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Meet Brandon Winchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Winchester.

Brandon , please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in the booming suburbs of Mesa, Arizona. My city named the 9th most boring city in the United States in 2014 by Business Insider, remained home to me where I would explore interest in a career of sports and/or TV broadcasting. However, after an arm injury in junior high, I found time to explore the intellectual and artistic beauty behind cinema. I wrote stories at first, never really intending for them to go anywhere or lead to anything, but slowly began to find a knack for writing reviews for films I had seen. In high school, this leads to me finding a job at my local movie theatre and using that job to see and review as many films as possible on my Instagram.

In my city, I amassed a minor following of people who shared and enjoyed reading my reviews. During this time, I received support regarding my applications to a few film schools in Southern California. I was accepted into Chapman University as a Film Studies major, where I continued to write film reviews on an app called Letterboxd. Within that app, I have amassed nearly 400 followers and with time, have found friends who support me within and outside of my major. Some of these individuals I have developed a big enough rapport with that we started a movie podcast this summer called, “STACKED”.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It wasn’t all easy. My biggest obstacles have changed over the years. In high school, I was faced with high anxiety to succeed to my potential from the people around me. It seemed as if they had higher expectations for me than I even had for myself. I was adamant about a career in something I loved, not with what paid me the most, leading me to decide to go to Chapman even with my financial concerns of a burden being placed on me after college. Within the Chapman community, I had a hard time finding my group and who I was, bouncing around from group to group for nearly the entirety of my freshman year, before finally somewhere where I not only felt comfortable but felt like I could be me. I know it sounds cliche, but these hampered my success and ability to believe in myself until I gained enough confidence to truly find where I belonged.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I generally define success for myself in terms of how happy I am. For me, while money and name recognition are slightly important (as to continue my path to what I want to be), if I’m not happy, I’m not successful. My goal is to make everyone as comfortable and happy as possible, just like myself. Having a small house or apartment doesn’t negate that. It’s not all about material success, but through the value of friendship, connection and genuine experience. I look out for my status when measuring this. If I’m just able to get by but have an excess in memorable and meaningful experiences, whether that be through my job or extracurricular activities, I consider life a success.

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Image Credit:

Jarren Barlow, Christopher Li and Shawn Winchester

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