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Student Spotlight: Price Payne By: Mari Lacefield

Price Payne grew up in Abilene and has lived here for the past 10 years. He is a senior at Hardin-Simmons University and plans to graduate in the summer of 2023 with a BFA in Acting.

When asked about why he chose Hardin-Simmons for his acting journey, he said, “I fell in love with the program and really wanted to go to a school where I could center my faith and put that into what I want to do for a living.” Abilene had many opportunities for him to see plays and musicals, and that is where his love for theater and acting emerged. He decided to continue his education in the birthplace of his passion.

In the year 2021, Payne decided to begin writing a screenplay. He started after he had been struggling in a season of life and fell into heavy sorrow. He said he struggled with looking to the Lord and shut himself down and out from the world around him. Over Christmas break, he spoke with his family about his burdens and began to heal and pick himself back up again.

One thing that kept him inspired and helped him in his healing process was writing a screenplay. “I’ve been writing scripts and plays since my freshman year at HSU, and it’s something I very much want to pursue as I leave Hardin-Simmons,” Payne said. The comfort he found in his passion led him to self-renewal. He further described one of his friends talking down about himself, and Payne responded with kindness and encouragement, something he had not previously given himself when he was struggling. That is when he began pondering his screenplay concept.

“I wondered, if there was another version of myself, would he put me down as much as I do, or would he build me up?” Payne said. “So I concocted this screenplay wherein there are two of a person, one who is tired of himself, and one who loves himself.” The film is a depiction of this man’s self-love journey, and how to learn to give yourself the same grace that God gives us all. It helped Payne face his own emotions, and he hopes it is something that will both convince and change others too.

He has currently finished a 90-page script of his screenplay, but says he has no intention of actually bringing it to life on the screen. “It’s a first draft; it still needs some more work.” However, Payne has written another short-film version that his friend, Sammy Castillo Jr., has offered to help him film. Castillo also helped him film his first short, Purple Foxes in the Night Sky, which is available on Beyond Star Films YouTube channel.

Payne hopes his story gives people the confidence and encouragement they need to be able to stand up for their mental health. It is so important to take care of your body and mind, especially if you’re a college student. Hardin-Simmons has a counselor on staff who would be more than happy to listen and encourage those who are struggling. Reach out to loved ones when you are in need and know that the Lord will always carry you through your battles.

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