By the time he was 8 years old, Bryan Gay was an inveterate movie buff, a student of the new films and actors. He was always prepared with enthusiastic suggestions during family trips to the video store. A decade later, inspired by Wes Anderson's oeuvre, Gay came to Emerson College to pursue a cinematography major and, eventually, a career in Hollywood.
Gay, a popular sophomore who lived in the Little Building dormitory, died on Saturday, Jan. 10 when his car slid off the road into a canal in his hometown of Slidell, La. He was 19 years old.
"Bryan was close with everybody he met, even people he only met once," his older brother, Eric, 21, said.
Family members said they believe he fell asleep at the wheel as a result of drowsiness from a medication he was taking, his brother said. He declined to name the medication. He believed his younger brother was on his way home when he went off the road.
Gay graduated from Slidell High School in 2007. While in school, he made actions films with friends using his camcorder and Windows Moviemaker, said his high school and college friend, Sam Mathius, a freshman writing, literature and publishing major. In a series of movies he and his friends called iDead Reckoning/i, about two detectives solving crimes, Gay played a pimp that was eventually caught by the detectives.
"[Gay] was the kind of guy that anyone could be friends with," Mathius said. "He was really outgoing and never took anything too seriously.....He was so personable."
Gay was also a member of his school's foreign language club, where he excelled in Spanish, the National Honors Society, and his church youth group.
His father, Clayton, said he moved in a diverse group of social circles.
"The computer geeks, the jocks, the band members...Bryan had a wide range of friends," he said. "They were always coming over to the house."
Friends at Emerson said he was equally popular during college.
"He would sometimes stay at home and watch a movie instead of going out to a party," said junior Joel Buff, another friend. "But he was still the type of guy who could walk into a room and be friends with everybody."
Gay, who was a member of Emerson Independent Video and active in several student film productions around campus, was also known by friends for his love of the cinema. He planned on spending a semester at Emerson's Los Angeles program and becoming a director or producer in Hollywood.
He owned hundreds of films, from iGarden State/i to iA Clockwork Orange/i. Gay used his extensive knowledge of the film industry to make connections and friendships with others.
"He was basically a movie database," said junior Roger Tower, a friend and former neighbor of Gay's in the Little Building. "He was going to be big in the film world. It's true that only the good die young, because he was the best, most honest person ever."
iServices have been held.i