Published Jun 29, 2022
Faculty Profile: Ryan Phillips (Project and Portfolio II, Creative Writing bachelor's)
Instructor Ryan Phillips brings insights in novel-writing, publishing, and web design to students in Full Sail’s Creative Writing bachelor's.
In Project and Portfolio II: Creative Writing, students begin to build their professional presence online by building and populating a portfolio site where they can share their work with potential employers. With a successful career in novel writing, publishing, and freelance design, course director Ryan Phillips has been able to bring her experience in the creative writing field to her students as they develop and refine their portfolios throughout the month.
Starting her career as a novelist, Ryan has published five novels within the faith-based contemporary fiction genre, and in 2013, she was contracted to novelize the adaptation of the major motion picture I'm in Love with a Church Girl. Though Ryan's novel-writing has taken a backseat while she completes her Ph.D., the instructor remains heavily involved in the publishing world and is often contracted by literary agencies and publishing houses to complete book proposals for up-and-coming authors and writers. This experience lends itself well to her students as they begin to develop their portfolios.
Through her own work experience, students can see the variety of work that exists in the creative writing field.
"I think it's really important that students understand that there are the sexy writing jobs that we all aspire to; the novel, the big screen movie adaptation. Then there's also the bread-and-butter jobs that we all do while we're on the path to the sexy jobs that we are chasing after," says Ryan. "Just making sure that they have that realistic understanding of what the world is going to give them, but also never wanting to pour cold water or dampen their dreams. Because that sense of wonder and the feeling that anything is possible, you really need that."
Beyond her experience in publishing, Ryan also brings a unique perspective in design to her students as they build their online portfolio sites. In her freelance company, Freedom Line Creative Services, Ryan has been able to expand beyond writing, designing and developing websites, pamphlets, direct mailers, book covers, and more. Self-taught and now proficient in Adobe design programs, Ryan works primarily with non-profit organizations that support the homeless population of Central Florida including the Orlando Union Rescue Mission and The Ephraim Project.
"You've got to be improving the world in some way, not just in the classroom with your nose in a book, which is my happy place, don't get me wrong," she laughs. "But getting out there and really contributing in some way to making life better for someone else…I definitely think that's a big part of where I'm at."
Through Ryan's multi-disciplinary work experience, she is able to provide insightful and relevant feedback for students learning how to present their work in a way that is not only compelling but also visually appealing.
"I would say 80% of the students who come through my classroom have either self-published or have taken the initiative to get a short story published and that sort of thing. I just explain to them that it's hard work. It's disciplined. If you don't want to do the nine-to-five thing and you want to go out there and really end up in someone's writing room, or you want to write the next Great American Novel, it takes work and it takes self-discipline, but it's definitely doable."