Student Spotlight – Paul Tucker: Dreams of the Big Screen

student_spotlightScreenwriter Paul Tucker, a senior broadcasting and digital media major, had the opportunity to share his film work with Hollywood producers earlier this semester.

While there, Tucker pitched two of his screenplays to production companies to get feedback or even an offer. Tucker also had the opportunity to attend writing workshops and learn from other screenwriters in Hollywood. Tucker said getting the chance to see Hollywood in this setting was truly an eye-opening experience. He said he could see that everyone had clear goals of making it big in the world of movie magic.

“Listening to the Nerdist writers panel, who have worked on “The Leftovers,” ‘LOST,’ ‘King of the Hill’ and ‘A.G.E.N.T.S. of Shield,’” Tucker said, “it was cool getting to hear that all of them were just normal people who had some writing talent and some drive. They know wholeheartedly that there is not one way to get into Hollywood, there are multiple ways.”

Looking toward the future

Tucker said screenwriting is his passion. He said he wants to delve into the deep and meaningful stories that prick people’s lives.

Tucker has written several short comedy sketches and 30-minute television sketches. He also keeps a blog called “Producing: Paul” where he talks about his life as a student, as a filmmaker and as a Christian.

Tucker said he hopes to be living in Los Angeles within the next few years and eventually have some part in a film shown at the Sundance Festival. He said he wants to go to film school at the graduate level.

But whatever Tucker becomes in film or in life, he said he will be following after God’s will and honoring the name of Christ.

Screenwriting at Cedarville

Tucker said James Kragel, associate professor of communication arts at Cedarville, has been his greatest encourager at Cedarville. Kragel said he sees that Tucker has talent and really tries to foster a climate of creativity.

“Paul Tucker has a great heart. He is an extremely talented writer and I think someday we’ll all be watching his stories on the big screen,” Kragel said. “He is very generous with his time and is always willing to help someone else when called upon. One of my all-time favorite students, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been teaching for a lot of years.”

With only one screenwriting class at Cedarville, Tucker said Kragel tries to stretch Tucker’s abilities by challenging him outside of class.

“Professor Kragel never holds back on feedback and treats us like professionals,” Tucker said.

Tucker and Kragel are working on a documentary of Springfield in hopes of reviving the town’s former glory.

James Leightenheimer, associate professor of communication arts, also praised Tucker for his abilities.

“His love for God is evident. He also has a great sense of humor,” Leightenheimer said. Another one of Tucker’s inspirations is Cedarville alumnus Ethan Ransom, who is a writer and producer for ABC Family and has written a screenplay for the late Paul Walker.

“I can genuinely say (Tucker is) an engaging, funny and kind individual,” Ransom said. “When I was around him, I got the sense he’d be a die-hard friend, the kind that would be there for you in a jam. He’s a storyteller, and I have a feeling his stories are going to change the world.”

Ransom was the one who suggested Tucker be sent to the Expo. Tucker said he has learned much from the trail Ransom blazed.

“It’s hard out in the Hollywood world, but there is proof that if you have determination and ambition, you will find a way,” Tucker said.

To aspiring writers

Tucker said he encourages aspiring writers to balance their desire to constantly write with having a life beyond writing.

Tucker also suggests aspiring writers expose themselves to a variety of writers.

“Read a script and watch the film it was made into at least once a week,” Tucker said. “This allows the writer to realize what their ‘words on a page’ could actually become.”

Tucker said young writers should remain true to their own style of creativity.

“Don’t be afraid to make your own work,” he said. “Yeah, there will be people who can probably direct way better than you can, but you’ll know your characters better than anybody else.”

Shaune Young is a junior English major and arts & entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys outside reading and exploring the gloriously rich culture and history of the United States.

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