Graduation at FAMU comes to life in ‘Gradzillas’

Photo courtesy: Instagram

When it comes to graduation time, many individuals celebrate by having parties, dinners or even photoshoots to capture their glorious going-away moments. Although things may look pretty on the outside, we know that everything does not work in our favor all the time.

Have you ever wondered what the behind the scenes of a graduate getting ready for graduation could be like?

Ryanne Taylor, 21, born in Peekskill, N.Y., Is the CEO and executive producer of “Gradzillas.” She is known for capturing behind the scene moments of graduates as they get ready for their graduation photoshoots.

Taylor is a recent business administration graduate from Florida A&M University.

She decided to produce the show to document what it takes for an individual to get ready for their graduation photos. The show featured recent graduates of Florida A&M University.

Taylor said she was inspired by a close friend as she assisted her during her graduation shoot, and the way she wanted everyone to do everything for her in that moment.

“Not everyone gets to see that,” Taylor said. “Just to see how everyone’s personality really comes out when it’s ‘go’ time.”

“You see everyone smiling, and happy in their photos, but you don’t know what everyone else went through that day to make sure it was perfect for them,” she added.  “It’s almost like a pre wedding in a sense.”

Maya Porter, 21, a longtime friend of Taylor and head marketing/social media manager of the show, said, “Gradzillas” is an amazing idea, and a unique look into the stress that graduates experience.

“I think it wouldn’t have felt right for it to start at any HBCU other than FAMU, because of the standards we set when it comes to photography and events,” Porter said.

As the head of marketing and social media for “Gradzillas,” she said she has a vision of how she wants viewers and potential “Gradzillas” to view the show, but as long as “Gradzillas” on the show feel well represented and the viewers feel entertained; then her job is complete.

“Ryanne is not only my best friend but she’s also one of the most creative people I know. Her brain never stops creating ideas and I know that it will lead her far with not only ‘Gradzillas,’ but any other project she pursues,” she said.

Taylor said her friends helped a lot, from the camera equipment, to the microphones that were borrowed from friends. The most it cost her to produce the show is about $150.

“I borrowed cameras from J-school and friends of mine, I purchased about 8 SD cards and an Adobe Suite account,” Taylor said. “All of that was key in producing ‘Gradzillas.’”

She took two of her close friends with her to test out the first season to see if it would be something people would gravitate toward.

While Taylor attended school, she was able to pay for her personal expenses from a previous internship and scholarship she was awarded.

Ariyon Dailey, 21, who is one of Taylor’s closest friends and a recent graduate from Florida A&M University, assisted in producing the show as well as being featured in “Gradzillas.”

“Ryanne came up with this fantastic reality show idea and I helped her with getting cameras from SJGC, how to kind of format the footage and by just listening to her ideas letting her know what works and what doesn’t,” Dailey said.

“My experience was really fun, being followed by cameras looks easy until you actually have to do it. But Ryanne is super organized and punctual,” she added.

As the executive producer, Taylor oversees and is hands on with everything that goes on with the show. She helps out with the production team, training people, as well as editing.

She said she is open to training individuals because she had no experience when starting.

“I didn’t come from a traditional background that would have expertise in this,” Taylor said. “So we are always open to teaching new people about this.”

Taylor said, “Gradzillas” is almost a year old and it is amazing to know that she only started with two of her friends. She reminds students that it is a true testimony that you really can achieve anything you want.

You can tune into the previous two seasons on the show’s YouTube channel in the link.