Casey (KC) Wayland

Dodge College, Chapman U. - Class of ’08

Incorporated a tour of duty into his film school education.

After setting his sights on film school in 2001, Wayland ignored conventional wisdom and applied only to Dodge College. For the native of Orange, Calif., the local Chapman U. media program offered more than just convenience; it also boasted state-of-the-art facilities (including a motion-capture stage — a rarity in academia) and an appealing hands-on philosophy (students have access to cameras from day one).

But Wayland’s education didn’t go exactly as planned. In 2002, financial necessity led him to enlist in the Army, and he was deployed to Iraq a year later — rigging a special helmet-mounted camera to document those experiences. After his tour of duty, Wayland returned to school and shaped the footage into a feature, “365 Boots on the Ground,” which made the festival rounds and earned him Chapman’s documentary award while still a sophomore.

Now, busy working on his senior thesis, Wayland is taking full advantage of Dodge’s offerings to create a motion-capture animated film, “Sopor.” In May, Wayland will graduate with a more robust reel than many seasoned pros.