Relationship Builder

School of Drama alumna crafted her own pathway to Hollywood

As a teenager, Mary-Margaret Kunze (A 2012) was reading a book detailing the production of the movie series “The Lord of the Rings” when she stumbled upon a photo that set her course for the future.

“I remember very vividly seeing a picture of a female producer standing in front of a big group of orc warriors and instructing them on what to do before a battle scene,” said Mary-Margaret, now a television and film producer in Los Angeles. “She was confident and smiling in front of all these actors in makeup, wigs, armor … and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do. How do I get that job?’”

Growing up in Chicago, Mary-Margaret developed a love of theater that inspired her to pursue a career in theater, TV and film. Her father worked in the finance industry and her mother in the arts; Mary-Margaret said she was conditioned to do something that blended the business and creative sides of entertainment.

When her family moved to Dublin, Ireland, during her teen years, she developed a sense of reverence for storytelling. In Mary-Margaret’s final year of high school, seeing a powerful production at the Gate Theatre helped her determine that her heart was in the entertainment industry, but she realized that she wasn’t ready to go to college just yet.

“I took a growth year,” she said, “and I investigated undergraduate programs that would suit me best, that could set me up to do the real work of producing important content, which I had determined had to start with a really good script. That’s when I discovered Carnegie Mellon.”

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