I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.

By David Oliver: Author Page

What I’m Thankful For

David Letterman

This goes far beyond my appreciation of David Letterman as a television variety show host and personality in general.  I owe David Letterman personally.

I’m a graduate of Ball State University (Class of ’96, bitches) in Muncie, IN.  Coincidentally so is Mr. Letterman (Class of ’69, bitches).  Letterman is easily the best known alumnus of the school and has given generously to our alma mater.  We both majored in Communications and the relatively new Communication and Media Building on the campus carries his name on it.  It’s quite a joint.  All new everything: computers, classrooms, bathroom tile….  Much nicer than when I inhabited the campus.  The place looked slightly better than a Cold War bomb shelter back then.

I enjoyed my time at Ball State very much.  When I transferred there, after a very failed stint at an engineering school, the Communications program was ripe with opportunity.  Ball State already had one of the best Journalism and Communications programs in the country.  And when I got there, they had just started a new campus television station.  So for the first time ever, students had the opportunity to create and produce their own shows and have them seen in the dorms.  Not many took advantage of it, but I did.  Learned a lot about production, writing and editing.  Fun stuff to be sure.

Another opportunity that was available for Communications students is a scholarship provided by Letterman himself, called, appropriately enough, the David Letterman Scholarship.  This is a cool scholarship because it’s not based on grades, but rather strictly on creativity.  You can write a script, record a radio show, record an album, create a TV show, shoot a film or a short, do claymation, anything having to do with Communications.  The scholarship is awarded annually to three students in an anonymous competition, so as to avoid any favoritism by the judges, who were professors in the department.   First prize is a full ride for a year on tuition.  Second prize is half a full ride, third is a third.

I did a TV show.  Wanted to make my own version of The Twilight Zone meets Tales From The Crypt.   Damn thing took me weeks to do.  You also needed to provide a written essay, up to 20 pages, explaining your project and what it took to create it.  I slathered 20 pages of sweat and BS into that essay and turned the whole thing in a couple of days before the deadline.  I came in second.  I was able to use the money to fund an internship out here in LA with a production company.  I moved out in 1996 and have never left.

I owe Mr. Letterman for providing me with that opportunity, and so do dozens of other alumni and students.  I thought it was kick-ass then and also now that he provides that chance for students to to help pay for their education if they’re willing to work for it.  Because honestly, screw work study.  Had I not gotten that scholarship, I’d probably have had to save up for a year or two to come out to California.  And maybe not even made it at all.  So I’m very thankful for that.

Thank, Dave.  Much appreciated.