Stephen Reddell

“I grew up in Dallas, and didn’t have the best grades in high school. I knew I’d have to be in LA to study film, and learned that SMC is one of the best transfer schools in the country.”

You get behind a multimillion-dollar camera, and start shooting a film or TV show that will definitely cost multimillions more. That’s the ambition of Stephen Reddell, a Texas transplant with a genuine passion for the movies. “Once I got to SMC and learned about how ‘hands-on’ their Film Studies program was, I was just blown away by it. I mean, I was studying with Salvador Carrasco, who made the highest-grossing film in Mexico—ever. He’s a fantastic professor, and has incredible amounts of knowledge to pass on down. His classes were all about the very beginnings of film and its history, and how visual narrative is created. He made me understand so much about why I ever fell in love with the movies in the first place.”

Stephen reports, “Going to college was always a kind of deal that I’d made with my family. We had always gone on to higher education, so it was just an understood thing that I’d be doing it, too. And now that I’m actually doing it, it’s made me much closer with my family, and made them very proud of me.” Stephen adds, “I started out in the visual field shooting stills, and I still do a lot of photography. But it was always the movies that I loved the most. And so, now I’m finding ways to transfer over a lot of the skills that I learned as a photographer into the much larger world of making films. I’ve always been a very visual guy,” he continues. “But the movies just allow you to express yourself in much more powerful ways than you ever could by being a run-of-the-mill photographer.”

Stephen plans on a transfer to Loyola Marymount, “which has a fantastic Film program,” he says. “SMC has brilliant teachers who’ll pretty much guarantee that you’ll get into any college in the world, if you’re willing to work for it. If you show your teachers here that you’re seriously devoted, they’re gonna do everything in their power to help you get to where you want to go.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​