South central Pennsylvania is a long way from the hub of the entertainment industry, but a recent trip organized by Gettysburg College's Center for Career Development (CCD) allowed students to explore careers in film and television first-hand.
"Students learn so much from alumni and parents who are working in their career field of choice," said Kathy Williams, director of the CCD. "It makes a huge difference when students are considering careers to be able to talk to someone who is doing what they want to do. They can get the real story about what they should and shouldn't be doing to break into the field and be successful."
The three-day CCD trip kicked off with students meeting a group of alumni who work as everything from advertising professionals to a writer and comedian. The alumni offered their unique points-of-view on the inner workings of the entertainment industry and networking tips and advice.
Also on tap was lunch with alumni, ranging from recent grads to established professionals, who provided practical information on relocating to Los Angeles and shared the stories of their own journeys from college to California. Among the useful pieces of information the alumni shared: how much it costs to relocate, what the social scene is like, and how to find temp work right away.
"Meeting with a variety of different individuals was great," said senior English major Patricia Veasey (pictured, center, with Anskar Fosse and Deb Quinn, with Los Angeles in the background). "We heard from people who have successfully made it, as well as recent graduates who are trying to make it in the industry. They gave us some useful tips on moving out and how to be successful."
The three days in Los Angeles were packed, including a presentation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and meetings with alumni and parents with connections to the entertainment industry.
"Part of the reason we plan these trips is to help students to establish their professional network," added Williams. "It's an ideal opportunity for students to meet alumni and parents who work in their career field of interest, so that when they graduate, they already have people to contact and can get a leg up on the competition."
Of course the trip wasn't simply a spectator sport for the students. They broke into presentation groups to develop an idea for a television show. The mock-pitches gave the students an opportunity to think creatively and receive feedback from entertainment marketing industry expert Cynthia Hill '90 and film studies professor Jim Udden (pictured below in the Disney Archives).
Also on the agenda was a visit to the Disney production lot and studio and the Disney archives. The students were also able to witness the recording of a television show, some even receiving high-fives from Jay Leno when they attended a taping of "The Tonight Show."
"Going to Los Angeles was a great experience for the students. They got to immerse themselves in the entertainment industry and experience the California lifestyle for a few days," noted Williams. "The trip made it possible for them to try out a career to see if it's the right fit for them. Being in the city is also a great way to help them determine if that is the place they might like to live and work."
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Nikki Rhoads, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803
The Gettysburg group at Walt Disney Studios BurbankPosted: Tue, 25 Jan 2011
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