One of the best things about leading the College newspaper is the postcards and letters from our students. The Tamarack advisor, Associate Professor Steve Parlato, recently shared a very animated postcard from an alumnus who is thriving in Hollywood. Joe Correll, Mattatuck Community College alumnus, is a screen writer/producer who gratefully acknowledges the difference that NVCC made in his life.
Dear NVCC Friends,
Just want you to know, NVCC is a great start. A great place to begin. Whether you decide to become a teacher at Kennedy High School, a nurse at Waterbury Hospital, or a fashion designer in Paris, the lessons you're learning right now will stay with you for years to come. “Follow Your Dreams” seems like a really awful cliché, especially coming from someone who makes his living moving words and pictures around like the squares on a Rubik's Cube. But clichés are clichés because they're true. And sometimes the simplest thing is the best thing to say. So at the risk of embarrassing myself, I'll say it: Study hard. Graduate. Follow your dreams.
To get any place great, you need a great start. And I got that start with humble beginnings in the fledgling theater department back in the dark ages (1981), when NVCC was still Mattatuck Community College. I don’t know how things are now, but there was not a lot of money in that department back then. Dr. Fred Ricci, Professor of Theater, and Bill Cone—I'll call him Artistic Director because I feel like that’s what he was—taught me you can make something wonderful with few resources and a lot of creativity. We put on shows in a tiny theater built in a converted classroom. That “show-must-go-on” attitude has stayed with me all these years, and I bring it to every project I work on.
I live in Los Angeles. Tinsel Town. La La Land. Hollyweird. You might glimpse my name at the end of a reality TV show (Don’t Blink). I have a really nice house—It was a dump when I bought it, and took loads of work—on a street where tons of films and TV shows you have definitely seen are filmed. Not as fun as it might sound. I’ve walked the red carpet at the Oscars several times. Not that I belong there. I just know people, who know people, which is what LA is all about. My sister tells me people would love to have my life. And, yeah, it’s pretty great most of the time.
I’m not trying to brag. The life I have did not come easy. I’ve lived with rats and roaches crawling around my bed at night. I’ve slept on piles of mattresses with my dog to keep me warm. It’s taken thirty-plus years to get here. But I wouldn’t be sitting in my pool under palm trees with a margarita in my hand, if it hadn’t been for NVCC.
Best wishes to you,