Meet Marc Louria ‘76 (CCS Literature)

March 22, 2024

Louria shares memories of CCS and evolution as a writer

Marc Louria ‘76 (CCS Literature) recently made a visit to the College of Creative Studies (CCS) in his pursuit to reconnect with the College. In his story, Marc reflects on his time at CCS and his evolution as a writer.

Marc Louria ‘76 (CCS Literature)
Marc Louria ‘76 (CCS Literature)

"My evolution as a writer began with a bracing realization the first time I stepped into Marvin Mudrick’s fiction writing class."

His brilliant, quick-witted, and highly engaging take on writing and literature made it clear there was a vast canon of masterful storytellers out there—none of whom I’d read. Yet after hearing fiction read aloud in his class, where receiving the world of a story became an immersive, moment-by-moment sensory event, I discovered through the talented prose of my classmates the field could be leveled. Amateurs like us could compete with giants! When I later became editor of long-standing Spectrum Literary Magazine I had another profound CCS moment: I was able to publish many of the indelible stories I’d heard. As a writer it struck me how beautiful those stories and poems looked on the page, how they seemed to exist on yet another level: a physical artifact born from an ethereal process.

The stories I eventually wrote in Mudrick’s class led to my acceptance at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t go. Call it my gap writing year(s). But though I’d lost the art of writing fiction I followed its larger thread: I became fascinated by the power of story itself. I saw its multi-variegated components, from spoken folktales to novels, as the secular scripture of the human journey. I unraveled the thread to a place of glitter and shadows where story was king: Hollywood. I sold my first screenplay. Other scripts were optioned. I became a Sundance Screenplay finalist. It was exhilarating to walk onto the bungalow-filled studio lots, but I was a day laborer witnessing a Benjamin Button truth: everyone was getting younger around me. 

After being told to follow the Fred Astaire walkway to my meeting one day, I just kept going and found myself at the gates of Pixar Animation Studios. I had the good fortune of becoming part of a small, terrific writing team led by Will Csaklos that helped develop the Oscar winning Ratatouille. The wonderful thing about Pixar was its complete lack of fear when following the trail of a promising story. They knew you were going to wander in the desert, or get lost in the forest for a while, but still return with the story elixir.

This ethos stayed with me when, in 2011, I became a member of the writing faculty in the School of Motion Pictures & Television at the Academy of Art University. Teaching brought me back full circle to Mudrick’s classroom and my first experience with the sensory power of fiction. The suite of tools I was imparting to screenwriters to craft stories might be a little different, but the effect of having good scenes read aloud was the same: a hushed silence in the air, and baited anticipation for what happens next.

 “...I wanted my students to know what I had so often observed in lifethat there was something greater in them artistically than they ever thought possible.”

Just as important as craft was imbuing writers with the belief in the absolute value of their own creative capital. As Emerson wrote, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts.” But I wanted my students to know what I’d so often observed in life—that there was something greater in them artistically than they ever thought possible. For those student writers at CCS contemplating their future, I would also trust in the above. It’s a North Star."

—Marc Louria ‘76 (CCS Literature)


Building community and belonging remains a priority at the College. Marc’s initiative to visit the College to reconnect and walk through the buildingevoking memories and momentswas most welcome! The front door at 494 is always open for our alumni and members of the CCS community.