Breaking into the Film Industry
Breaking into the Film Industry is undeniably my favorite class of this semester. It is a 2 unit class offered by the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Before flying to USC, I had decided that I would take an elective from the Cinema school as it is the best in the world, and I must say that I am glad I took this particular class. It gave me a unique opportunity to learn about Hollywood; something I am deeply passionate about.
Fox Studios – One of the largest studios in Hollywood
The class provides an overview of the entertainment industry and the tools needed to secure jobs and survive and succeed in the market. My professor, Krista Parkinson, has been in this industry for 17 years and is currently an entertainment finance executive which buys backend profit participation in TV and film. She is extremely well informed on her subject, very supportive of her students and extremely easy to approach. Additionally she is extremely fun and dispenses valuable advice in the class which will help us in our career. The twenty students who take the class with me are extremely talented and make this class an enriching experience. The career interests in the class range from producing, directing, to even writing. And of course, there are budding actors in our class too!
A class picture!
The class usually comprises of our professor explaining the various aspects of Hollywood during the first hour of class, followed by a guest speaker for the next hour. These accomplished guest speakers come from diverse fields within Hollywood – writers, talent agents, studio executives, business managers, legal advisors, actors, and a whole host of other professions. We get a chance to interact with them and learn about their career paths, as well as learn a lot from their personal experience. The assignments are extremely interesting and it’s unlike anything I have done before. For our first assignment, we had to visit 6 different studios, 5 television networks, and 7 talent agencies scattered around Los Angeles, and take selfies in front of them! That assignment was an adventure for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to explore parts of the city which I had never heard of.
Me and my classmate Andrew out on in Hollywood for the Selfie Assignment!
The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank
Our next assignment was a networking activity, where we had to collect 50 business cards and compile a personal directory, aimed at helping us in the future. The highlight of our class was a trip to Paramount Studios where we interacted with an international marketing executive. We got to know what goes behind the scenes during the distribution period for a film, as well learned about some upcoming films from Paramount!
The iconic bench from Forrest Gump in Paramount Studios
What came as a surprise to me was the exams. Our midterm was quite interesting yet unconventional, as it had questions which focused on our class mates and guest speakers, and it stressed on relationships and networking which are crucial skills one must have to excel in their professions. Our final exam is not a written paper, but a simulated job interview, where not only the interview itself will be important, but also small details such as our attire and handshake will be evaluated. This equips us with practical skills which will be beneficial in the real world.
If you are wondering what elective to take when you come here, you should seriously consider this class. It has been a memorable experience for me! Some years from now, when most of my classmates will have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for excelling in their own professions, I am sure they would thank Professor Krista!