Emerson College, Class of 2014
BA in Screenwriting & Political Science
Zach is a recent graduate of Emerson College where he earned a degree in Screenwriting and Political Science. Today, Zach works in Los Angeles as a film/TV writer and occasional performer.
Zach, one of the founders of Greeley's Improv Troupe The Puritans, developed his passion for writing and comedy at HGHS. He has visited our stage over the past few years, performing with his younger siblings who help carry on the tradition.
We recently spoke with Zach about what Greeley Theatre meant to him. "My first 3 years of high school were rocky, but once I started reorienting my life around my passion for writing and comedy, I finally became comfortable with myself. Greeley Theatre was an enormous part of that, as was the LIFE School program," he said.
Zach loved Greeley Theatre because it was a supportive environment full of people who cared as much as he did about the work itself. He also found that he looked for that in a college experience. "Emerson gave me many opportunities to sample various roles in the arts/entertainment world. They often diverged wildly from my expectations, but by taking on lots of different projects, I figured out what I liked and who I was. Transitioning from a miniature, college-level simulation of the entertainment industry to the real entertainment industry actually hasn't been as difficult as I feared."
Zach chose to pursue a career in writing because it was the only thing he'd ever done that wasn't a means to an end. "Something I was taught in Greeley Theatre about acting was 'if you can imagine yourself doing something else, you should do that thing.' Writing's the thing I can't imagine not doing."
In college, Zach continued to follow his passion both inside and outside of the classroom. At Emerson he was the head writer of a Daily Show-style satirical news program, Executive Producer of the world's largest student-produced award show, coordinated travel of his comedy troupe to festivals around the Northeast, served as Editor-in-Chief of a satirical newspaper in the vein of The Onion, and he pitched his first show to NBC when he was 19 and won a Student Emmy. In 2015, Zach was chosen to be a Emerson Senior Class Commencement Speaker and the year he graduated he received the Student Leader of the Year Award.
He recommends to students to find the thing you love, find a way to do it every day, and everything else will fall into place. He also recommends surrounding yourself with people who aren't afraid to tell you when your work sucks.
Zach says he can trace his entire creative career back to the lessons learned in Greeley Theatre. "It nurtured my sense of ambition, and particularly in the world of youth theatre, it was so rare and rewarding to participate in a program that prioritized the quality of the creative product over some vague and condescending idea of 'inclusion.' We were treated with the respect usually reserved for adults, and that meant meeting demanding standards, but learning to meet those standards in high school gave me a huge leg up in college and the years that followed. The Playwriting and Directing program, in particular, was one of my first real experiences of agency, and that satisfaction of bringing something beautiful from page to reality is the feeling I've devoted my life to chasing. I can only speak on my own experience, but I owe who I am to the mentorship I received in the Greeley Theatre program."
When asked about his most memorable moments at Greeley he reflected on fulfilling a promise he made in a campaign to get elected student council president, "I got my head shaved at a school-wide assembly in front of 1300 people. It was horrifying. FoundingThe Puritans with a friend was another high point."
(The Puritans Improv Troupe continues to thrive at HGHS. They will be holding annual tryouts this spring and continue to perform three times per year. If you know someone who might like to audition, please contact Puritan Co-Presidents, Alex Newman or Rebecca Ozer.)
By Isabella Marano. Isabella Marano is a HGHS Senior and has also been in the Greeley Theatre Company during her Greeley years. She is looking forward to her own Emerson experience in Boston. Isabella will enter the Class of 2020 next Fall focusing on a BA in Acting. Published May 2016.