An intense action sequence is playing out on the screen, and just when you think that there is no hope and the hero has seen the end, he comes through and saves the day in an epic display of knowledge and knife technique.  The mind blowing graphics and beautifully demonstrated use of characters is just too much, and a single tear of awe and appreciation rolls down the viewer’s cheek.  According to Kevin McCarthy, Mason Alumni and CBS movie critic, this phenomenon is known as nerd tears.

Kevin McCarthy

Nerd tears, those moments of insane giddiness, are the namesake of McCarthy’s website where he posts movie reviews and celebrity interviews.  Since he graduated in 2006, McCarthy has built a career in film critique and radio.

It all started the first time he saw The Terminator 2, the second film in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular science fiction action franchise.  McCarthy, a young boy at the time, fell in love with film.  He was fascinated by the technical aspects that went into making the movie and its main actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would become his childhood hero.  He never could have known that this cinematic experience would be the beginning of a bright career in film.

McCarthy graduated from Mason with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Media Production and Criticism.  He also completed several of the credits necessary for a minor in Film and Media studies.  During his time at Mason, McCarthy built a unique skillset through his courses that continue to prove invaluable as he takes his place among prominent professionals of the film industry. The internship that he secured with a local radio station combined with a long held love for movies served as the driving forces behind his future career.

His internship with 106.7 FM “The Fan” gave McCarthy the opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of how a radio station works.  It was not long before he was lending his talents to the station’s movie reviews on “The Junkies”, a daily radio program.  After graduation, he was offered a job at the station which he gladly took so that he could continue to work on the program’s movie reviews.  McCarthy was also often asked to assist with news stories which would lead him to an interesting opportunity with Fox 5 News.

In August of 2007, McCarthy was dressed as a Wizard’s cheerleader when he first met his future bosses from the Fox 5 station.  He was helping the radio station with a story on the basketball team, and sportingly decided to dress as one of the team’s unmistakable cheerleaders.  He clearly made an impression; the stunt earned him an audition for the prominent news station which was looking for a new movie critic at the time.  Needless to say he got the job, and has been reviewing movies and interviewing stars ever since.  McCarthy continues to appear on both “The Junkies” and Fox 5 News.

In the six years since McCarthy graduated from Mason he has made countless connections and taken some amazing opportunities in the world of film and film critique.  He has interviewed an impressive collection of celebrities including, Angelina Jolie, Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper just to name a few.  Of the many interesting people that McCarthy has had the opportunity to interview  are two of his personal heroes, Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger was McCarthy’s childhood hero, someone he had always dreamt about meeting.  And as long as it had been since he first fell in love with The Terminator 2, he was still star struck at meeting the man behind the movie.  McCarthy had the chance to meet Spielberg not once but twice in two weeks.  Although their meetings were short he clearly made an impression on the legendary director who told him that he has “got the stuff” to make it as a film maker.

McCarthy’s career has taken off since he left Mason, and this is only the beginning.  He encourages students to find opportunities the same way that he did.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the question even if you are afraid the answer will be no.”

McCarthy believes that if he had never taken the chance and asked the questions that most people are afraid to ask he never would have taken off in the direction that he did.  The same take-a-chance mentality that gave him the chance to review movies for the radio station while he was still at Mason, is what allowed him to interview his childhood hero.

Even McCarthy, who has been incredibly successful since he graduated, claims to be still figuring out where he really wants his career to take him.

“Intern every semester, it will give you the opportunity to try different things and find what you love,” McCarthy said.

This advice stems from advice that a communications professor named Rodger Smith gave to him that he lives his life by, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”  McCarthy has remained involved with Mason as an alumnus.  He often returns to speak to communications lectures and has helped secure internships for several Mason students.

One such student, Joshua Hylton took on the same internship that helped launch McCarthy’s career and has since built his own successful career as a film critic.

To this day McCarthy prides himself on being a fan above a journalist.

“I’m still just a geek and a nerd,” he said.  “A lot of people don’t understand what truly goes into a movie.”