College freshman Nate Ching explores his interest in film after taking MAP

December 12, 2017 — by Sanjana Melkote and Krithi Sankar

Alum reflects on his experience in MAP and the opportunities it opened up for him. 

At the height of his junior year, current USC freshman and 2017 alumnus Nate Ching was working diligently on his American Story project along with his group when he faced a major roadblock.

His four group members had opposing ideas on the development of the protagonist and the ending.

“My group went through several complete rehashes of the script until we could settle on something that we somewhat agreed on,” Ching said.

The Media Arts Program, created in 2007 with the goal of being a school within a school, has helped hundreds of students find a way to integrate media into their future careers, and for some, find a career based in media.

Ching is majoring in biochemistry with a pre-dental emphasis, but with four years of media arts experience, Ching is now trying to combine his prospective professional interests with media arts through his minor in film production.

For Ching, an essential reason for enrolling in MAP was the social environment that came with it.

Ching fondly remembers the bonding experiences with his MAP friends, most vividly when they embarrassed themselves on the streets of Los Angeles during their junior year field trip.

“We would yell our Toga cheers or do something really embarrassing in public, but because we as a MAP class were all doing it together, we found a more lighthearted energy in ourselves,” Ching said.

Being in MAP not only provided Ching a community within the school but his friends exposed him to various activities and encouraged him get involved with programs that further explored his interests.

“As a freshman, I really wanted to find my place in the school,” Ching said. “Although throughout the years I found myself involved in plenty of programs at school like Homecoming and Bombay in the Bay, I probably wouldn't have been as excited and involved without the energy and passion my friends in MAP had.”

When deciding on a college major, Ching said he always wanted to pursue dentistry, but because of his prominent experience with media throughout high school, he also chose to pursue film alongside biochemistry.

Ching said his senior project contributed to his decision to minor in film.

He found that planning a project plan that could fit most people’s schedules was the most difficult part. The diverse roles that each person filled were all important so they had to learn how to manage their time and value everyone’s contributions.

“Overall, however, I do think I had a lot of fun working with my group and despite our creative differences we all came out to be proud of our final product,” Ching said.

While Ching was mostly interested in filmmaking at first, he was also able to pick up skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, as well as storyboarding and professional screenwriting through the program.

“MAP was undoubtedly one of the greatest things to have ever happened to me in high school,” Ching said. “Even in college I'm getting involved in so many different programs and organizations, but I don't think I would have been able to do as much as I had been able to now had I not joined MAP.”  

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