Corey Emanuel Chapman ’05 and Drew Carlisle ’07 were not classmates at Erskine, but their college years overlapped. They met as members of the Choraleers and blended their voices with those of other young men in the Fleetones, Erskine’s all-male a cappella ensemble. Now they are blending their talents and skills to produce the Erskine Experience video series, which launched earlier this fall.
When Corey, a business major at Erskine and founder of Corey Emanuel Omnimedia, spoke at Erskine’s MLK Day celebration in January 2013, it was his first return to his alma mater since graduation. He had earned a master’s degree in communication at Columbia University in New York, worked as an editorial trainee for CNN’s “In America” documentary unit, and published a children’s book, Can I Be President, Too?
Drew was a history major at Erskine and went on to earn a master’s degree in graphic design from Bob Jones University in Greenville. He teaches at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., and serves as cinematographer and primary film editor for his Charlotte-based production company. His company’s clients have included Food Lion, Coca Cola Bottling Company, Belk, and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
These two high-achieving alumni bring their own gifts and perspectives to the joint task of producing Erskine Experience.
Corey had lived far from Due West for a number of years, and when he returned to the Southeast, Vice President for Advancement David Earle talked with him about becoming an active alumnus. One thing led to another.
“Having interned at FOX News and CNN and worked on an online news pilot, I knew I was ready to put my writing and on-camera experience to good use,” Corey said. “I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to act as a storyteller—to share the Erskine experience in the format of an online web series.”
Drew, who met his wife Ashley Neely at Erskine and has family connections to Erskine and the town of Due West, spent some time teaching English in China after graduation, but returned to the Upstate area.
“As a sixth-generation Erskine alumnus, my connection to Due West runs deep,” he said. His grandfather, Dr. Charles H. Carlisle, who lives in Due West with his wife Jean, a 1945 graduate, was vice president of finance for Erskine for 35 years, and various aunts, uncles, and cousins attended the college or seminary.
“For me, filming the Erskine Experience web series is a privilege and a great joy,” he said. “I think of the show as a boots-on-the-ground view of what it is like to attend and flourish in a small, private Christian liberal arts college in rural South Carolina.”
Their project has taken Corey and Drew from the excitement of the pilot episode—in which incoming Erskine freshmen were filmed during a white-water rafting trip—to the bird’s-eye view of a recent series entry, in which film was shot from the Erskine Observatory.
“Producing a series of this nature is not easy but it certainly is a lot of fun!” Corey said. “I don’t think either of us knows where we’ll go from here, but viewers can be assured that they will always see a side of Erskine that just makes you feel good.”
Drew also looks forward to the rest of the project. “These videos should help identify the unique continuity of quality over the years, while differentiating the college from neighboring institutions of higher learning,” he said.
Noting that Erskine is preparing to celebrate its 175th anniversary in the fall of 2014, Drew added, “I love the community of Due West and trust that the Lord has great things in store for Erskine’s next 175 years.”