Joshua Shaffer: Why did you choose John Paul the Great Catholic University out of all the possible universities here in California?
Meghan Woodard: It was really down to JPCatholic or another performing arts school in Los Angeles that I was choosing from. I think JPCatholic gives out really good scholarships for their students. This is one of the reasons why I came here, but the bigger reason was because I wanted to continue my faith. I wanted to have my faith be a big part of my life, as well as the school I was going to. I just wanted to keep consistent with my faith because I knew that if I went to a different school, that I would probably be a little more loose with it. With JPCatholic, they offer Mass everyday, there’s a chapel, and have S.O.U.L. nights that keeps the students really engaged in their faith, which I really like. I also really like their mission statement, “Impact Culture for Christ”. It shows that media students, theologians, philosophers, and even gaming majors can impact the culture one way or another.
JS: Would you say you resonate with the mission statement of the school pretty well?
MW: I think so. I like how the mission statement is for everyone. We’re impacting the world for Christ and our medium for Christ. I feel like it’s almost us being impacted by Christ, too. I had always thought I’ll be this Catholic walking into a group of people from Hollywood, and I’d change them because I’m a Christian. I was also realizing, though, that I also need to be changed. Christians needed to be changed. Whatever medium I got into, I knew I could impact them with Christ. So, yes, I do really enjoy the mission statement because it reaches out to everyone.
JS: What caused you to transition from acting to producing?
MW: Coming to JPCatholic, I wanted to go into acting because I had done musical theater prior to coming here. I was sure that was what I was supposed to do. Then, I come to JPCatholic and take acting classes. The acting classes are fantastic, by the way, because [Professor Lee] Eskey teaches you so much about theology of the body and uses that to teach us how to be good actors. Although, as I started taking more classes, I realized that I really liked post-production.
I decided to go into a double emphasis with acting and post-production but because my scheduling got a little mixed up, I couldn’t do a double emphasis. So, I just kept going with acting. As I kept taking classes, I took the producing class, which talked about all the things that a producer does. That made me think about going into producing. I really like organizing stuff and being in charge of things. As I started producing more, I felt like that was something I was supposed to do, at least for now. I can always change what I want to do in the future, but I really like the research, schedule making, and just the planning that goes into producing, which is why I am leaning more into doing that than acting. I still really like acting, and I think it would be really fun to do commercial work. As of now, I think producing is something that I really enjoy.
JS: How do you know that media is for you? Was there a specific moment or even a TV show that made you think of media?
MW: So, for acting I had been singing for about 12 years now. I had been vocally trained for two years, I believe. I’ve always grown up singing. I love it so much. So, I decided to join a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at my community theater. That was the moment where acting and singing was so cool to experience. I felt alive. To also be yourself and not be yourself made me realize how much I liked performing. Just being an ensemble character in Jesus Christ Superstar did that.
From there, I did more things, but for producing, it really wasn’t like a TV show, movie, or anything like that. It was really just producing class. We did a lot of organizing. We were introduced to budgeting. I really liked doing all the planning. Then, I was on Windfall Rising for a senior project that I was more in charge of. I was like, “Ok, yeah, I actually do like doing this.” So, I think with that class, it helped me with the route that I wanted to go. But I’m always impressed with movies and TV shows because of how they are made. Like, I can never watch anything the same now because I think of how much it costs to shoot. It’s really funny, but it’s fun to know I’ve learned how to see these things. I think that is what makes me confident of going into the industry. Like, I have an understanding now, and the school helped me to prepare for what goes into producing or acting.
JS: After doing these types of projects, is there any specific dream or passion project you want to do in the future?
MW: I don’t really have a dream project. I think I haven’t experienced enough genres because I really have only been in drama that I’ve produced. I haven’t done, like, any action, horror, or things like that. I’ve really just done dramas. So, I think it would be fun to experience different genres. I’m actually, also, leaning towards the MBA [Master of Business Administration] program. I’m possibly going to be in the MBA program. For that, they are looking into introducing a social media marketing aspect to it, so I think I’m going to try to go deeper into that just because I think that’s a really interesting platform. It has a lot of research that needs to be done, and it’s always changing. So, yeah, I like social media marketing. The research and the changing aspect of it makes it a good marketing tool for businesses to use because everybody is on social media now. So, I want to learn about how I can market that way for different companies and films. I think that would be really interesting to do. So, that’s something that I am looking into. I like doing new things and learning as much as I can.
JS: Are there anything else you want the students to know or closing thoughts?
MW: My favorite color is purple. I really love Italian food. I think that piglets are my favorite animal, but I want to own a turtle one day. I have two baby teeth that haven’t grown in, or like that don’t have an adult tooth under it. I was born in Hawai’i. Yep, I think that’s it. Oh, I really like Joseph Fifelski . . . Do what makes you happy. Actually, don’t do that. Do what makes you fulfilled. Mic drop. Done.