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Farthest Bulldog 100 Company: SunnyBoy Entertainment

The Greatest Showman.

Now You See Me.

Fantastic Four.

Pacific Rim: Uprising.

SunnyBoy Entertainment has worked with some of the most popular movies to date.

UGA alumni Harold Hayes, Jr., (ABJ ’01) and Craig Phillips (ABJ ’02) knew they had a knack for the art of video, but as the Emmy nominations and CLIO awards indicate, they are living their college dream. Harold gave us some insight into his journey to becoming the co-founder of a successful, full-service creative studio based in California. The West Coast location makes SunnyBoy Entertainment the Bulldog 100 company farthest from Athens.

“I’ve always had an interest in film, and I’ve always been an artist. I did some plays in high school and starting getting into video in high school. However, I started [at UGA] as biology pre-med major and then decided to put my energy into something I would enjoy for the rest of my life. I love science and was good at it, but I would rather spend my days influencing the world through entertainment.”

SunnyBoy Entertainment has won both gold and silver CLIO awards for its behind-the-scenes work on Fox’s “The Greatest Showman.” Both Harold and Craig write for the “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” which has also won a Daytime Emmy for Best Children’s Show. SunnyBoy Entertainment works on everything from promotional featurettes to vertical reality videos and games.

What’s it like working alongside legendary directors and artists? “It’s been like the ultimate film school. We get to go on these sets and be close to these filmmakers practicing their craft and you get into candid conversations with people about the world, how they see it and their work.”

Harold said the most influential professor was Alan Stecker from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Stecker gave me a long leash to make a lot of videos and check out equipment whenever I wanted. I checked out video equipment three to four times a week, and I pretty much always had a camera in my hand.”

Relive your glory (Glory) days!

Even though Harold confessed he broke some cameras, Stecker offered him a job at his company, ASV Productions, after graduation. “At ASV Productions, I got to learn how to operate a small company in Atlanta and learn the fine arts of being a director of photography and editor. I learned a lot.”

Clearly, the lessons stuck. As innovators in their industry, Harold and Craig now own one of the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by Bulldog alumni.

Interested in seeing the other Bulldog entrepreneurs and culture shapers? Check out the full Bulldog 100 list.

Q&A with UGA Alumna Ebonie Medious

Alumni Spotlight: Ebonie Medious (AB ’17, AB ’17)

My name is Ebonie Medious and I graduated from UGA in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications studies from Franklin College and a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs from SPIA. I also minored in global health. I’m originally from Hampton, Georgia, and almost attended LSU. However, I ultimately chose the University of Georgia after spending a weekend with Georgia Daze, an overnight campus visitation program. I loved every moment of being on campus so I had to come to UGA! I started getting involved with the Alumni Association while I was still a student by donating to the Student Alumni Association.

I currently live in San Francisco and work for LinkedIn as an associate program manager in inclusion recruiting. I’m thankful for UGA and the Alumni Association as it’s given me opportunities to stay connected and feel at home in a brand-new city. When I moved to California, I sought out the Bay Area Alumni Association as a way to meet new people who had something common with me.

 

Q&A with Ebonie

  1. What was your favorite class at Georgia?

Foreign Policy Decision Making

  1. What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?

Be open to all opportunities that come your way and connect with your classmates on LinkedIn!

  1. Describe Athens in three words.

Southern, Hospitality, Charming

  1. Describe UGA in three words.

The Arch, Tailgates, Tate

  1. What is your favorite thing to do in your current city?

Visit the wineries in Napa Valley.  

  1. What did you think you would be when you grew up? Do you still have plans to become that?

I thought I was going to be a corporate attorney. But, I don’t think I have it in me to go through another round of school again.

  1. What is the most important lesson you learned in college?

Getting a C in a class is not the end of the world!

  1. What do you know for sure? What will you never understand?

The University of Georgia is by far the best institution to attend! I will never understand what makes other institutions’ alumni think that their school is better than UGA!

Alumni spotlight: Chuck McCarthy

We caught up with Chuck McCarthy (AB ’03), artist, actor and founder of The People Walker, to talk about how his UGA experience led him to an unexpected, but satisfying, career path. McCarthy’s one-of-a-kind business is a combination of the services provided by a personal trainer and a dog walker. The People Walker’s mission is to connect people who want to go on a walk with walking partners.

Chuck McCarthy, The People Walker

What did you want to be when you grew up?                      

I wanted to go into medicine because my grandfather was a doctor. I originally started school as a pre-med major but then went into the art school. I didn’t know what I specifically wanted to be, but I knew I had to do something creative. Art school prepared me for life because it was so subjective. There was no right or wrong answer for most things in the art world. That’s true for a lot of things when you graduate.

Walk me through the foundation of your business, The People Walker. Tell me about the very first moment this brilliant idea came about.

At first, the idea came up as a joke. I was looking for a way to make money while getting more exercise, so I thought about being a dog walker. But I didn’t want to pick up dog poop. There’s a lot of personal trainers and dog walkers in Los Angeles, so I thought maybe I’ll just start walking with people.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there were people who would want or need this service. People could use my company for two services: motivation and safety. We know that we need exercise but it can be hard to motivate ourselves to walk. Even the most motivated people need someone to hold themselves accountable. Then, safety was also an essential service. A few years ago, my mom went on a walk alone in the woods and fell. She broke her leg in about seven different places. People need safety from falling down, being alone, being cat-called or being bothered by others.

Chuck McCarthy, The People Walker

What is your favorite thing to do in Los Angeles?

I love to go on hikes. Even with all the walking I do, I still find myself finding new paths in the park that I live next to. You feel like an explorer when you find new places by yourself. There’s a book about a lot of the secret stairs here in L.A. but I’ve been reluctant to read it because I want to find them myself.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?

Find a job and don’t be scared to do something that isn’t exactly what you want to do. But, don’t feel like you have to stay in that job. A lot of times, people discover that they are working at a job that can lead to other opportunities. Get your foot in the door, but don’t get your foot stuck in the door. That sounds like a good saying, right?

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken that resulted in the most rewarding outcome?

Moving to California was a pretty big risk. It led to the life that I live today.

What do you know for sure?

There are always gonna be problems in life. But life is really about trying to deal with those problems. It’s always easier to deal with those problems if you have the help and support from other people.

What will you never understand? 

Why someone would go anywhere other than UGA.

Is there anything you wish you could change when looking back at your career decisions? 

No, because I think that everything you do leads to the next part of your life. You can’t be in this moment right now in your life without having made the mistakes that you’ve made, the wins that you’ve had and the right decisions you’ve made – you went to the high school, you went to and played whatever sports you did as a kid. Whether or not you won or lost a game, passed or failed the test, or lost money or made money that has led up to where you are in your life. You can’t really get rid of one thing without getting rid of everything else.