Alumni Spotlight - Meet Brian Andrews, Class of 2005
Brian, please share about your involvement while at Grace School.
I was involved in football for four years while at Grace Brethren. I also took a
photography class in 10th grade that lit the spark for my future career and love of cameras and photography.
What is your favorite memory from your years at Grace?
My favorite memory is collectively the people. The friends and teachers are what I always talk about. That and Aaron Matys bringing a bbq to school senior year, setting it up in the big quad, and then charging underclassmen for food until the administration shut him down.
Please tell us how Grace School prepared you for life.
Grace taught me to think and reason. These more than anything else helped prepare me for my future. Being able to take something in, weigh its pros and cons, and decide for myself what I wanted to do has been pivotal in my life. There is no area of my life that has not been improved by being able to think and reason for myself. This was mostly due to Mr. Hall, Mr. Nandor, and Mr. Long.
Where did you go to college and in what area did you receive your degree?
They say the average college student changes their major four times. Well, I went my own route and kept the same major, Film and Television, for my college career but went to four different colleges. I started my college career in Greenville, Illinois at Greenville College. They had recruited me to play football for them. I declined their invitation to play football but the adventure of going to college 2,000 miles from home was too enticing to turn down so I went to
the school anyway for my freshman year of college. I had a great time and met many great people but ultimately decided the climate/school was not my cup of tea and ventured back to the warm climate of southern California and went to Azusa Pacific University for the first semester of my sophomore year of college. Close to the end of my first semester at APU, and dissatisfied with my class selection for the next year, I was strolling home from class and passed the study abroad office. On a whim I popped inside. Forty five minutes later I exited the office signed up to go to the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
After winter break I departed for the land down under. The University of New South Wales has 60,000 undergrad students. Compared to the paltry 2,000 at Greenville and roughly 6,000 at APU, UNSW was a tidal wave of possibilities. Classes, clubs, and experiences swarmed me and I knew this adventure would become a lasting memory. From driving off-road buggies in the ozzy bush to getting scuba certified and diving on the Great Barrier Reef for my very first
dive ever the adventure did not disappoint. Oh, I occasionally went to class too. As swell as this adventure was it couldn’t last forever. As I ruminated on where I would go to school when I returned stateside, to stay at APU or not, that was the question, California State University Northridge floated to the top as a premium choice for my return. I applied, was accepted, and began my second sophomore year of college at CSUN in the fall of 2007 and graduated with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts in 2010. I cannot recommend this center for higher learning enough.
What does life look like for you today, Brian?
I have now been working in the film and television industry for nearly 15 years. I started as a 2nd Assistant Camera, worked my way to 1st Assistant Camera, and eventually Camera Operator as well as occasionally working as a Director of Photography on several series. I have worked on a number of reality, documentary, commercials, and films over those nearly 15 years for clients like Disney, HBO, Discovery, WB, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, Endemol, Universal, and many more. I have traveled to Japan, Puerto Rico, the jungle temples of Chichen Itza deep in Mexico, the tropical jungles on uninhabited islands in Indonesia, many Caribbean islands and just about every state, including Alaska, in the United States, all for work. Very few people love their job as
much as I do.
These days, with my rockstar of a wife Laura and our two sons, Henry (2), and Hudson (3 months), and chocolate lab, Buffalo (3 years old) the allure of working on the road in far flung corners of the world is less appetizing. I want to see my wife, my boys, and my dog as much as possible so I searched for more local work and was lucky enough to find two jobs that fit the bill. Aviation has always been a passion of mine and I am lucky enough to be able to combine that passion and work. Two days a week I work for the largest twin engine flight based operator on the west coast, Helinet Aviation Services, based at the Van Nuys Airport. Helinet has a contract to provide three news helicopters for local ABC affiliate ABC7 Eyewitness News. I operate the Shotover system and camera fixed to the helicopter for all sorts of breaking news events. From police pursuits to structure and wild fires, severe weather and its effects, to parades and homecomings we fly over the entire LA basin and beyond. Yes, it is probably more fun than it sounds like, at least for me. Getting paid to fly around Los Angeles, a city much prettier from the air than the ground these days, and be able to shoot beautiful motion pictures while doing so? Yes, please.
The other three days each week I work for Fox News on their live, nightly one hour broadcast “Fox News at Night with Trace Gallagher”. I operate a pedestal camera in studio. If you had told me that I would love working a studio news show I never would have believed you. However, the steady nature of a studio news show is a highly coveted position among operators as it allows us to be home every night and still do what we love. So, I absolutely love that I get
to work a studio news show and be home with my family every single night.
I still work on productions in the field when the right job comes up. I have a great working relationship with an aerial/specialty camera company, Glide Aerials. They provide all kinds of drones, cable cameras, remote controlled cars, and more to the film and TV industry. Through them I have been lucky enough to fly drones for all kinds of fun shows/events like Monster Jam monster truck racing. I was even lucky enough to be nominated for an Emmy,
although we did not win our category, and be invited to go to the Emmy’s for my contribution to the camera team and their work on the Late Late show with James Cordon. Easily a career highlight getting to rub elbows with the top tier industry people at the Governors Ball.
Brian, can you share with us what your walk with the Lord looks like today?
My walk with the Lord is stronger than it has ever been. A great foundation was laid for me at Grace starting with Mr. Hall and his old testament survey class and finishing up with the venerable Mr. Nandor and the memorization of Romans 8. Marriage and having children have a way of humbling you, pointing out your weakness, and areas you need to improve. That means that I know have a more clear view of everything I need to work on in my life, a much more clear view than I have ever had before. We attend Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley and Henry goes to the Grace Preschool on the campus of Grace church.
Being in the TV industry has given me a fantastic opportunity to show people I care about them. My method of bringing Christ onto set is to love everyone. The industry is filled with non-believers. Allowing people to know that you care for them as a genuine friend breaks down walls and barriers. I don’t do drugs, don’t get drunk, don’t cheat on my wife, and openly talk about how much I love my wife and children, that and having a cross and Hebrew tattooed on my arm has spurred people to ask me “Brian, you’re different, what is different about you? Why do you have Hebrew tattooed on you and what does it say?” This is the perfect open door for me to walk through and talk to them about my relationship with Christ.
If you could pass along one piece of information or advice to a current Grace student, what would you share with them?
Have virtue. Virtue will make your life so much better, not just in the future but right now. Virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. Your life is not easier with virtue but since when is anything worth doing easy? Theadore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing”. Having virtue is work worth doing. When you have virtue you know what to do, you know the decision to make, you know how to behave, you know who you are. Having virtue is stopping and asking not “What is the good option in this situation?", but “What is the best option in this situation?” (thank you, Marshall Walter, for that great piece of advice).
Virtue in your life cannot be highly enough valued. Virtue makes you kind, loving, obedient, humble, confident and so many other positive attributes. I cannot speak highly enough about virtue and its positive effect on your life. From the Bible (a few quick biblical references to virtue: 2 Peter 1:5-7, Philippians 4:8, Proverbs 11:3) to the ancient Roman Stoics like Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelias, there is so much written about virtue and the benefits of it to our lives. I will leave you with a quote by the impressive human, Benjamin Franklin on the importance of virtue, “Thus the great and
hazardous enterprise we have been engaged in, is, God be praised, happily completed. A few years of peace, well improved, will restore and increase our strength; but our future safety will depend on our union and our virtue.”
We would like to thank you, Brian, for taking the time to share your memories of Grace School with us and to open up about your life today. We are thankful for your faith, your life and success, and the wisdom you have shared with us all in this spotlight.