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CSUB alum writes Netflix film, credits professor's encouragement

“I’m just very grateful. I really am."
Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 11:37:18-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "I always want to say ''The Starling' is a screenplay about,' but now I [have] the ability to say, ''The Starling' is a film about a couple who are trying to find their way to the other side of tragedy,'" said Matt Harris.

Harris wrote the screenplay for 'The Starling' in 2005. Today, you can watch the film on Netflix. It stars actors like Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd

"When you see these big name actors, you’re like, 'What, really?' In your head, you’re just like this little fantasy world, like, 'Wow, wouldn't it be great if an actual movie star did this,'" said Harris. "And then when you see an actual movie star doing it, you’re like, 'Oh my god, should I have paid more attention to what I was doing?”

Harris didn’t always know he’d be a screenwriter. He attended Cal State Bakersfield as a liberal studies major. He said he didn’t consider pursuing writing until his English professor said something.

“She just took such an interest in me. She really liked my writing and wondered why I wasn’t an English major," said Harris. "It was the first time anybody has ever taken that level of interest in me and my work. That’s what really propelled me, you know, on this journey of sort of creative writing.”

He wrote 'The Starling' after grad school but it took 15 years to see it produced.

“That process from starting as an idea in your head to the day where [you're] in the theater with popcorn, you know, watching it [is] an enormous thing," said Harris.

But the wait was worth it.

“I’m just very grateful. I really am. You know, I didn’t expect this necessarily to happen at this point," he said.

What’s next for the CSUB alum? A western movie he wrote recently finished filming.

“To think that these two screenplays that were around for quite awhile are suddenly going to see, you know, the light of day [is] pretty amazing," said Harris.

Whether you’re pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or following any longtime dream, he offers this advice.

“You have to learn. You have to keep at it and constantly be committed to it," said Harris. "You have to persevere and your biggest obstacle can be yourself.”