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Jansen moves toward screenwriting career
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An award-winning professional screenwriter and Antigo native has been selected fall semester outstanding student at Metropolitan State University located in Saint Paul, Minn.

Zachary Jansen, who now lives in Saint Paul, was also selected student speaker for Metropolitan State’s 93rd commencement exercises on Dec. 17.

“I’m humbled,” Jansen, the most prolific student to emerge from the university’s screenwriting program, said.

Since entering the program in 2010, Jansen has written five feature-length and 19 short scripts. Several of his scripts won screenwriting competitions or were finalists, including “Treading Water,” which is about a married couple confronting the sudden death of their infant son; and “The Incredible Frog Boy Is On the Loose Again!” which follows a skeptical tabloid reporter who returns to his hometown to investigate the sightings of a giant frog. For three consecutive years, he won Metropolitan State’s Student Screenplay Award.

Jansen sold one screenplay, “What Happened to Christine?” a drama inspired by a true story about a small-town Wisconsin detective investigating a missing pregnant woman. He also was hired to rewrite “Dead Mountain Road,” a feature-length horror-revenge film.

“In the 14 years of the screenwriting major, there has never been another student who comes close to Zach’s professional accomplishments,” James Byrne, who chairs the university’s screenwriting program, said.

“I’ve always loved movies,” Jansen said. “You can tell a story with film that you can’t in any other medium. You’ve got the words, visual and emotions.”

Jansen has participated in Metropolitan State’s student Film Club and contributed to the university’s student literary magazine. He is a member of the Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota and the Screenwriters’ Workshop.

Jansen graduated from Antigo High School in 2000. He participated in wrestling, was involved in theater and played guitar several years for a garage-rock band.

In the next year, Jansen plans to write several feature-length screenplays. Long-term, he expects to participate in movie-making in some capacity. The married father of two also plans to pursue graduate school at some juncture.


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Antigo native Zachary Jansen accepts his outstanding student award from Metropolitan State University President Sue K. Hammersmith.
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