By Raynard Churchwell
As the 2023-2024 academic year begins, the School of Film, Media & Theatre will welcome our latest cohort of students to our classrooms. Many will be following in the footsteps of FMT alum Heather Mason who has proven that for film students, the possibilities are endless. Mason’s professional success demonstrates that persistence, willpower, and an education in the School of Film, Media & Theatre can lead to success in the fields of marketing and entertainment.
Mason grew up in Marietta, Georgia, but had her sights set on joining the entertainment industry in a bustling media capital.
“Working in media was always my goal,” Mason said. “When I was younger, I started volunteering at a church that had a big media department. They were filming all the sermons and putting them on TV. So, I started working in that space when I was about 12.”
After graduating from Walton High School in 2006, Mason enrolled at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
“I attended the University of South Carolina, my freshman year, just to try something different. Once I was there, I realized it wasn’t my vibe. I missed being near the city and all the activities that came with it.”
After her freshmen year, Mason knew Georgia State was the place for her. She describes her time at Georgia State as fun and interactive.
“It was really easy to get involved at GSU,” Mason said. “I worked at the Campus TV station and got involved in different clubs immediately. It was very easy to meet new people and get new experiences.
“I think that the one thing that struck me about Georgia State is that everyone wanted to be there.” I feel like a lot of people go to college because they feel like that’s what they’re supposed to do. But at GSU, it felt like people wanted to be there and truly cared about their education.”
Mason described how she was able to network with professionals during her education, and how she felt the different activities prepared her for the real world.
“I also made a lot of friends working at the campus TV station and working on other projects with people who were shooting their TV shows and movies. This was right around the time Georgia got its state film credit. During this time, a lot of movies were being shot in Atlanta and I got to intern on a movie called The Joneses, starring David Duchovny and Demi Moore. It felt like an easy transition to the real world.”
Mason says she is thankful for her time at Georgia State because it taught her many lessons about the film industry, as well as life.
“I learned the importance of teamwork,” Mason explained. “You need everyone to work together for a project to be successful. I had been trying to figure out everything by myself before Georgia State. My time in college helped me realize it’s better if you have a team of people and everybody knows how to do different things. You can learn from one another and bring your experiences to the table to create a great product.”
After graduating in 2010, Mason had to hustle up the ranks of media companies and local productions to earn her current success.
“My path after graduation was interesting, to say the least,” Mason explained. “I wasn’t truly sure what I wanted to do after graduation. I just knew I wanted to work in entertainment. So, I moved to Los Angeles about a year after graduation. I started doing a little bit of everything from interning on documentary films to working in a movie theatre. During that time social media was just starting to expand, so I did a lot of marketing and social work as well.”
It wasn’t until the global pandemic arrived; that Mason decided it was time to change careers. This led her to her current position as the marketing Lead for Realm, a podcast company based in New York City.
“It was November 2020, and the COVID-19 virus was causing an uproar in the world. During that time, I decided to take a break and reassess my life. I applied for a few jobs here and there and ended up applying for my current job.
“So, I started working at Realm in January of 2021 as a community manager doing marketing and social media. It was a bit of a shift from what I was used to, but I was still happy to work in entertainment. After working here for two and a half years, I am now the Audience Development Lead. I work on all the marketing campaigns, and PR for the company, and I oversee all socials and community aspects of the company. I can truly say I love my job.
Mason says she is thankful to GSU for teaching her the skills she acquired to be successful in her career.
“I think what is important when you’re in college is the skills you’re learning,” Mason said. “It’s those things that are going to help you in your career, no matter where you end up. Right now, I’m not on a film set, but the skills that I learned in college still transfer over to what I am doing now.”
Mason says that Georgia State holds a special place in her heart, and she will always be an advocate for GSU and the film program.
“When people see that I am from Atlanta, they always ask me where I went to school. I’m always singing the praises of Georgia State. My sister went there too so we are pretty much a GSU Family now. Georgia State and the theatre program provided me with the tools I needed to be successful. Some of my closest friends are the ones I met at State, and I am forever grateful for my time there. Georgia State is a great place to be with people who truly care about helping others. I would recommend it to anybody. “