“Honestly, can you actually make a living doing this?”
Mitch Hudson (’15) voiced the last question holding him back from changing his degree program at Liberty University to film production. Cinematic Arts Professor Doug Miller grinned behind his mustache and answered “Absolutely!” That day, Hudson heard the call to adventure in filmmaking, and it changed his life.
Getting to that moment of realization was a journey that never foreshadowed his destination yet prepared him for his destiny. Hudson grew up in Virginia until he was 12 years old, when his family moved to Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf. Like any protagonist, Hudson was thrown into an unfamiliar world. He lived his teenage years among strangers from diverse cultures who valued storytelling as a way to connect with each other. Their interesting tales taught him about world cultures and differing perspectives and even inspired him to write his own stories. He dreamed of a writing career, but his stories felt bogged down by description and narration, so he decided to study marketing.
Hudson returned to Virginia to attend Liberty University. That year, LU announced the establishment of the Cinematic Arts Department. His interest piqued, Hudson volunteered to act in film students’ projects. He considered specializing in film and entertainment marketing, but in the School of Business, he encountered an unlikely mentor who challenged him about his heart’s true calling: “I sense film is your future. It is what God is calling you to do.” The mentor connected him with Professor Miller who convinced him that storytelling is a practical profession. Hudson deliberated as he walked across campus, asking God for a direct sign about his career path. Minutes later, someone handed him a flyer that read “Cinematic Arts Wants You.” He accepted the call.
In film school, Hudson was drawn to the energy of the faculty and their recruits working together on their new program of study. Classroom concepts were promptly put into practice. Hudson’s natural storytelling style was encouraged in scriptwriting class, where he learned that film scripts contain little description and narration. He also liked the idea of being a producer or director. He realized his classmates’ collaborative potential and persuaded them to help him produce a feature-length film called Technicolour Daydream. His leadership efforts won him the department’s Student of the Year award upon graduation in 2015. The film was shot that summer, edited, and garnered attention in the 2018 festival circuit. It is progressing toward distribution.
Meanwhile, Hudson has built experience on several productions. His positions have included assistant director, sound mixer, boom operator, grip, locations manager, assistant accountant, and production assistant. He made his first professional connection when he was assigned to work on the film, Altar Egos, in his junior year of college. That connection led to another connection, and each connection opened opportunities for jobs: “I honestly have the film school to thank for basically all of my career.”
Hudson advises aspiring producers and directors to remember that “no film was ever successfully made by one person. It was made by a whole group.” Recruit crew by offering them an experience they want to have, and do not disrespect their contributions. For all students building their careers, Hudson suggests that when producers or department keys ask what you want to do, do not describe your dream job. Instead, tell them something you want to do that can be useful in their current project. Use the opportunity to connect. Like a teenager in a foreign country, embrace the moment to grow and change.
Adventure awaits you.