Having just celebrated the arrival of 2010, some HWS students, faculty and alums are celebrating not only the turn of a new decade, but the fact that the New Year brings them to within less than two weeks of a trip of a lifetime. On Jan. 11, they’ll take part in the Los Angeles experience program through the Salisbury Center for Career Services. While there, they’ll meet writers, producers, directors and executives in the media and film fields and get a behind-the-scenes exclusive.
The group spent two weeks prior to winter break researching media and film organizations and their executives’ bios and reviewing and critically analyzing a television show in development. They also attended two “boot camps” in the Salisbury Center for Career Services to go over what they’d researched.
The L.A. winter break program will take place from Jan. 11 through 13 and will include 12 current students, three recent graduates and faculty Grant Holly, professor of English; Liz Lyon, associate professor of English; and Les Friedman, professor of media and society. Students who arrive in town early will have the chance to meet with an alum in the industry at a dinner on Jan. 10 at Church and State Bistro, where William Smith alum Yassmin Sarmadi ’91 is owner and general manager.
Among the alums who will host the students and discuss their roles in the industry is Brad Falchuk ’93, co-creator, executive producer and director of the series “Glee” that premiered this year on FOX and has been met with rave reviews. Falchuk, who was also one of the writers of the series “Nip Tuck,” will speak with the group and provide the opportunity for them to watch the filming of part of an episode.
The students and faculty will also visit with Producer Warren Littlefield ’74, who is working on the pilot of a one-hour series. Students have researched Littlefield and been given some information about this project as part of the boot camp prior to the trip, and Littlefield will share additional insights when he meets with them. His discussion with the students will focus on the television show development process.
Chris Adelmann ’77, the executive vice president of business development for LiveNation, the live events company and concert promoter, will also speak with students about putting together a production and they may have the opportunity to see a show.
Students interested in new media will be excited to meet with Dan Rosensweig ’83, who will share his experience with them as a former COO of Yahoo! Inc. and current CEO and president of the Guitar Hero division of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
Tackling another perspective of the television industry, H. Read Jackson ’66, senior vice president for production for Fox Sports Net, will take students on a tour of Fox Sports and talk about the intricacies of sports television production. Jackson will also host the networking reception of the trip at his home.
At the end of the trip, after the individual presentations and tours, students will hear from a panel of experts from diverse positions within the industry: Mark Neveldine ’95, writer, producer and director of films including the “Crank” series and “Pathology;” Jai Stefan ’93 of Shrink Media Entertainment, a production company specializing in feature films, commercials and television; CBS Correspondent and HWS Trustee Bill Whitaker’73, L.H.D.’97; Nick Holly, writer and creator and an executive producer of “Sons & Daughters” and son of Professor Grant Holly; Writer John (J.P.) Lavin ’95; and Ben Weiss ’07, director of development for Fortress Features.