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Academy Award-winning screenplay writer visits, inspires students at Rufus King HS

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John Ridley visits students at Rufus King HS

MILWAUKEE -- Academy Award-winning screenplay writer John Ridley dropped in on a group of students at Rufus King International High School on Thursday, March 21. He expected to talk about the importance of writing and reading. But instead, he was met with a proposition from a student.

"The conversations today really inspired me," said Nia Mooney, a senior.

"He was really down to earth, and it was really inviting," said John Venable, a sophomore.

John Ridley visits students at Rufus King HS

Venable said listening to John Ridley talks about seizing the moment -- and it really inspired him.

John Venable

"I wanted to take this as an opportunity to see where I can go in life," Venable said.

So during a question and answer portion of the speech, Venable did just that.

"I asked if I could pitch a screenplay to him," Venable said. "That was my mission coming in -- was just to get this man's credentials."

A young writer, trying his luck with a seasoned pro. So what was Ridley's response?

John Ridley visits students at Rufus King HS

"Ha, ha. He said no," Venable said.

"Well, you know, initially I told him no," Ridley said.

But that did not mean Ridley was not willing to help. Instead, Ridley put Venable in contact with people at his art incubator in town -- No Studios.

John Ridley visits students at Rufus King HS

"If you've got the drive and you've got the desire, we'll figure out a way to try and get to that next level," Ridley said.

On Thursday, that one student got a first-hand lesson at making it in the entertainment business.

"So I'm going to be in contact with them," Venable said.

His goal -- to be humble, be persistent.

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