Aspiring filmmaker Mark Keegan has had many opportunities to hone his craft and get hands-on experience in the field during his years at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Through an internship with Baking Memories 4 Kids, he filmed promotional videos, and social media content, and even edited a clip that ran on the local news. The work was especially rewarding because of the nonprofit’s mission: selling cookies to raise funds to send children with life-threatening illnesses and their families on weeklong vacations.
“I easily fell in love with Baking Memories 4 Kids from all the joy it brings to people’s lives,” Mark says, adding that his efforts were a success. “We met the client goal by increasing the nonprofit’s social media community, raising more than $3,000 for charity, and executing a public relations campaign that generated coverage from several news outlets.”
Mark’s skills as a videographer, editor, and actor were put to use in his internship with LCM 24/7 Productions, where he assisted on photo shoots and edited videos. His videography skills have also turned out to be a tremendous asset to STAC. Mark creates content for STAC Campus Communications for various projects which includes a video of a visit to Z100 New York radio where students made commercial ads to promote Open Houses for the College.
Mentored and encouraged by Dean for Student Success and Aquinas Leaders Program Vin Crapanzano, Mark launched the YouTube channel “Mark & Matt Studios” with his brother. Over the past three years, he has produced over 100 comedy sketches, ranging from parodies of movie trailers to Zoom meetings starring zany characters. One of his favorites is “Eyes” from the Halloween slasher film “Mark & Matt’s Halloween Spooktacular.” “I played a not-so-smart teenager who ends up getting caught by the slasher and dies in a very comical way,” he says.
Throughout his college years, Mark has been supported and challenged by professors, advisors, and administrators, such as Vin Crapanzano, and others, including Associate Professor Elaine Winship and STAC’s Director of Enrollment Marketing and Campus Communications Annie Lombardi. He says that all have been instrumental in making real-world experiences possible and continue to inspire him to pursue a film career.
“They motivate me to make films and videos, and because of the success I’ve seen from it already, they have confirmed my decision to go into the film industry,” says Mark, who participates in the Aquinas Leaders Program. “If you make a film or short and get the reaction out of the audience that you were looking for, you’ve done a good job,” he adds. “It’s a very rewarding feeling.”
The communication arts major also enjoys hands-on learning experiences in his production and broadcasting classes. His favorite course so far was Electronic Field Production led by Adjunct Professor and TV Studio Engineer Jim Houston. “This past semester, I had a class with the best group of students,” Mark says. “It was like ‘The Avengers’ of classes.”
Of all the great directors, Mark is particularly inspired by Martin Scorsese for his ability to blend humor, seriousness, and chaos, as he did in his favorite film of all time, “Goodfellas.” Back home in Orangeburg, New York, Mark has another source of inspiration: his father, “the funniest and most hard-working person” he knows, who encourages his son to follow his dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Mark shares his father’s advice with future STAC students: “Do what you think is best for you and choose a major that you are actually interested in. If you are doing something you have fun learning about, you will succeed.”