John Houston

Making the Puzzle Pieces Fit in Entertainment Law

John Houston headshot
John Houston '21

Though John Houston '21 is still in his 20s, he’s got a lot going on – so much that it can be hard for him to figure out how to make it all work. Loyola Law School is helping him make the pieces fit.

Five years ago, Houston moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. A little later, he started a film production company. But he’d grown up in a political family, on the edge of Washington, D.C., so there was always a side of him that wasn’t entirely fulfilled working in the entertainment industry.

And while Houston had some success with his film company, he found himself stalled. “I realized there were parts of the filmmaking process I knew nothing about, like contracts and the business side – things that had nothing to do with camera angles or lenses.”

As he saw the importance of the industry’s non-aesthetic side, he realized he was also interested in social justice and the fate of the nation. He engaged with this in part by joining the Navy Reserves. But there was still something missing. He had, he says, numerous pieces of the puzzle, but little sense of what the completed shape would look like.

“Almost a year into my Navy service, and after running a production company for four and a half years, the picture’s getting less obscure,” Houston says. “What’s tying it all together is a law degree.”

Rather than overwhelming him, beginning his term at Loyola law this fall has helped connect disparate strands and give him a solid sense of direction. He concedes that it’s a lot of work and a ton of reading. But he’s also found the faculty accommodates his needs as a military reservist, and he enjoys the style of instruction. “I find that the more the teacher uses Socratic method, the easier it is for me to learn.”

Two other things about the school stand out. Excitingly, he is in the first year of a new program, the Loyola Entertainment Fellows, which pairs law students with established industry figures for mentorship and networking. It allows him to work in depth in the industry on issues that are relevant and timely.  “It’s a program that really provides incredible access, and that’s something I couldn’t find anywhere else but Loyola.”

Second, Loyola’s emphasis on social justice speaks to him. “Martin Luther King said the words written on the page were outstanding, but we had not lived up to their promise. I joined the Navy because I believed in the words on the page.” And his law degree, he hopes, will help him realize “the high-minded ideals we’ve set down on paper.”

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