Student Spotlight: Annabelle Young Takes Steps Toward The Film Industry

Annabelle Young behind the scenes. Photo credit to Amy Brown.

Before the rest of this article is read, I have to preface that I have a friendship with whom I’m writing about. Writing about a friend is difficult because I can’t help but want the reader to love her but that isn’t journalism. With that being said the article below is, I hope, a fair and true representation of her. 

Third-year media communication major, Annabelle Young, has been working in the film industry while receiving her undergraduate degree with an emphasis on film production. Young hopes to become an actor and has been in Los Angeles on the set of a television sitcom doing background work and has recently landed her first principal role on the show. Due to legal restrictions, the show title cannot be named. 

Juggling her studies at Point Loma Nazarene University, a job at the Liberty Station Trader Joe’s and putting in the work to get into the film industry is not the normal trajectory for most PLNU students. 

 “I would be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t a little bit of a struggle,” said Young. “I think that trying to balance a job, school and then also trying to pave a way to a future career is definitely a difficult thing to balance but as I’m able to start doing that, I feel proud of myself. As I’m going to LA to work on set for a day and then coming back to work in San Diego at Trader Joe’s, I feel proud that I’m able to give my all to each aspect of my life.”

 PLNU’s media communication department has prepared Young for the industry outside of the classroom. Through classes, Young has worked on PLNU student productions both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. 

“I think that even just being in school makes you appreciate people that work above you,” said Young. “Having that appreciation for teachers in the classroom has allowed me to go on set and appreciate the people on the crew. Especially through taking film classes with Professor [James] Wicks; I’ve been able to get a new perspective on how to analyze films.”

Young emphasized all she has learned from her professors and how that has translated into a professional setting.

“Taking what I’ve learned in class and using that in a professional setting has made me be able to look at each individual person on the set and not let their work go unnoticed. Through this I know that everyone’s work and effort is what makes a great outcome and that just the people seen on screen aren’t the only reason why something is good, it takes each individual person, from production assistants to directors to camera operators,” said Young.

“There’s a privilege that comes from going to a small school like Point Loma where students can get deeper and more personal connections with each of your professors. Especially having Wicks as my academic advisor and having taken multiple classes with him since my freshman year – I think it definitely has made a difference not having him here this semester but I also think that’s just what comes with going to college and learning how to grow and learn from new professors,” said Young. 

Only a few weeks ago, Young received her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card in the mail signifying she is now part of the SAG-AFTRA union. The SAG-AFTRA is a union that aids in protecting actors both physically and financially; whether it is to provide safety on set or to ensure they are getting paid. 

The eligibility to become a SAG member is stated as “Any person qualifying through work as a background actor must have completed three (3) days of work as a background actor under a SAG-AFTRA (or AFTRA or SAG) collective bargaining agreement. Membership is also available to those who work one (1) day of employment in a principal or speaking role (actor/performer),” according to www.sagaftra.org.

Young is extremely grateful for the opportunities she has been presented with this year but being younger and less experienced in the film industry has been a challenge. 

“It makes me want to learn from everyone, I’m in this state of learning as a student while on set. That mindset is so important to me; learning from everyone I come in contact with is so important,”  Young said. 

Young expressed the humility she feels while working on a set and said she has gained a different perspective on her life and the opportunities she is given. 

“It is a very humbling feeling getting to be there [on set] while being so young and inexperienced compared to those around me. I still have the privilege to go to school and work a job which is why I feel so lucky to have this opportunity,” said Young. “I get to look forward to acting being a future career for myself but I also am able to take a step back and still get to go through the college experience with my peers.” 

While the exact dates for her episodes are unknown, this coming April, Young’s episodes will be aired along with the rest of the show’s season. For legal reasons, the streaming platform the show will be aired on cannot be named.