Eye on an Emmy: AJ’s miniseries and beyond

Jan 10, 2018

AJ Nelson. (Photo by Juwann Smith)

With his script in hand, Aaron Nelson gives directions to his cast members and production crew as he prepares to shoot another scene for his miniseries “Dying is Easy, College is Hard.”

After all the joking and laughter that takes place in between shots, Aaron gets everyone in their places. Then he quickly memorizes his lines and gets himself into position so he can act out his role of Shaun, the main protagonist of the series.

Aaron, more commonly known as AJ, is someone who has a unique vision and does whatever it takes to make that vision become a reality. If you haven’t met AJ, then you’re missing out on one of Claflin’s most unique and brightest students. 

Born on Dec. 4, 1996, AJ grew up in Kingstree as an only child with his mother. For AJ, life growing up in Kingstree was different than that of many of his peers.

He always saw himself as someone going against the norm and with unique tastes and interests. While his peers listened to the usual rap and R&B, AJ enjoyed alternative rock. While they watched football and basketball, he was an avid soccer fan.

“I grew up weird because everything around me was simple, but I wanted to live more complex,” he said.

AJ credits his creative influence to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

“I like a lot of Michael Jackson music. I used to literally watch his videos every single day because it would be so creative.” 

At Claflin, AJ’s unique personality and creative vision have gained him the support of his fellow students, professors -- and people back home in Kingstree.

“A lot of people, especially since the miniseries popped off, a lot of people back home are rooting for me. Kingstree is a small community, so everyone knows everybody, which means everybody knows what you’re going to be doing.”

AJ found a passion for video and sound production during his freshman year in college. Initially, production wasn’t in the plans for him, but after changing his major from education to mass communications, he was able to find his passion.

“I saw how the mass communications community was, so I wanted to be a part of that. I already was doing music, already been thinking about doing writings, but I wasn’t doing film yet, so I needed to learn how to do that.”

As AJ went on to pursue film and sound, he drew a lot of inspiration from just life in general. AJ’s inspiration also came from those who helped him along the way and shaped him into the student he is today.

“I’ve had people here along the way teach me how to do stuff with video editings.” He mentioned specifically Ar’Darius Stewart and Michael Fairwell.

Along with a short film under his belt, AJ has finally been able to start filming his miniseries “Dying is Easy, College is Hard,” a project he has wanted to do since his sophomore year. With the filming and production started, he hopes to take the series beyond the walls of Claflin.

“I want it to lead to more things, get more exposure. I want it to be on HBO in 10 years.”

From getting a show on HBO to many other things, AJ has a vision.

“I’ll probably get two Grammys just from production. I know I’m going to win an Emmy. An Oscar is not out of the question, but I guarantee I’ll win an Emmy.”

PANTHER 2017 fall profile Aaron Nelson
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