Jay Gard ’08 graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Tulane University where he double majored in English and Film Studies. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, CA where he pursues his life-long passion for filmmaking. By day, he is an Associate Producer on “The Magicians,” a television series that airs on Syfy. And in his spare time, he follows his dream to direct. His most recent short film, “Double Take,” was selected to premiere in the 2017 St. Louis International Film Festival from a pool of over 1,700 applicants.
What were your primary interests and activities while you were at Whitfield?
I was very involved in theater, playing roles in "Pride and Prejudice," “Oliver!,” "Servant of Two Masters,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” I was also in Student Council where I served as Student Body President my senior year. My campaign involved remixing that year's movie trailers to make them sound like they were advertising my candidacy and Photoshopping my head onto historical paintings like “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” and the “Mona Lisa.”
I was also a computer-enthusiast enabled by Whitfield’s laptop program. I honed my A/V skills using whatever software I could download for free. I was infamous for overwrought keynote presentations. We had a senior year history assignment with a requirement that our entire PowerPoint presentation fit onto a single slide. I complied with a single slide featuring 103 animations. I was, in my own charming way, a fairly insufferable student.
What are some of your favorite Whitfield memories?
One of my best memories was being cast in “The Wizard of Oz,” the Spring musical my senior year. I played the Cowardly Lion and my sister, Kate ’10, played Dorothy. I also loved leading Spirit Week with Student Council VP Jayce Reese ’08. I believe we set records for the canned food and blood drives that year, but it's possible I'm embellishing our achievements. Whether I was bickering with Ms. Lotz about a novel's symbolism or being befriended by Brian Chao ’08 on my nerve-racking first day at a new school—nearly every Whitfield memory is a great one.
Describe how Whitfield prepared you for college.
Whitfield's focus on constructive classroom communication helped foster my strong participation skills in college—something I saw other students struggle with at Tulane. Having the confidence and skillset to engage with a professor in class helped bring topics to life and deepened my understanding. Whitfield taught me to bring an analytical eye to college material rather than simply memorizing lessons letter-for-letter.