While many dramatic arts graduates choose careers on stage and
screen, their technical training is also great preparation for a
variety of careers beyond acting. Stephen D. Wilson MFA ’89 uses
his acting education every day… just not in front of a camera.
Two decades ago, he earned an MFA in acting at USC, learning
from such professors as Charles Macaulay and Sharon Carnicke.
In L.A. he also studied with legendary teachers Stella Adler and
Joanne Linville, acting alongside then-unknown actors like
Mark Ruffalo.STORY TELLING
Five years later he reconsidered his career path. Inspired
by his grandfather’s experiences as a trial lawyer and judge
in West Virginia, Wilson went to law school. Today he’s a trial
lawyer in Dallas and east Texas, handling civil litigation cases
for businesses.STORY TELLING
The most obvious application of his acting degree is in the
courtroom, where he narrates stories for judge and jury. His
storytelling chops come in handy there—projecting, timing,
emoting—but so does his study of scripts.
“In screenwriting, you don’t want to preach the movie’s message
into people, you just want to tell a story and tell it so well that
they take that message out of it,” he says. “When you’re putting
your points across at trial, a lot of times you don’t state the conclusion. You just leave it, and the jury comes to that conclusion
on their own. It’s more believable to them if they discover it
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