The second day of SCAD aTVfest, Friday, Feb. 2, featured a reunion of sorts with a SCAD Alumni Panel spotlighting former students who have gone on to excel in their careers in film, television and entertainment. Inside the main building of SCAD Atlanta, ten distinguished alumni sat in front of current students and were introduced by film and television professor, Michael Chaney.

According to Chaney, the School of Entertainment Arts has graduated over 12,000 students since the department started. Of that number, roughly 3,000 alumni work in the state of Georgia, a tribute to the economic draw of the state’s film business. Friday’s panel of alumni represented a variety of disciplines within the film and television industry, from an assistant editor on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” to a writer for TruTV’s “Social Animals.”

“One of the things I love about this panel is that these are all students I had or worked with while they were at SCAD,” Chaney said. “They graduated in 2001 all the way to 2016, and they’re all working in very diverse fields of film and television. That’s the best thing about film and television. It’s so diverse. There’s so many different wonderful departments our students are working in.”

The discussion focused on the alumni’s work and how they got into their respective fields. Myke Furhman, an executive producer and consultant at Myke Foo Media, graduated from SCAD in 2007 and, with no job, left four days later for L.A. He got his first job as an assistant editor for MTV’s “The Hills,” which led him to Spike TV and, subsequently, the realm of televised sports. 

“I went over to CBS Sports who had this very novel idea that people might actually start watching videos on cellphones and everyone thought we were absolutely crazy,” Furhman said. “They were just like, ‘We’ll hire someone very junior to be a producer,’ and about a year later when iPhones came out, I was a part of the first broadcast team to livestream a sporting event to an iPhone, which was the March Madness basketball tournament that year.”

Megan Melrose, a production coordinator at Warner Horizon Television also moved to L.A. immediately after graduating from SCAD in 2016. She landed her first job through a connection she made at the Savannah Film Festival.

“I was [the connection’s] assistant on a couple of features and then moved into a few other features with a new group of producers and then moved into production coordinating three features,” Melrose said. “I eventually got into commercial production coordinating and now I work at Warner Horizon Television as a production coordinator who oversees nine television shows.” 

One particular alumni, Steven Piet, worked in advertising to make enough money to make a film, which became “Uncle John,” a critically acclaimed drama at the South by Southwest film festival in 2015. Piet most recently directed six episodes of the Syfy series, “Channel Zero.”

After graduating from SCAD, Piet said he became an assistant editor for a “long time,” but he still wanted to make his own film. Piet quit his job making ads for AllState and started setting money aside from a string of other gigs.  

“After four years, I got a little bit of money, and I made the film with my best friend,” Piet said. “We went to South by Southwest, and that changed everything. You make a film and then you hope things are going to [change], but they don’t really. You have to hone the process, because it’s really tough to get to the place where you want to be. I’m still not there. After South by Southwest, I went back to Chicago and I went back to making ads and I was actually so happy, because I had finally done what I wanted to do.”