By U Cast Studios
October 4, 2023

Grace School Alumni Spotlight Meet Brian Andrews, Class Of 2005

Brian, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your time at Grace School of Simi Valley.  Please give us a little history, what year you graduated, what activities you were involved in, and a favorite memory you have of your years at Grace.  I graduated from Grace (Grace Brethren at the time) in 2005.  I was involved in football for four years while at Grace. I also took a photography class in 10th grade that lit the spark for my future career and love of cameras and photography.  A favorite memory is collectively the people. The friends and teachers are what I always talk about. That and Aaron Matys bringing a bbq to school senior year, setting it up in the big quad, and then charging underclassmen for food until the administration shut him down.

How did Grace prepare you for life today? Grace taught me to think and reason. These more than anything else helped prepare me for my future.  being able to take something in, weigh its pros and cons, and decide for myself what I wanted to do has been pivotal in my life.  There is no area of my life that has not been improved by being able to think and reason for myself. This was mostly due to Mr. Hall, Mr. Nandor, and Mr. Long.

Where did you go to college and what is your degree?  They say the average college student changes their major four times.  Well, I went my own route and kept the same major, Film and Television, for my college career but went to four different colleges.

I started my college career in Greenville, Illinois at Greenville College. They had recruited me to play football for them. I declined their invitation to play football but the adventure of going to college 2,000 miles from home was too enticing to turn down so I went to the school anyway for my freshman year of college. I had a great time and met many great people but ultimately decided the climate/school was not my cup of tea and ventured back to the warm climate of southern California and went to Azusa Pacific University for the first semester of my sophomore year of college. Close to the end of my first semester at APU, and dissatisfied with my class selection for the next year, I was strolling home from class and passed the study abroad office. On a whim I popped inside. Forty five minutes later I exited the office signed up to go to the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

After winter break I departed for the land down under. The University of New South Wales has 60,000 undergrad students. Compared to the paltry 2,000 at Greenville and roughly

6,000 at APU, UNSW was a tidal wave of possibilities. Classes, clubs, and experiences swarmed me and I knew this adventure would become a lasting memory. From driving off-road buggies in the ozzy bush to getting scuba certified and diving on the Great Barrier Reef for my very first dive ever the adventure did not disappoint. Oh, I occasionally went to class too.

As swell as this adventure was, it couldn’t last forever. As I ruminated on where I would go to school when I returned stateside, to stay at APU or not, that was the question, California

State University Northridge floated to the top as a premium choice for my return. I applied, was accepted, and began my second sophomore year of college at CSUN in the fall of 2007 and graduated with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts in 2010 and cannot recommend this center for higher learning enough.

Brian, please share what your professional life looks like today and a little about your family life and faith.  I have now been working in the film and television industry for nearly 15 years. I startedas a 2nd Assistant Camera, worked my way to 1st Assistant Camera, and eventually Camera Operator as well as occasionally working as a Director of Photography on several series. I have worked on a number of reality, documentary, commercials, and films over those nearly 15 years for clients like Disney, HBO, Discovery, WB, Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, Endemol, Universal, and many more. I have traveled to Japan, Puerto Rico, the jungle temples of Chichen Itza deep in Mexico, the tropical jungles on uninhabited islands in Indonesia, many Caribbean islands and just about every state, including Alaska, in the United States, all for work. Very few people love their job as much as I do.

These days, with my rockstar of a wife, Laura, our two sons, Henry and Hudson, and our chocolate lab, Buffalo, the allure of working on the road in far flung corners of the world is less appetizing. I want to see my wife, my boys, and my dog as much as possible so I searched for more local work and was lucky enough to find two jobs that fit the bill.

Aviation has always been a passion of mine and I am lucky enough to be able to combine that passion and work. Two days a week I work for the largest twin engine flight based operator  on the west coast, Helinet Aviation Services, based at the Van Nuys Airport. Helinet has a contract to provide three news helicopters for local ABC affiliate ABC7 Eyewitness News. I operate the Shotover system and camera fixed to the helicopter for all sorts of breaking news events. From police pursuits to structure and wildfires, severe weather and its effects, to parades and homecomings we fly over the entire LA basin and beyond. Yes, it is probably more fun than it sounds like, at least for me. Getting paid to fly around Los Angeles, a city much prettier from the air than the ground these days, and be able to shoot beautiful motion pictures while doing so? Yes, please. The other three days each week I work for Fox News on their live, nightly one hour broadcast “Fox News at Night with Trace Gallagher”. I operate a pedestal camera in-studio. If you had told me that I would love working a studio news show, I would never have believed you.

However, the steady nature of a studio news show is a highly coveted position among operators as it allows us to be home every night and still do what we love. So, I absolutely love that I get to work a studio news show and be home with my family every single night. I still work on productions in the field when the right job comes up. I have a great working relationship with an aerial/specialty camera company, Glide Aerials. They provide all kinds of drones, cable cameras, remote controlled cars, and more to the film and TV industry. Through them I have been lucky enough to fly drones for all kinds of fun shows/events like

Monster Jam monster truck racing. I was even lucky enough to be nominated for an Emmy, although we did not win our category, and be invited to go to the Emmys for my contribution to the camera team and their work on the Late Late show with James Cordon. Easily a career highlight getting to rub elbows with the top tier industry people at the Governors Ball.

My family and I attend Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley and our youngest son attends Grace Preschool.  My faith is stronger than ever.  A great foundation of faith was laid for me at Grace starting the with Mr. Hall and his old testament survey class and finishing up with the venerable Mr. Nandor and the memorization of Romans 8.  That solid foundation has proved important in my life now as marriage and children have a way of humbling you, pointing out your weaknesses and areas you need to improve. That means that I now have a more clear view of everything I need to improve in my life, a much more clear view than I have ever had before.

Being in the TV industry has given me a fantastic opportunity to show people I care about them. My method of bringing Christ onto set is to love everyone. Allowing people to know that you care for them as a genuine friend breaks down walls and barriers. I don’t do drugs, don’t get drunk, don’t cheat on my wife, and openly talk about how much I love my wife and children.  In addition, having a cross with Hebrew writing tattooed on my arm has spurred people to ask me, “Brian, you’re different, what is different about you? Why do you have Hebrew tattooed on you and what does it say?” This is the perfect open door for me to walk through and talk to them about my relationship with Christ.

Brian, If you could pass along one piece of information to a current Grace student, what would you share with them? Have virtue. Virtue will make your life so much better, not just in the future but right now. Virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. Your life is not easier with virtue but since when is anything worth doing easy? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing”. Having virtue is work worth doing. When you have virtue, you know what to do, you know the decision to make, you know how to behave, you know who you are. Having virtue is stopping and asking not “What is the good option in this situation” but “What is the best option in this situation?” (thank you Marshall Walter for that great piece of advice). Virtue in your life cannot be valued highly enough. Virtue makes you kind, loving, obedient, humble, confident and so many other positive attributes. I cannot speak highly enough about virtue and its positive effect on your life. From the Bible (a few quick biblical references to virtue: 2 Peter 1:5-7, Phillipians 4:8, Proverbs 11:3) to the ancient Roman Stoics like Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelias, there is so much written about virtue and the benefits of it to our lives. I will leave you with a quote by the impressive human, Benjamin Franklin, on the importance of virtue, “Thus the great and hazardous enterprise we have been engaged in, is, God be praised, happily completed. A few years of peace, well improved, will restore and increase our strength; but our future safety will depend on our union and our virtue.”

Grace School of Simi Valley would like to thank Brian Andrews for taking the time to share about his experience at Grace as well as his career and life today.  For more Alumni Spotlights, check out our website at and follow us on Instagram and Facebook at grace_highschool_simi.

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