[John H]Class of 2002
Script Coordinator and Writer
Last Man Standing
“You’re not going to be given every lesson in life,” says Jon Haller’02. “Sometimes you have to take your education.” Jon heard this philosophy his first year at Beloit College, and it stayed with him. It drove his undergraduate achievements and supports the work ethic required for his career path: formerly, as a writer’s assistant for 30 Rock, and currently, as script coordinator and writer for the sitcom Last Man Standing.
“I realized, ‘Wow, there are so many opportunities for support, both financial and artistic, at Beloit,’” the theatre arts and creative writing major says. He was able to use a Venture Grant to study improvisational theater, and worked with poet Bei Dao through the Mackey Creative Writing Workshop.
His storytelling skills led to opportunities in television and filmmaking. With the wildly popular 30 Rock, Jon helped proof scripts and keep track of the show’s myriad plots. “I love 30 Rock, and I know my friends love it, so I have a sense of pride,” he says, despite the long hours. He even helped create the show’s ‘webisodes,’ which won a 2011 Writer’s Guild Award, and were nominated in 2009 for an Emmy Award.
Though nine years beyond graduation (he also earned an M.F.A at Columbia University), Jon uses what he learned at Beloit daily. He credits theatre professor Rod Umlas with teaching him crucial communication skills, and he’s also grateful for Beloit’s supportive professors, one of whom he remembers seeing at every performance.
Perhaps most helpful, though, were other students. “At Beloit, you find kindred spirits who will pique your curiosity,” he says. “If you go to a bigger school, you sometimes have a smaller experience. You’re less in touch with things that are going on. At Beloit, you’re running those things. You’re at the heart of it all.”