I’m thrilled to report yet another epilogue in the continuing story of Greater Than Yourself.
The previous installment was in this post I wrote on April 9, 2009:
The epilogue at the end of Greater Than Yourself is a case study of a GTY challenge I issued to the students and staff of Up with People. (There’s a little film snippet of the experience over at greaterthanyourself.com). If you look in the book, you’ll notice that the byline on the piece is not yours truly, but Andrew Lanham, who was a staff member at the time.
And that’s significant in the context of the spirit of GTY.
At the time, you see, Andrew–a gifted and creative young dude–was preparing to apply to the graduate program in screenwriting at the University of Texas in Austin, a notoriously difficult program to get accepted to. So, here’s the way I figured it: it sure wouldn’t hurt Andrew’s application for him to have his name in a book published by a major New York publisher. And nothing would make me happier than to share my platform with him, if it would help him to achieve his dream. In some small way, at least.
So, that was my motivation in asking Andrew to write in my book.
Now, here’s the epilogue to the story-behind-the-epilogue:
Andrew is in! I’ve just learned that he’s been accepted to the UT RTF Screenwriting MFA program.
I’m not suggesting that I really had anything to do with that–like I said, he’s gifted–but, man, it sure feels awesome. So here’s to you, Andrew! Go light the entertainment world on fire. I can’t wait for the time when I’ll be able to say, “I knew him when.” It’s that Greater Than Yourself thing.
(Oh, and if you’d like to match a face with the name, Andrew’s the 3rd one in the aforementioned short film).
…So, that’s what I wrote in April of last year.
Now here’s the epilogue to the epilogue of the epilogue:
Our man, Andrew, graduate student in screenwriting at Austin, just won the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, which is awarded by The Academy.
Yes. That Academy. As in, “Oscar.”
The Nicholl Fellowship is THE award for yet-unpublished screenwriters. Past winning screenplays include Akeelah and the Bee, Arlington Road, and Finding Forrester. This last year they had over 6,000 applicants. 10 of those were chosen as finalists, and 5 of those were granted the $30,000 fellowship.
And Andrew is one of the 5.
As you can imagine, all of his family and friends–myself included, of course–are very proud of him.
Oscar winner, Eva Marie Saint presented Andrew with his award. Here’s her speech: Eva Marie Saint presents at the Nicholl Awards Dinner
And then Andrew got up to say those immortal words that every Hollywood hopeful dreams of saying one day: “I’d like to thank the Academy.”
Take a look at his acceptance speech here:
Go, Andrew, Go!