Carnegie Mellon alumnus Tom Megalis (A '81) wears his share of hats. From an illustrator whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal to a comedian who has appeared on Pittsburgh's top-rated WDVE morning show, Megalis has built a successful career in promotion and entertainment by mixing creativity with originality.
His most recent endeavor has him advertising the Chihuly glass exhibit at Phipps Conservatory located in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. An inspiring display of colorful glass sculptures among the Phipps botanical gardens, the Chihuly exhibit runs through Nov. 11. (Watch video.)
"My own art and sculptures have appeared in several Pittsburgh and Ohio gallery shows," said Megalis, whose has been busy developing TV and web content for Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, HBO, MTV, Discovery and many other national clients seeking a unique, effective way to communicate to their audience.
His interest in filmmaking began at Carnegie Mellon during his freshman year. "I took a super eight-film course with the one and only Harold Corsini," he said. "What a character and super-talented man."
After graduation, he gravitated toward the Pittsburgh Filmmakers and began spending every moment and every extra dollar making short films.
A recipient of grants from the National Endowment, Pittsburgh Foundation, Theater Association of Pennsylvania and the Heinz Endowment, Megalis' films have been shown at Sundance, Hiroshima International Film Festival, Annecy in France, The New York Expo and Chicago International Film Festival.
Thinking back on his experiences at Carnegie Mellon, he recalls learning "how to effectively solve problems, how to work diligently toward a goal—and how to survive on very little sleep."
About his first job, he says, "What got me the gig was my positive attitude, my intensity and my degree from Carnegie Mellon University. They knew I could think."
Now the owner of his own company, Megalis Studios, he advises today's students to "reach high, never take the easy solution, the expected way. Too many others will be there."
He added, "Your time at Carnegie Mellon is brief. Savor your experience; there will be nothing like it after."