The entertainment industry in Los Angeles is filled with HWS alums who are leaders in the fields of film, music and television. This week, the Los Angeles experience program offered through the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development will provide students with an opportunity to hear from and network with more than a dozen of those alums. A group of 20 students will be led by Les Friedman, professor and chair of the Media and Society department; Grant Holly, professor of English; Elisabeth Lyon, associate professor of English; and Brandi Ferrarra, director of the Salisbury Center.
Ferrara notes they had a record number of applications for the program and, as interest continues to grow, so does the program. This year’s experience entails three “jam-packed” days of networking, touring and learning. Students had to attend a boot camp session in preparation, taught by all three faculty and Ferrara and they met before winter break to discuss goals and expectations.
“The entertainment business is largely about who you know. This program helps give students a leg up by connecting them with successful alums and friends of the Colleges,” says Ferrara. “We are proud of their successes and willingness to help students – whether it is by providing advice, hosting a site visit, or connecting them with actual opportunities.”
Abby Kent ’12, a history and studio arts major, applied to participate in the experience because she is interested in going into the film industry as a documentary filmmaker, primarily in scientific and nature programming.
“By going on this trip, I hope to gain insights on how the industry works, how to thrive in it, and how to make lasting connections with people in the industry,” she explains. “I expect to make networking contacts during the trip that will hopefully point me in the right direction.”
Among the alums who will participate in the first day’s conference are:
Executive Producer Warren Littlefield ’74 and Ann Johnson ’83, senior development executive with Littlefield Productions, will discuss the pilot season and development of a series. Littlefield is former senior and executive vice president of entertainment for NBC, credited with being an architect of the station’s winning Thursday lineup penned “Must See TV.” Littlefield was developer of award-winning shows, “Cheers,” “The Cosby Show,” and “The Golden Girls.” Littlefield has been a regular participant in the L.A. experience.
Students will also visit with Brad Falchuk ’92, co-creator and executive producer of FX network’s “American Horror Story.” Falchuk is the recipient of multiple Emmys as “Glee” co-creator, executive producer and director. He began his career as a screenwriter on science fiction shows such as “Mutant X,” “Earth: Final Conflict” and “Veritas: The Quest.” Falchuk went on to write for the award-winning FX series “Nip/Tuck,” where he also served as a director and executive producer. Falchuk continues to write and serve as executive producer for Fox hit series “Glee.” Students will meet Falchuk at the “Glee” Fox Studio.
Chris Adelmann ’77, executive vice president of business development for live events company and concert promoter LiveNation, and Emily Currie ’02, a talent broker with MTV/VH1/CMT Radio-NC, will discuss careers in the music industry.
Nina Colman ’04, producer with East End Pictures, Nick Holly, writer, producer, director and head of Epiphany Alliance Management, Adam Fratto, co-executive producer, “Haven,” and Ken Halsband ’88 will present “From Script to Screen: Making Movies.” Halsband was co-producer of the film, “The Fighter,” nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2011 and winner of best supporting actor and actress. He is executive vice president and head of physical and post production at Relativity Media, LLC. He joined Relativity Media in 2006. His work as a producer, executive producer, head of production and head of physical and post production includes more than 60 films, including “Dear John,” “The Spy Next Door,” “Brothers” and “Son of the Mask.”
There will also be panel discussions with young alums Luke Esselen’11 of Playtone; Taylor Coe ’04, HSG vice president of Oceanfront Entertainment and Actor Adria Baratta ’08. A writer’s panel discussion will feature J.P. Lavin ’95 and Dave Pullano ’84.
The first day will conclude with a reception hosted by Eric Lax ’66 at his home in Beverly Hills. Lax is the author of “Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking,” “On Being Funny,” “Life and Death on 10 West,” “The Mold in Dr. Florey’s Coat,” “Woody Allen: A Biography,” “Paul Newman: A Biography,” and “Bogart.” His articles have appeared in numerous magazines including The Atlantic, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and the others.
Over the course of the trip, students will also have the opportunity to meet with David Undercoffler ’03, online producer, auto critic and staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, Carolyn Lluberes ’04 with Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger of Bona Fide Productions. They will visit Warner Bros. Studios and meet with George Parker ’83, executive marketing director for Warner Bros., and will tour KCBS, Studio City, which was made possible by CBS Correspondent and HWS Trustee Bill Whitaker ’73.