AWOL Artist Productions
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It all started with..."rejection." 

Hearing the word "no"  always leaves you with an unnerving feeling. The dissatisfying sentiment of being denied your wish never gets easier, but for the both of us hearing the word "no" happened to be our greatest gift. 

It was the spring of 2017, both Sarah and I were waiting for our dream college acceptance letters from the same exact institutions. We met through the anticipation and anxieties of other students on a popular collegiate online forum.  

When admissions letters were sent out, and our names weren't on the envelopes our excitement had metamorphosized into disappointment. But neither of us knew that these "no's" would be our most rewarding "yes's." Through the course of this tumultuous journey, we became enveloped in new plans for our future. 

Sarah decided to attend college in New York, and I chose to stay right at home in the Big Apple, Both of us now attending the same school. There the two of us finally met in person and became the best of friends. Our consistent, determined work ethic mingled with motivation and a passion for filmmaking of course turned into the most excellent partnership neither of us could have ever imagined. 

If being in one of the greatest cities in the world and doing what you love isn't enough, try doing it with a best friend. which for both of us made the hard-work, self-sacrifice, and lack of sleep even more worthwhile because we were both doing it together. 

We launched AWOL Artist Productions in January 2018 and have so far relished in every moment of it, and we cannot wait to be producing more content, developing our skills, and inspiring others to live out their dreams. 

We always remember in an industry where hearing no is ordinary that sometimes that no is more impactful than any yes you could have received.


Sarah McKinnon:

I have this compelling ability (which is slightly inconvenient) to have epiphanies in the most absurd circumstances. But they're not just realizations from my youth and growth; they're visions. These whatever-you-call-thems happen when I'm burning waffles in European rubber molds, running down the sidewalk in a storm with a paper bag full of free sandwiches, or accidentally crashing into a guy on a skateboard because I was jamming to a cinematic track.

Yes, this happens, usually every day. I used to find myself aggravated by these things. They cause me to zone out, forget what's happening for a moment or go on this 'artist meltdown' where I have to have a pen and paper to write down my idea, or the world ends. I would quickly analyze a situation, say a classroom, and immediately start fast processing what I could be doing outside of that doorway. I would explain and express this to a variety of friends, even some adults, and they would look at me as if I broke out of a mental ward.

Then someone explained it to me perfectly, "Sarah, you're just an old soul." I would muck around (still do) in most social groups, non-coherent to the "teen" conversations or activities such as drugs or alcohol. Sometimes a robust and challenging past will uproot what I believe a buried amount of intelligence, perseverance, and passion.

I was born three months early, causing me to battle a long list of medical problems; which fell into social issues and mental struggles from anxiety and many learning hurdles. But I stayed up late and worked after school every day. Eventually, it led me to graduate a year early from high school, travel abroad, and gain life-changing internships just as I turned eighteen. I self-taught myself almost everything I know about film and screenwriting, even after being rejected from nearly all my colleges and film schools. That day was heartbreaking. Apparently, my statistics that I had combated my entire life were still less than acceptable for these more extensive and populous institutions. But these turning-points can lead to beautiful, unusual and explorative paths. But now I am here, in New York City, with a drive strong and mind open - ready to be heard. You just have to be audacious enough to do it.


Rianne Pyle:

Dedication -  Passion -  Hardwork
These three words are mottos that I live by daily ingrained in me since the ripe young age of four where school and my artistic passions dominated my life. 

From an early age, I was well adjusted to school life with an inherent ambition from my mother to succeed and an organic interest and talent in the art world, but my social stratosphere was limited. Friends were hard to attain and even harder to maintain. When childhood teasing turns into even more hurtful words by middle school, it was hard to find enjoyment in anything, but for me thanks to my mother I learned to ignore those hurtful words and use them as motivation to further my success in school and in my art craft. 

By my high school years, I was not only able to continue to succeed academically but developed an interest in writing poetry. The art of utilizing words to translate an idea and ultimately tell a story were appealing factors for me and I continued writing throughout my high school years. My end goal throughout all of high school was becoming a doctor while my inner passion for telling stories was only yearning to be expressed. When the daunting task of having to apply to colleges came up the spring of my Junior Year, my mother as the inspirational force she has always been in my life prompted me to attend a summer pre-college in order to explore my passion for storytelling through a visual medium. I knew after the first day of attendance that filmmaking is what I wanted to do for my entire life. 

I have never looked back since. Every day attending film school serves as an opportunity to learn, gain inspiration and be creative.   Here and now I look at my personal growth, not only as an individual but as an artist. I am truly blessed and grateful for the opportunity to develop and refine my skills and talents through the creation of our platform AWOL Artist Productions. I know the both of us hope to be able to impact others and inspire others to do what they always love just like us!