competitive can be a blessing and a curse. Growing up, I was able to use my competitive nature to compete in sports, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that that nature can’t be applied to all situations. The transition into college really proved that for me, because as much as I love winning, it wasn’t and isn’t always about that, and there are times it’s important to take a step back and trust others to take the wheel. However, that being said, my competitive nature has given me a drive and discipline to push myself to achieve goals and to set new ones along the way, because I’m always looking to grow (except in height).