Parker Service: An Unbridled Passion for People and the Stories They Create


Mason Orr

(Design by Mason Orr | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Arlo Marler


Parker Service is the director of OurStor1es, but is speaking about personal experiences and not as a member of Student Media.


Stories have the power to change the world. It is true that there are stories that exist to pose moral lessons through darkness and moments of human desperation, but they don’t always have the same driving force that stories about hope possess. It’s a tale as old as time: the hero takes down their foes in the face of oppression and humanity’s hope is restored. Stories in this vein have existed for centuries since humans had the ability to harness their imaginations. One particular student at the University of Utah exemplifies this unabashed passion.

In their last year as a film and media arts major focusing on screenwriting, Parker Service, who is nonbinary and uses he and they pronouns, is carrying a philosophy of hopeful narratives with him into his career, the world and beyond.

A Penchant for Storytelling

In the third grade, Service did a biographical project on George Lucas and knew that they wanted to make movies. Service has always loved telling stories and recalls fond memories in elementary school of writing rough drafts, brainstorming ideas and revising those ideas to write stories. Even in the brief amount of time I spent with Service, his pure creative admiration and drive for movie-making and storytelling was undeniable.

When asked about their earliest memories of writing, Service said, “I wrote a summary in elementary school about the series Bakugan and which some might call cringey, and I also wrote a series of little picture books about a character named Blocky the Red Squirrel.”

Service’s art is primarily screenwriting, and he’s taken a screenwriting class five times.

“It’s just so enjoyable to explore these stories that are all in my head,” Service said. “They are silly and I can’t describe them without trying to defend them because they are so ridiculous.”

When asked what makes a good screenplay, Service explained, “People talk a lot about plot-driven stories versus character-driven stories, and 100 out of 100% of the time it’s the character’s stories that are more interesting.” One of their favorite movies that exemplifies this is Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” as the film’s plot is driven by the main characters who are villagers.

Service’s first hero was their English teacher in their sophomore year of high school. In a time where school is rough for everyone, it was a particularly hard time for Service after several deaths occurred, one of them being their childhood friend since preschool.

“My English teacher really helped me understand what matters and made me really passionate about stories,” Service said. “It gave me a focus and made me realize that the stories of these characters and these lands are often foreign but mirroring our own lives. That was, I don’t want to say comforting, but important as life got hard. I really needed that light. Stories matter because people matter to me.”

Service grew up as a DC Comics fan but grew out of them because “the characters are stuck as edgy teenagers and I’m not.” Service made sure to note that he still loves and enjoys those stories and the characters that make them.

As Service realized they were different from the norm, particularly growing up in the Latter-day Saint faith and realizing their queer identity, he started stepping into new labels and out of the old ones. It was comforting for Service to have the X-Men comics and characters by his side, all of which are about being different from the norm. In fact, X-Men is Service’s special interest and was how they realized they were autistic, after listening to a CEREBRO podcast episode on his favorite mutant, Cyclops. It was that episode that eventually led to his diagnosis last year.


Sparks at such a formative age still shape Service’s creative work today. In fact, Service is currently writing a personal script about Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde solving the mystery of John F. Kennedy’s death, taking the same kernels of unfettered, sometimes silly, ideas and imagination and turning them into something truly unique.

Service is currently trying to get into graduate school and hopes to become a professor after he graduates at the end of the school year. Their dream project would be writing an Animal Man movie from renowned comic writer Grant Morrison, a heady story about family and fiction. Whether it happens or not, it is certain that Service is a genuine and creative force who undoubtedly will do many great things as he graduates, taking his passion for people and creativity with him as a badge of honor.


@Arlo Marler