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Florida State University


If you have a love of science and art, two very disparate fields, how do you choose one major field of study?

"Torn between doing something creative or medical," Matt Miller struggled both spiritually and personally. "I did not want to give up either, but to become a doctor would mean sacrificing filmmaking for 10-15 years, and to do film full-time would mean giving up my interest in health and caring for people face-to-face."

Honors Chemistry professor and faculty advisor Dr. Ken Goldsby advised him, "Never give up on your passions, no matter how polar they may be." Matt says, "Before enrolling, I read online reviews of Dr. Goldsby's class that said he was the most genuine, caring teacher you will ever have. The review was correct."

Matt discovered the common thread running through Media Production and Medicine—caring for people. "My interest in documentaries stems from the fact that they're true stories—about injustice, social movements, or interesting people."

Switching his desire to become a doctor to that of a nurse, Matt realized he could work in both fields. "With Nursing, I could work full-time three days a week, anywhere in the country, any time of the day, and receive necessary benefits. This would allow me the freedom to work on whatever film or video project I wished on the other days."

How can he work anywhere? By becoming a Travel Nurse, an RN that works for a hospital for a planned period of time, from 3 to 9 months. "Hypothetically, I could work in Miami for several months, then Hawaii, or New York City, and then Alaska for the remainder of the year. If I want to shoot a documentary in Philadelphia, I could sign a travel nursing contract and shoot on my days off."

To gain experience, Matt has participated for several years with the Alternative Break Corps. In New Orleans, he focused on low-income housing. In Waco, Texas, it was world hunger, and in the Gulf Coast states, he focused on hurricane relief and homelessness. When in town, Matt works as an emergency care technician at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital's Emergency Center.

Matt's mini-documentary about Tallahassee's bicycle culture was screened at the 2005 Independent Film League's Festival. And last summer through FSU's London Documentary Experience, he interned with the Documentary Filmmakers Group. The program included discussions with distinguished filmmakers. Invaluable experience, he says, and "It was comforting to learn that famous filmmakers struggle with the same obstacles that I do in making their films."

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