Student Spotlight: Russell Reed

Theater kid-turned film enthusiast, Russell Reed has spent the last three years exploring his love for filmmaking and finding like-minded individuals in the process. This electronic media major is not only a self-taught filmmaker, but he also exemplifies authentic passion in a sometimes discouraging field. Only a sophomore, Reed demonstrates a great amount of dedication to his craft and doesn’t mind sharing his knowledge with others.

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Reed grew up in Houston and was in theater while attending high school. As the end of senior year approached, he knew he didn’t want to major in theater during college but at the time, Reed was producing comedy and suspense skits on YouTube. Although Reed realized the skits weren’t exactly Oscar winners, he explains that it was during this time when he realized he loved film and using his creativity.

“There wasn’t anything specific that led me to my love for film, it was sort of gradual. One day I caught myself watching a film, and I started to critique their acting and wanted to see how I could do it better.” says Reed.

Although still undecided about his college major, Reed knew he wanted to be at Texas State University and near Austin’s film community. Starting off as business major, Reed realized electronic media was the best route to encourage his passion.

While still maintaining his comedy channel, Reed decided to make a second channel on YouTube that was specifically dedicated to filmmaking. The creation of ViLITE films gave Russell an outlet to produce portfolio-worthy short films, how-to tutorials, and even camera reviews.


Russell Reed hopes to make it as a director or director of photography one day. Whether it is for films or television, Reed explains he would love to stick to the horror genre but will be satisfied as long as his work has an impact. Reed’s overall goal is simple, to be a great storyteller.

“I love telling good stories, that’s really what it is all about. Capturing the cinematically pleasing images to complete a story.” says Reed.

With no certifications or film coursework, Russell is self-taught using online resources. He explains how this drives his creativity even more and brings boundless possibilities. Every aspect of his life is motivation to continue to create and it is not limited to coursework.

Life as a filmmaker has completely altered Reed’s perception of the world around him. He explains, “I can no longer walk around and have the perception like a normal human being. Just walking around in the world, everything I see, everything I look at and everything I touch is an emotion that can be geared toward storytelling.”

One of the latest projects Reed has worked on was a collaborative effort with the late Travis Green. Although Green had passed before production started filming, Reed and collaborators made sure that film was completed. Reed explains how this project was important to them since it was one of the last projects Green put his hands on and they are trying their hardest to have it showcased through Texas State.

As for advice Reed has for others thinking about pursuing film, he says the the most important attributes are staying confident in your work, continuing to create and surrounding yourself with like-minded people. This recipe for success seems to be working for this dedicated young filmmaker.

Reed’s last piece of advice is that, “Although all odds are against artists, your safe route should never be your priority.”

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Kickin’ it with George Kiel III

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Jon Zmikly interviewing George Kiel III during the Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. Photo by Dr. Cindy Royal

By: Jennifer Alvord

Texas State alumnus George Kiel III spoke to students during The Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series about his career at NiceKicks.com and non-profit organization Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation.

Kiel graduated from Texas State University in 2008 with a degree in journalism and was extremely involved during his time here. While taking 19 hours his senior year, Kiel wrote for the University Star, played basketball for the university and interned for the FOX affiliate in Austin.

Kiel is currently Editor-in-Chief of NiceKicks.com, one of the Internet’s most comprehensive sneaker-themed sites, and is the co-founder of Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. Kiel founded the foundation and the Kick & Roll Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Event as a promise to honor his mother’s name and extend her legacy through his love for basketball and sneakers.

Since Nice Kicks is solely online, Kiel said that pushing content through social media is essential. “Social media can be a big engine as far as who sees what and how they see it,” he said. “Social media is key.”

Kiel also believes that what sets companies apart from each other is content. “Content is king,” he said. “Having exclusive content is what makes you stand out.” At Nice Kicks, Kiel helped create a series called Kicks on the Court, which is a daily feature with exclusive content about shoes worn by basketball players.

 

New SJMC Speaker Series brings in top names in entrepreneurship

by Becky Larson:

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Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith

If you’ve been checking in with this blog or if you follow the department, or any of its faculty, on social media – chances are you have heard about the prestigious lineup of speakers visiting Texas State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The third voice, following Bob Metcalfe and Rodney Gibbs, to join the heavy-hitting series is The Texas Tribune‘s co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief, Evan Smith. Smith helped launch the Tribune in 2009 and has been a key part of its rousing success ever since. Prior to the Tribune’s creation he worked at the helm of Texas Monthly, which twice won the National Magazine Award for general excellence during his tenure.

New Lessons

Each event was brought to Texas State as a part of the Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, a new class whose goal is to introduce Texas State students to successful and innovative digital entrepreneurs.

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