Meet the Baylor alumnus who propelled himself into the film industry

By Kristina Valdez | A&L Editor

The journey for Jason Seagraves, vice president of production and development at Cross Creek Pictures and Baylor alumnus has been unconventional.

Moving back and forth between New York and L.A. and while working with producer Scott Rudin, who has produced movies like “No Country for Old Men” and “Captain Phillips,” Seagraves said that navigating different waters throughout his career has enriched his talent and creative problem solving.

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It was unconventional and, at times, discouraging, but what I tell kids when I speak at Baylor is that the people who keep playing the game, put their best foot forward and [are] somewhat tolerable to work with will eventually get to where they want to be,” Seagraves said.

Seagraves graduated from Baylor in 2007. When he was freshman, Seagraves was a theater major, but it didn’t take him long to make a switch.

“I transitioned into the film department, and it was great,” Seagraves said.

For Seagraves, looking back on college is a blur, but he distinctly remembers his favorite film class being the screenwriting class with senior lecturer J. Brian Elliott.

I also encourage students to not only understand the art and craft of their chosen field, but also the business side of things,” Elliott said. It’s really important to have an understanding of why something gets made, how it gets made, and who the key players are.

While at Baylor, Seagraves managed the Guerrilla Troupe, an improv-comedy group at Baylor, putting together shows and scheduling performances.

“I sat down with [Elliott] and said, I like pulling together the shows, figuring out how to pay for it and coming up with creative marketing plans around campus,’” Seagraves said. “[Elliott] said, ‘Oh, you want to be a producer.’ I started pursuing producing and learning as much as I could about it.”

Seagraves’ first impactful career moment was participating in Baylor’s satellite program in L.A. during the first semester of his senior year. He interned for Puma entertainment marketing, which, although unrelated to what he does now, helped him build connections.

For his last semester at Baylor, Seagraves went to New York as a part of the Baylor in New York program. He interned with producer Scott Rudin and was hired to work for him several months after he graduated.

“When I went to New York, I was kind of this punk kid … and I didn’t have an internship yet,” Seagraves said. “I told [the advisor] Dr. Kickasola that I am going to get an internship, I know where I want to intern, and I ended up getting two internships.”

After working for producer Scott Rudin for a second time, Seagraves was now on a job hunt.

“When I came back to LA, one of the first interviews I took while I was here being with Cross Creek,” Seagraves said. “I started off as the assistant for the president, Brian Oliver.”

Within a year, Seagraves was promoted to creative executive, and a year and a half later, he was moved up to be vice president of production and development.

“The first project I really got to sink my teeth into was “American Made,” the one that is coming out now, and, right after that, “Hacksaw Ridge”,” Seagraves said.

“American Made,” starring Tom Cruise, is about a pilot who begins to work for the CIA and becomes a drug runner in the 1980s. It will be showing in theaters Sept. 29.

Seagraves said he enjoys shepherding the creative process of filmmaking.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing a creative idea — a figment of someone’s imagination — and seeing all the pieces come together to make it a reality,” Seagraves said.

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