Student Spotlight: Brandon Mattingly
Brandon Mattingly has always been into storytelling.
"When I was younger, I felt stories were more real than the truth,” he said. “My interest in film started in high school. I really got into screenwriting. A director may have more say in how a movie is made, but I create the world that the characters live in. I love the idea of building a story – it’s just me, my imagination and the computer, with no limitations.”
But before attending a four-year institution, Mattingly turned to College of DuPage.
“I felt that coming to COD would give me an opportunity to strengthen my study skills and become more focused while staying at home, which would better prepare me for USC or UCLA,” he said.
Although his goal was to attending one of the big schools in Los Angeles, Mattingly took a chance on applying to New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts with the encouragement of one of his COD professors, Deborah Adelman, herself a graduate of NYU.
“As an afterthought I applied to NYU, the most prestigious film school in the U.S. When I got in, I was absolutely thrilled,” he said.
The school is highly coveted by aspiring filmmakers – less than 10 percent of the applicants were accepted for next year’s class. And with an alumni list that includes such well-respected talent as Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee, Mattingly is fully aware of his good fortune.
Mattingly is drawn to the excitement of big-screen action films and thrillers. Influential movies include “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Departed,” Tim Burton’s “Batman” and the most recent “Star Trek.” As for his own work, he had to submit 25 pages of an original screenplay as part of his application to NYU. His acceptance validated the belief he has in his writing abilities.
"One of my teachers, in fact, was a producer on the hit TV series '30 Rock,' and another was the producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary 'Exit Through the Gift Shop,' " he said. "Yet another is a former-writer on 'Seinfeld' and writes for 'Law and Order: Criminal Intent.' "
In 2012, he interned at Marvel Entertainment, where he worked alongside the editorial staff three times a week in their Times Square office as they worked on the print comics for the Ultimate versions of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers. Inside and outside of class, he worked on original feature-length scripts and television pilots, as well as making a few short films. He credits fellow classmates and instructors for enriching his work and helping him grow as a writer and a filmmaker.
Mattingly graduated in December 2012 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing and a minor in Producing for Film and Television. He is currently working for Warner Bros. Entertainment as an assistant to director Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum," "Real Steel") and his editorial team on the upcoming film, "This Is Where I Leave You ," and is writing on the side.
"This job has been enlightening, exciting and so much fun," he said. "Working with Shawn has been a sincere honor and getting to learn from him and his incredibly smart and skilled team has really opened new doors for me in every way imaginable.
"None of this would have been possible, however, had I not gotten the great education and support from my instructors at COD that ultimately allowed me to transfer to NYU and be presented with these opportunities. Spending two years at COD allowed me to better prepare myself for a fast-paced, intellectually and creatively challenging environment like NYU and in some ways, living in NYC. COD and the instructors who have helped me along my journey will forever have my genuine gratitude and respect."
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