Junior Matt Garlin’s directorial debut didn’t take place in any movie studio or theater house, but rather in his own bedroom when he was only 8. For Garlin, his career as a director started with toys. “I had an overactive imagination,” Garlin freely admits. “I had my action figures and figurines — setting them up just to play, to do a scene, would take hours. I made sure I had everything.”
Garlin’s passion for directing led him to create his own production company as a teenager, which he named GMAN, his middle school nickname. While Garlin’s first efforts behind the camera were filming weddings, bar mitzvahs and even a funeral, he knew he had a future behind the lens.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t Assumption’s AC Upstage theater company, Assumption College Television (ACTV) or the DiPasquale Media Center that attracted drew Garlin’s attention to the College, but actually its Organizational Communications program. “All the other schools had things like advertising and marketing, but when I read about Org Comm It seemed like it was the perfect package,” he says. “It just sounded good and it fit me perfectly.”
During his first year, Garlin jumped head-first into all of the opportunities Upstage and Assumption’s media services had to offer him, including writing and directing a short film, “The Waiting Room.” He admits it was a daunting task for a student in only his second semester in college, but is still something he calls a “complete success.” From there Garlin went on to serve as a stage manager for Upstage’s “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Damn Yankees,” as well as continuing his work for ACTV. Most recently, he produced, directed and wrote a new series on ACTV, “Girl of Your Dreams.”
The young director considers Theater Arts professor and Upstage advisor Brian Tivnan, as well as history professor David Cohen, as mentors, and credits them with inspiring him to challenge himself, both inside and out of the classroom. “Professor Cohen has really taught me to look at history and see if that can affect what I’m doing as a director,” he says.
Garlin also looks to his peers for inspiration. Since he came to Assumption, he has seen his creativity flourish as a result of his surroundings. “Here I’m able to hone in on ideas and listen to other people and their ideas,” he says. “It’s a collaboration and not just me being egotistical about my work. I can show it to someone else and they can say ‘this doesn’t work, let’s fix it’ or ‘maybe you should do this.’”
While he sees his major, Org. Comm., leading him into a job in management after graduation, Garlin still has aspirations of making it big as a filmmaker. “People know me as the movie guy [on campus]. I think I have a life as a writer and director, but we’ll see how that pans out.”