Pitzer Spotlights

2005-2006 Spotlight Archives

First-year Zachary Miller’s Script Picked Up By Paramount Pictures

Zachary Miller '09
Zachary Miller '09

Zachary Miller ’09 came to Pitzer from Newton, Massachusetts to take part in the media studies program and to be close to the Los Angeles film industry. It didn’t take him long to make a dent in the scene. Miller was named runner-up in Paramount Pictures “the KNOW HIV/AIDS” Short Screen Play Competition. He was awarded $7,500 for his play “Six Names.” The play focuses on a high school senior coping with the news he is HIV positive.

“I was outside of a restaurant waiting for a table and one of the Vice Presidents from Paramount called to tell me the news,” Miller said. “I was in shock. My parents are really excited for me; I called them right after I found out.”

Nearly 50 qualifying entries were received from 11 Southern California colleges and universities. The judging panel included film industry and communications professionals from Paramount Pictures Corporation, CBS Corporation, Viacom Inc., the Kaiser Family Foundation, MTV, and Showtime Networks Inc.

Not only is Miller a first-year student, but this was his first screen play. To prepare to write the piece, Miller interviewed a family friend in his hometown who runs the Peter Daniel Clark Aids Foundation.

“She told me the story of her brother, who the foundation is named for,” Miller said. “Hearing a real story helped me figure out how to write about the subject of HIV and AIDS. I thought I knew what I was talking about, but I realized that everything I knew was from other media—I was a third source. That is why I wanted to talk to her and get first hand information.”

Growing up an avid movie watcher, Miller became involved with local film production in high school, doing lighting and electronic work. Eventually this early work led him to become a production assistant for a Pepsi commercial.

“I’ve worked on a lot of films back home,” Miller explains. “But the industry is a lot bigger and harder to get into it out here.”

However, the bigger scene hasn’t hindered him any. The prolific young writer’s latest project, a feature-length screen play, may soon be in production.

—Catherine Okereke ’00