Meet Ally Johnson, a 2020 Ball State alumna who majored in Telecommunications and minored in Creative Writing. This past Spring, she moved to LA and held two impactful internships. Ally interned at Women in Film, which produces a wide variety of programming to help elevate women and nonbinary people in the film industry. This includes Fellowships in collaboration with the Blacklist, Financing Intensives in collaboration with Sundance, providing grants, mentorship opportunities, and more professional development opportunities. As well as working at CBS Studios as a Production Associate for The Talk and interning at Velocity Entertainment Partners, a management company that represents screenwriters and actors. Some of their writers are staffed on hit TV shows and their actors have been cast on shows and movies airing on major networks, streaming services, and the big screen. Ally graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from DePaul University. 


What kind of student were you at Ball State?

The first 1-2 years at Ball State were a struggle as I was finding my place in my major. Intro Video and Audio Production were really tough because it was all new to me. After I gained my footing at Ball State, I was a student that was super involved in the university’s extracurriculars. I was always looking for new opportunities to get on student film sets and opportunities to write.

Was there any professor that stood out to you?

Certainly, Ben Strack taught my first video production class at Ball State, his patience and understanding were incredibly influential. Paige Waters taught my first screenwriting class at Ball State, she became a great mentor while in I was at BSU.

Was there a certain class that had an impact on you?

Sonny Wingler’s TCOM Management (Freelancing) class was helpful to me. If you plan on working on film sets, I recommend taking that class to learn about invoicing, contracts, unions, getting jobs, and taxes. You will need this information. (This course is now called MDIA 444 Freelancing and is typically offered during the spring.)

If you could talk to your freshman self, what advice would you give?

Get involved, step out of your comfort zone, and be confident in your abilities.

What was your best memory of Ball State University?

I studied abroad in 2019 with the TCOM Video Storytelling in Italy trip. This program was a turning point in my time at BSU. Producing a documentary in a foreign country is already difficult and we only had 5 weeks to put it together. As the producer of this project, I was able to step up as a leader and really guide my crew (who were great and I still keep in touch with all of them today!) to create a project we are proud of.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

From an early age, I was always glued to the TV. It was in my sophomore year of high school when I binged watched The O.C. The characters on that show felt so vivid and world-building was immaculate, I was moved to be a screenwriter from that moment on. Then, fast forward to college, I joined BSU Tonight and I built an interest in comedy. I was writing, producing, and performing sketch comedy with BSU Tonight on that fast 2-week production schedule. As challenging as it was to turn out content that quickly, I couldn’t get enough of comedy. This is all during the time of the cultural shift in American politics, racial injustices, we were on the cusp of the pandemic, and comedy was a means of making sense of the world around me. From there, I knew I wanted to be a comedy writer. I applied and was accepted to an MFA program focused on Comedy Screenwriting. Being at DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts was a perfect place for me to build off of the skills I learned at Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media.

What is something people don’t know about you?

On top of being a working artist, I really want to be a professor at a university. I want to teach and support students to reach their fullest potential.

What advice would you give to current students about life after graduation?

1. Don’t stop creating. Whether it’s for your job or personal projects: keep writing scripts, make a writers group, produce shorts and enter them in festivals/contests.

2. Don’t limit yourself and be open to the different sectors of the industry. There are so many jobs in the industry that I never knew were an option.

3. Connect with the network of BSU Alumni, but also your peers you had classes with because they are also working (or want to) work in the industry. Networking isn’t always reaching up but also reaching across.

Interested in an experience like Ally Johnson’s? Check out the Department of Media.

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