The entertainment industry owes Toledo a debt for producing such native celebrities as Jamie Farr and Katie Holmes, and one teen is working on adding his own name to the list of local film industry notables.
Drew Gannon, 17, recently attended the Tisch Summer High School Program at the prestigious New York University Tisch School for the Arts. The Toledo School for the Arts senior joined a group of about 60 high school students in the month-long film studies program, after being selected from more than 700 applicants. The NYC-based course earned Gannon film experience to include on his college admission application reel and 6 credit hours of college credit.
“I was always interested in filmmaking,” Gannon said in a phone interview during a break from the grueling 12-hour-a-day NYU schedule. “[The summer program] really does help you get a good reputation with NYU, and it helps you start your college reel.”
The son of Sylvania couple Michael and Becky, Gannon burned the midnight oil to finish editing the short film he wrote and directed in the final two weeks of the program. The challenges presented to the novice writer and director helped Gannon to understand the nuances of the film industry, such as the long process of weeding through 50 resumes to find the two actors best suited for the film.
Despite a natural level of artistic competition with his peers in the summer program, seeing his own work next to others’ is motivating and educational.
“You’re watching your peers’ movies and it’s nerve wracking, but in the end it’s good to compare and contrast and get an idea as to how they direct or write,” Gannon said.
Toledo School for the Arts Artistic Director David Saygers, who has worked with the young thespian on various performances, appreciates Gannon’s ability to amplify humor in his art.
“Andrew is an unusually creative writer and performer,” Saygers said. “He has a gift for comedy, especially for finding it within our everyday experience.”
Gannon encourages other students interested in a career in the arts to just start, and explore their craft as they go.
“Keep looking for experiences,” Gannon said. “Everything at this age is just trying something out and making connections and learning.”