November 03, 2022

Champion Spotlight- Brandon Layman

At the age of 14, Brandon Layman had begun his journey toward discovering and following his passions. After discovering his passion for video editing, Brandon began taking classes at the TGR Learning Lab that included graphic design and video production. While excelling in the afterschool programs, he went on to graduate from the Orange County School of the Arts.  

Brandon has now turned his passions into a tangible career path. He works as a freelance photographer and filmmaker in Southern California. In 2018, he directed his first short film, and in 2020 shot his first music video. While thriving in his career he shared his experiences on how he got to where he is today and the role that TGR Foundation had in his career success.  

Brandon Layman revisits the TGR Learning Lab after reopening it with a new reimaged look.

How did you learn about TGR Foundation?  

Brandon Layman: My parents were the ones that found the center. They were big on me having an after-school program of some sort and not just staying home all the time. I was attending a military type of program before, but I really wanted to dive into video editing, so they found the TGR Learning Lab. So, I took graphic design. That was my first class with Mr. Luong, and he walked me through the graphic design process and then introduced me to video production.  

How and why did you become involved initially? 

BL: One cool thing was that it was low cost, and I didn’t have any money, especially because I was a kid, to put towards any schooling. Not only did It not have a huge cost, but there was also a bus system to take me straight from school all the way over here. It was something I ended up looking forward to after school just because of the environment. It didn’t feel like I was forced to learn anything here, it felt like it was an open space. 

Brandon reconnected with  TGR Learning Lab instructor, Man Luong after years.

What is your favorite memory at the TGR Learning Lab? 

BL: I loved going to the back of the golf course and sitting at the tables. Just being there I thought it was the coolest place so even when I wasn’t here learning, I love to just be there because the energy was always great.  

How are using the skills and experiences you gained through the TGR Foundation programs?  

BL: The TGR Learning Lab laid the groundwork for what I do now. Especially because not only were the teachers really open to teaching me how to edit and everything like that but also gave me the push to believe that I could do this long term. It taught me the technical work but also gave me something to hold onto over the years.  

Brandon at the TGR Learning Lab showcasing his new skills to help him thrive in his career.

What’s your passion and how are you fulfilling it? 

BL: My passion is filmmaking as a whole but screenwriting and directing specifically. So right now, I do freelance work which means music videos, commercial work and things like that.  

What advice would you give to other students looking for their passions and purpose? 

BL: Say yes to everything. I think a huge thing even if you’re unsure about something and if there’s a little bit of you that says, “that might be kind of cool”, then just do it and don’t say no to anything. 


At TGR Foundation we believe everyone can be a champion. In this series, we highlight champions in our community from educators, volunteers and corporate partners to students lifting as they climb.  

Visit to learn more about our programs’ impact and ways to get involved.