University of Southern California, Presidential Scholar; Class of 2009
National Merit Finalist, Merit Scholar, Callie Curnes Art Scholar
Major: Cinema Critical Studies, secondary coursework in Classical History
Alexander Winn’s fascination with storytelling began with his grandmother, who used to have him over every Friday night when he was young to eat tortellini and peas and watch an old classic Hollywood movie. He grew up with the likes of Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and Claudette Colbert, and learned the differing styles of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Ernst Lubitsch and Cecil B. DeMille. Comparing them to the movies and TV shows of his own time, the differences were obvious, but in time the similarities and commonalities also became apparent, and he grew to appreciate those elements of storytelling that are truly universal.
As he grew up, he developed a taste for writing, and he quickly became respected by his teachers and peers for his short stories and essays. He also began to experiment with rudimentary programming, most notably in a series of custom scenario battles for Civilization II and Rise of Nations, several of which spread widely through the fledgeling online gaming communities of the mid-to-late 1990’s. In high school he produced several short films which won numerous awards and film festivals, and before embarking for college as a Presidential Scholar at the USC School of Cinematic Arts he wrote and directed a phenomenally successful Halo 2 machinima webseries called The Codex, which would go on to garner international acclaim; total over 90 million hits; be featured on MTV, NPR, the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press, XBOXWorld360 Magazine in Britain, and the non-fiction book Halo Effect; and be compared favorably to many modern Disney movies by Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of WIRED Magazine.
During college he focused on his studies, but this didn’t stop him from creating a successful prequel series to The Codex entitled The Heretic, and gaining the option rights to his favorite novel before adapting it as a feature-length screenplay. He also spent time teaching himself web design, beginning with a community-based review website called Vox Populi. After graduating he developed and coded a number of websites, both personal projects and professional accounts, and began learning the process of video game design, focusing on browser-based strategy games before moving onto Objective-C programming for Mac OS X and iOS. He also produced and directed the popular live-action webseries The League of Ordinary Gamers, and wrote a number of feature-length screenplays and television pilot scripts.
Today, Alexander continues to push his creativity and ambition to their outer limit, advancing on multiple fronts with a series of short films in active development, his first full-length novel nearing completion, and numerous apps being developed for Mac OS X and iOS platforms.