Alumna filmmaker and director wants works to be a positive change maker

Alumna filmmaker and director wants works to be a positive change maker

W atching movies was something Shelly “Starr” Jarrard, ’12, grew up doing. Yet, she always wondered what it would be like to work behind the scenes. She had a passion for filmmaking.

This past spring, after working long hours before and after work, she finished directing her first documentary, “The Flaws of Copyright Infringement Laws,” which placed as a semi-finalist in the Festigious Los Angeles Film Festival. It’s also been featured on the Independent Film Channel (L.A.) and accepted into the Georgia Documentary Film Festival, Montreal Independent Film Festival, Newmarket, International Film Festival and Venice Shorts Film Festival. 

Starr Jarrard (second from left) on the Star 94 Morning Show.
Starr Jarrard (second from left) on the Star 94 Morning Show.

The documentary exposes how copyright laws allow corporations to bully independent filmmakers. It also highlights how the justice system can change this path.

Jarrard fell in love with film and radio broadcasting at Georgia College, where she was a mass communication major and Spanish minor. Jarrard was also an anchor, entertainment and field reporter with GCTV—the news station for students. She joined the station, because she had a strong passion for working behind-the-scenes in film. 

Shelly "Starr" Jarrard
Shelly "Starr" Jarrard

“It taught me the processes of what on-screen talents go through while on camera,” she said. “It was so great, because I had already been behind the camera. So, it was cool to see what went on in front of the camera.”

Jarrard was also on the morning and afternoon shows at WGUR—Georgia College’s radio station.

“I joined WGUR, because I loved broadcasting and creating fresh new content for the morning show, as well as adding in humor,” she said. “It was such a cool feeling to see what I created and the types of responses that would come from the audience.”

Her favorite memory of working on the morning show was her first call from a listener. She enjoyed interacting with him.

“We received positive feedback from our listeners,” Jarrard said. “I think that’s such a great memory, because it was the first time I was able to see what we created come to life.”

After graduating, Jarrard interned on the morning comedy show, Star 94 in Atlanta. After her internship, she later implemented those skills by helping develop podcasts and radio shows for legal professionals in the area.

“It was such a great and inspiring internship,” she said. “My role was to help the morning crew (Cindy and Ray) with the show, including sharing ideas, brainstorming, editing and other tasks. It ended up being pretty interactive, and I was able to implement many of my comedy ideas into the show, which was really neat.”

Jarrard credits her success with Star 94 to on-air experience at WGUR. It was there she learned the steps a morning broadcaster uses daily and what each hour of a show consists of. College shows were similar to reality, so Jarrard was well prepared for an internship.

Six months into the job, Jarrard needed a full-time position. However, there weren’t any available in the area, so she took a hiatus from broadcasting and film and began working a sales job during the day. She also pursued her love of film by screenwriting at night and on weekends. Her mass communication skills were instrumental, at this time. 

“I just want to continue making films that create good change. I think that’s what I am really looking forward to. And, since I work in the legal field, I want to create films that stress justice, as well.”
– Starr Jarrard

Jarrard’s professors provided a solid foundation to draw from when writing screenplays, directing films and creating podcasts. Angela Criscoe pushed Jarrard to follow her dreams in radio broadcasting and directing films. Stephen Price taught her how to sharpen her writing skills with editorials for his class. And Pate McMichael helped Jarrard polish those writing skills, which she would later use in travel blogging and screen plays.

“My professors gave me that extra boost and inspiration where, if I was on the verge of pushing my project a little further or expanding on it, they always encouraged me to do so,” she said. “They challenged me in a way that pushed me to do better. They also welcomed my opinion, which led to innovative ideas and thoughts that pushed me away from normal projects and created new, diverse ones.” 

Starr Jarrard on a movie set.
Starr Jarrard on a movie set.

While at Georgia College, Jarrard also studied abroad in Valencia, Spain. It enhanced her sense of travel and adventure while practicing Spanish for her minor.

“Traveling inspires me,” she said. “Seeing new cultures and different places and getting out of my comfort zone, allows me to come back with a sense of new inspiration and adventure.”

A few years ago, Jarrard embarked on her biggest adventure yet, moving to the West Coast. She’s now director of legal sales for Huseby in Los Angeles, where she sells deposition services, promotes legal services and does brandings for law firms across Southern California. This requires considerable networking.

“My professors taught me the power of connecting and having leadership skills,” Jarrard said. “I use these skills daily in my job, as well as with marketing and branding. This helps me in my profession and in all aspects of life.”

Her professors also instilled a strong sense of ambition in her, while pushing her to be her best. Now, she wants to inspire others through film or conversations to help them achieve their dreams.

“I just want to continue making films that create good change,” Jarrard said. “I think that’s what I am really looking forward to. And, since I work in the legal field, I want to create films that stress justice, as well.”