Bryan Crowe ’23 is a storyteller. As a kid, he would tell his friends about crazy dreams he had, when in reality, he was just spinning his own elaborate stories to gauge their reaction. “They had no idea I was making them up,” he says. “I loved creating and sharing stories.”
Crowe hopes to parlay that passion into a career as a screenwriter for television and film. “My dream would be to write my own television show, or write movies to sell to studios,” he says.
It’s probably not surprising that Crowe was enamored by television and film as a youngster, starting with SpongeBob SquarePants. He says it was watching Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom in the 8th grade that opened his eyes to what was achievable with a story. “I began to not only watch movies, but really digest them and ask ‘why?’ A year later, I thought to myself, ‘Yeah . . . I could do this for the rest of my life.’” He began writing screenplays himself.
When it came time for college, the Northern Virginia native applied to Syracuse University’s B.F.A. in film program in the School of Visual and Performing Arts. He was waitlisted and ended up at a smaller school closer to home. He liked his program well enough but worried it didn’t have the resources or alumni network necessary to help him achieve success in such a competitive field. He applied to Syracuse again and was able to transfer in as a sophomore.
That was Fall 2020, when colleges nationwide—including Syracuse—were holding classes virtually. Nonetheless, Crowe chose to come to campus. Although it took some time, he was able to make friends and connections in his program working on projects together.
As a junior, Crowe spent spring semester in Prague, Czech Republic, working in the Eastern European film industry. “My semester in Prague was focused on discovering your artistic self as a film student. We produced a short film from beginning to end. It made me a better filmmaker and taught me a lot about how I view myself and collaborate with others,” he says.
He followed that seminal experience with another in the fall of his senior year—living and studying in Los Angeles through the SULA program. In addition to taking courses, a big component of the program is based around gaining experience in the entertainment industry: resume building, networking and developing new skills.
Crowe served as a production intern at Echo Lake Entertainment. “It was a great experience professionally and also personally, spending the semester in Los Angeles with other students working toward careers as editors, development execs, managers and agents, who I know will be lifelong friends as we grow in the industry,” he says.
Given that his first year at Syracuse was largely virtual, and that he spent another two semesters studying off campus, Crowe is attempting to make the most of his campus experience in his last semester. He serves as production chair for the Delta Kappa Alpha cinematic fraternity, is the undergraduate representative for the VPA Strategic Planning Committee and is an Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholar.
Taking advantage of off-campus programs as a junior meant giving up his campus work-study job. Researching scholarships, Crowe discovered the OTHC program and was named a Scholar junior year. “Being back on campus, this year I’ve been able to fully participate,” he says. “It’s been great networking with other students of color and taking advantage of opportunities for personal growth.”
This semester, much of Crowe’s time will be focused on his thesis film project, a 20-minute comedic story of a student protest, as well as helping friends with their thesis films. It’s all preparation to land an industry job in Los Angeles post-graduation.
“I love to pull people’s heart strings, to create something that makes people walk away thinking or talking about it,” he says. “I’m ready to take on the world and reach as many people as possible.”