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Tyler Richardson was standing in the middle of Times Square in New York City when I called him to ask about winning a College Television Award for best commercial with three other BYU students.

While he waited to take photos of a work project, the 2021 BYU grad told me how the award-winning commercial grew out of the love story he once heard at the family table from his father, Minnesota Minneapolis Mission President Matthew O. Richardson, who is a former counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency and a former BYU religious scholar and administrator.

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“I was sitting at Sunday dinner with my dad and he told me the story of growing up with the dream of owning a green ’67 Fastback Mustang. He saved all his money, got a good deal on one and rebuilt it by hand. His core memories growing up throughout high school and early college was with this car. Eventually at BYU he met my mom and fell in love. He didn’t have very much money at the time, so he sold his prized possession for my mom’s wedding ring.

“As I sat at the dinner table hearing this story I thought, that’s actually really intriguing that a car can get us farther than just a physical destination but to a life destination. It can propel us farther than just a place we need to go but to somewhere we want to be in life.”

The younger Richardson pitched the story to other students and they shot a two-minute Mustang commercial for their BYU advertising program portfolios — smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.

The four of them reunited two weeks ago in Richardson’s New York apartment to watch the 41st College Television Awards live online. They celebrated together when they were announced as the winners of what colloquially is known as a student Emmy.

Watch the commercial here.

Richardson’s teammates were co-director Asher Huskinson, producer Rebekah Baker and writer Campbell George.

“My dad was actually watching the award show that night,” Richardson said. “My mom secretly took a video of him watching it live and when we won, he just started to cry. Honestly, it made me realize that telling stories is what matters. That’s what we connect with as human beings.

“It’s a really tender moment. It’s one of those things that I’ll never forget and really cherish the rest of my life.”

Update on ‘Stowaway’

A few weeks ago I shared the story of “Stowaway,” the BYU student film nominated for a College Television Award in the animation category. “Stowaway” also won, marking the 19th time a BYU team has won student Emmy for an animated short film.

“Stowaway” also had a love story in the center of it. Writer and director Ethan Briscoe is married to lead lighting artist Chelsea Domino.

“It was such a joy to work together with him. Not saying we didn’t fight and it was all perfect, but it was just such a blessing to be able to work together every day with somebody I loved,” Domino said in a BYU video.

“Stowaway,” you might recall from the earlier newsletter, is the story of two pirates. One accidentally scoops a cute baby kraken out of the sea, and the pirates’ fear of the legendary sea monster spins out of control.

It’s really a fun short. Now you can watch it here.

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The church built a new Social Hall Avenue meetinghouse in a historic part of downtown Salt Lake City.

What I’m reading

The Sin City saints: The intertwining history of Latter-day Saints and Las Vegas.

I really enjoyed this story about a girl from Mali who found basketball and worked until she was drafted by a WNBA team last week.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a former refugee, promises Ukrainian refugees in Poland: “You are not alone.”

Delightful piece of history: A woman coached on the field during a Major League Baseball game for the first time.