The opportunity to network and learn directly from the experiences of alumni and industry professionals is one of the key advantages of study away programs. Entertainment & Media Studies students have spent nearly two months in Los Angeles as part of the Grady LA Field Study program, and the following recap follows along one week of the program. It was written by Laurena Bernabo, assistant professor and lead instructor for the LA program which included 24 students this year.
The week started with guests in Tuesday’s class including Grady alumna Kathryn Kostovetsky (AB ’18), associate producer at 51 Minds Entertainment, and Lisa Steele, a three-time Emmy award winning producer for “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” who earned her fourth nomination just that morning. Students were excited to learn more about the career opportunities that exist in the world of unscripted television production.
On Wednesday night, Emmy award-winning television writer Ellen Plummer sat down with a small group of students who specifically want to write for film and television. Plummer shared wisdom from her years writing on “Friends,” as well as general advice for succeeding as a writer in Hollywood. After her talk, she gave feedback as the students practiced pitching scripts they are currently writing.
The next evening, the class guests were Matt Solik, a “baby writer” for “9-1-1: Lonestar,” and UGA alumnus Brent Fletcher (ABJ ’98), established television writer and current showrunner for “Superman & Lois” on the CW. Though Solik and Fletcher met only minutes before class started, it seemed the two had been best friends for years; their chemistry was amazing, and the students learned a lot while sharing many laughs.
The week concluded with two exciting excursions. On Friday morning the group traveled to the Disney Studios lot to meet with UGA alum Mitch Powers (ABJ ’96), vice president and general manager for D23, the Walt Disney fan club. After an exclusive tour of the lot, Powers and his colleague, Patty Miranda (ABJ ’13), shared their exciting work with D23 and answered student questions. Later that evening, the group was hosted by UGA alum Jace Cook (ABJ ’90) and his wife Rachel O’Connor, an executive producer at Pascal Pictures. While students chowed down on pizza and cupcakes, Cook and O’Connor shared their career trajectories including Cook’s many years at CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and O’Connor’s success with the recent Spiderman films and “Little Women.”