Brian Kampen ’14 ~ Student Leader, Filmmaker, & Movie Extra
The moment Brian Kampen stepped on the movie set of 21 Jump Street in New Orleans, La., the Spring Hill College student knew that he’d found the perfect career. Selected as an extra for the movie, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, Kampen spent several weeks in 2011 soaking up the excitement, teamwork, and discipline that go into directing a major motion picture.
“It's stressful, there are long and weird hours, and the slightest mishap can be devastating to the production,” says Kampen. “However, I can't help but want to be involved as much as possible. New Orleans is making a name for itself as ‘the Hollywood of the South,’ and I plan to get involved in various productions in the city as soon as possible.”
Kampen, who graduates from Spring Hill College in May, has studied communication arts with a concentration in digital video production. Assistant professor and filmmaker Ryan Noble is just one of many faculty members impressed with Kampen’s talent, leadership, and dedication.
“Brian is an original member of the SHC Film and Video Club, which started last fall. He’s been an active participant and supporter of the group as it has grown and created new productions this semester,” says Noble. “His enthusiasm and excitement for video production has been a great example to the other members of the club, particularly to our underclassmen. They’ve become a cohesive group.”
Kampen, who grew up in River Ridge, La., says that same camaraderie and close-knit friendships were evident from his first visit to Spring Hill College. The small campus, welcoming atmosphere, and location near the Gulf Coast solidified his decision to enroll at SHC.
“I love New Orleans, but believe that I connected with Mobile because, in many ways, it reminds me of a smaller version of the city,” says Kampen. “It's really comforting to have a place like this as your second home. Everyone here is so nice, and we’re involved with each other's lives. All our teachers all know us by name.”
Stuart Babington, associate professor of communication arts, is equally impressed with what Kampen brings to the classroom and campus.
"Brian just has a great spirit about him,” says Dr. Babington. “He cares a great deal about his work, but never seems to let the stressful part of college life get the best of him. I've always felt that this was particularly healthy, as in his professional life, he’ll be able to keep that work-family balance that we all strive so hard to maintain. I have no doubt that Brian will make great films that make a difference in people’s lives."
During his time on the Hill, Kampen gained real-world film experience by helping organize an audio/visual production team for St. Ignatius School's Senior Talent Show, in addition to duties as an intern with Clear Channel Media in Mobile, Ala.
“Clear Channel is a central hub for various radio stations in the area such as, LiteMix 99.9 and 95 KSJ,” says Kampen. “We’ve done various fundraisers and events for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital. I’ve learned so much and I am grateful for these opportunities.”
After graduation, Kampen has set his sights on becoming part of a writing and concept team for a television show or a film. While he doesn't necessarily see himself as a “big-time” director, his goal is to be involved in productions in a key way.
“I'm very interested in people, what they like or dislike, and how they think. You never know which person could have a substantial impact on your career, or life,” says Kampen. “So, when I'm not talking, I'm observing and listening, which brings about later inspirations in ideas, concepts, or writing. Film work is like a big puzzle waiting to be connected and solved by everything we see, hear and experience.”
Brian Kampen’s Top 10 Advice for SHC Freshmen
- Try to make a schedule and keep to it. Manage your time the best you can.
- Focus on tasks by finding a quiet spot, taking small breaks, and staying diligent.
- Enjoy your experience. Take hold of everything life has to offer you during these next four years.
- Act with wisdom.
- Take a chance and experience something new or out of your comfort zone. You never what experience can help you find your own goal in life.
- Never leave anything as a "what if?" Don't leave for tomorrow what you could do today.
- Never stop trying. Experience possible failure and learn from it.
- Listen to your gut and go for it.
- If someone holds your hand and tells you how or what to do in life, you'll never truly live.
- Express uniqueness in everything you do.