Alum Combines Creative Writing with Video Production for Hollywood Success

COLUMBUS, Ga. --- Columbus State University alumnus and creative writing major Jonathan Vogler (B.A. ‘14) has produced and directed his first published short film from the heart of the movie industry - Hollywood.

“Jonathan knew he wanted to work in Hollywood when he arrived at Columbus State,” said Aaron Sanders, associate professor of creative writing at CSU. “He worked very hard, he took advantage of our creative writing courses, and he lifted up the other students around him.”

VICE Media, a youth and young-adult-focused digital media company, purchased Vogler’s video and aired “YouTube Star Sponsors The Fastest Rising Football Club in England,” last month.

Vogler’s mini documentary is the story of how YouTuber and author of the best-selling novel “The Fault in Our Stars” John Green saved AFC Wimbledon, an English football club, by playing the video game FIFA.

Green and his brother Hank are the creators of “HankGames,” a YouTube channel populated with recordings of Green playing the beloved soccer game. Thousands of users tune in daily to listen to Green’s unique and often eccentric commentary.

The advertising revenue Green’s videos earn are donated directly to the club, which is 75 percent fan-owed and lacking a “sugar daddy” to pay the players’ salaries and other team expenses. By exploring YouTube sponsorships and their stars, Vogler’s documentary uncovers the oddities - and the power - of the Internet.

Vogler, a producer for Mandalay Sports Entertainment in Los Angeles, attributes at least some of his success to his studies at CSU under experts in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

“The classes offered in the English department were so exciting,” Vogler said. “I remember always looking through the English course catalogue and wanting to enroll in everything.”

At CSU, Vogler learned a variety of critical industry skills, including how to work in a team environment.

“The most important thing I learned at CSU was how to collaborate with others creatively,” Vogler said. “In production, when we go on a shoot or work in an edit room, it's always a collaborative process, and it's unlikely that everyone will have the same vision. People need to communicate what they want to do, while also listening to what others want to do.”

“Jonathan, like many of our creative writing students, is smart and motivated,” Sanders said. “He is proof that you can follow your passion and be successful."

For more about CSU’s creative writing program and other Department of English degrees, visit