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Incoming First-Year Student Wins National Instagram Contest


Henry Johnston is entering the Emerson College Class of 2021 with a hefty dose of enthusiasm and an extra $5,000 toward his studies after he won a national video competition on Instagram.

The College Board #Collegiance competition asked high school seniors to announce what college or university they were choosing via video, Boomerang, or photo, and post it to Instagram.

Johnston won the grand prize in the video category with his futuristic take on selecting a school. Emerson College Today asked him about the competition and his decision to come to Emerson.


ECT: How did you come up with the concept for the video?

HJ: I saw a similar effect in a trailer for a video game, and I thought it would be really cool to learn how to do it. I researched some [Adobe] After Effects tutorials on YouTube and I figured out how to achieve the effect. [Then] I just needed to figure out where I wanted to go to college.


ECT: How long did it take to make?

HJ: It took about 30 minutes to film but then three days to edit and render.


ECT: Did you expect to win?

HJ: I absolutely did not expect to win, because the contest was through Instagram [and] you could see other students’ entries; some other people had pyrotechnics and stop motion animation, and I thought this was a longshot at best.


ECT: What are you planning to study at Emerson?

HJ: I am planning on studying Media Production with a focus on interactive media and possibly a minor in Comedy or Sports Communication.


ECT: Why did you pick Emerson, and were those other schools shown in the video actually schools you were considering?

HJ: All of the schools in my video were schools I had been accepted to, but while I was making the video I narrowed it down between Clemson and Emerson. (I actually made two rough cuts of the video, one where I picked Clemson and one where I picked Emerson.)

Before I visited Emerson, I was 80 percent sure I was going to go to Clemson. A lot of my friends were going there, my cousin goes there, and when you live in South Carolina, Clemson and USC (the real USC, University of South Carolina) are the two safest options.

But once I got off the T station and stepped outside and felt the snow on my face and felt the sounds of downtown Boston surround me, in my heart I knew I was in the right place.


ECT: Anything else you want people to know about you?

HJ: I will be playing volleyball for Emerson, which was another plus Emerson had. Clemson has the number one football team in the nation but no men’s volleyball team.

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