(Editor's note: This is the first in an a monthly series that will highlight alumni from area high schools and colleges, telling their stories of what they have done and where they are now. The series will print the second Monday of each month in the Education section. If you know of an alumni we should feature, email education@ sungazette.com.)
Lycoming and the surrounding counties are home to many schools and colleges that educate thousands of students and produce ambitious, motivated and interesting graduates each year.
Just one of those students is 2001 Loyalsock Township graduate, Meg Pinsonneault.
Shown in this photo courtesy of Anna Donovan, is filmmaker and 2001 Loyalsock Township graduate, Meg Pinsonneault.
Pinsonneault is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles, Calif., where she will have been for eight years this October.
As a student at Loyalsock, Pinsonneault learned how to manage her time effectively, while juggling many different responsibilities.
"I think of my time at Loyalsock fondly," she said. "High school taught me that most things in life are measured by how much you put into it. High school provided a platform where I could be the captain of the soccer team, French Club president, acting in the spring musical and involved with 14 other activities, all at the same time. Through the drama club, I even directed a couple plays in high school, which ended up affecting my decision to pursue a career as a film director."
She named Joseph Smith, Jill Roman and Barbara Antolick as a few of her favorite teachers at Loyalsock who supported and encouraged her storytelling skills.
"I still have the notebook that the English department gave me when I won two Silver Key awards for writing. It's filled from cover to cover," she said.
Following graduation, Pinsonneault attended Boston University's Theater Institute's summer acting program, falling "head over heels for Boston." Her freshmen year of college, she attended Emerson College in Boston as an acting major.
Her drive to learn more about film acting landed her a few roles in student films but found herself more interested in creating films than acting in them - and then volunteering as a producer's assistant on a feature film. Her sophomore year she changed her major to film with a minor in screenwriting.
Pinsonneault also has done a lot of traveling - spending time in Africa, Europe and Mexico even before leaving for college. Through Emerson, she has lived in a 12th century castle in Holland where she met her best friend and business partner.
She said she also has studied at a film school in Prague - the same that Milos Forman attended (director of "Amadeus" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"). Her job also has taken her to Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Philippines twice and she has a Filipino Godson named Harold.
Pinsonneault sat on a few panels, one for casting director, Risa Bramon Garcia ("JFK," "Natural Born Killers" and "Speed") and recently has started to get in front of the camera again.
"Over the years, I've been a prop assistant on big budget commercials and an art director on low budget horror films," she said. "Then I bought a camera and started shooting."
She became and editor and works in the social media and crowd-funding industries and also dabbles in graphic design and branding. She said she constantly is building her portfolio as a writer, director and producer.
At the moment she is working as a social media manager for film production and social media companies. She said her most notable work has been with Libertine Films, a production company started by Jules Stewart, mother of "Twilight" star, Kristen Stewart and Carolla Digital, Adam Carolla's media company.
Pinsonneault also started her own independent production company called Thirsty Girl Films. She has worked on many projects throughout her career and has three projects in post production at this time.
One project is a feature documentary called "Gwapa (Beautiful)", about a poor Filipino family and their journey to help their three children who have facial deformities. Pinsonneault and her crew spent six weeks over the course of two years shooting the film on and around Bohol island in the Philippines.
Her latest project is a short film, "Bizarre," that is in the editing stages right now. It is an inside look at the lives of performers, instructors and others involved in keeping the circus arts alive.
At the moment she is working on finding financing for her first narrative feature film called "Black," which she describes as "a dark psychological thriller."
Pinsonneault said being an artist isn't easy, but encourages those interested and trying to break through into the filmmaking industry to keep pushing.
"Don't give up. Keep making things," she said. "No matter how small the project, it's very important to continue honing your craft ... Don't let process get you down. Filmmaking doesn't happen over night. It takes time. So, buckle up and hang on for the long haul."