Hunter Johnson

Motion Pictures & Television / BFA

I remember recoiling in my seat as my teachers declared, “You’re going to write essays class.” The thought of having to write a paper felt like pulling teeth… actually, I think pulling teeth might be more enjoyable. Growing up, I spent most of my summers and early school years going to tutoring. While most kids would play outside, I sat inside with my tutor every Tuesday and Thursday meticulously practicing my handwriting and reading comprehension. I struggled with Dyslexia which negatively impacted almost every aspect of my learning. While it was difficult, I still found solace in some aspects of education, specifically listening to books on tape. Reading provided an escape into stories that didn’t require me to remember the difference between my letters, it was brought to life by narration, and it taught me that I too could be a storyteller, in my own way.

When I entered high school, I began to realize that I probably wouldn’t pursue higher education, especially since no one in my family had a college degree. I grew up surrounded by blue-collar workers bound to a life of public safety, not intellectuals or artists. However, I needed to enroll in a class, and it wasn’t going to be biology, so I randomly selected a Video Production elective. A random choice led to a dream, crafted over hours of editing and color correction, spending every waking minute of my free time soaking up whatever knowledge I could about cameras. Essays may have felt awkward to me, like discolored, eclectic versions of me, but behind a camera, I felt empowered, intelligent, and confident. These ideas that I struggled to articulate sparked to life, and I knew I wanted to foster that flame.

The thought of going to film school was a nagging idea in the back of my mind, like a small child shouting in a sea of adult voices. That internal child voiced that part of me that found happiness and joy in those books on tape. I longed not only to comfort it but also for professional knowledge and understanding of filmmaking. While I was more confident as a teenager, I still winced at the thought of going to a traditional lecture-based college education. Instead, I sought a hands-on education, an environment that would help me thrive and learn in the best way. This led me to Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, where I have spent the past three years growing my knowledge, relationships, and experiences. Now, as I look at my past and the decisions which have brought me here, I look to the future with excitement and passion for the unknown creative landscape I am entering. As an artist, I paint pictures on the screen, in Narrative Film or Tabletop, and I know the art which I am creating is the fullest, most authentic version of myself, my character, and heart.

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