California Dreaming

California Dreaming

By Emily Pietrocarlo

Class of Dec. 2013
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
Television, Radio, Film

The scariest thing about moving to LA, for me, was that I had no idea what to expect. From growing up in Rochester, NY to attending college at Syracuse University, I have spent my entire life on the east coast. So I had no clue how’d I’d feel about California: if I’d fit in; if I’d be able to adjust; if I’d even like it. But I knew going to LA was something I had to do. It is, after all, the Mecca of the entertainment industry; if you want to make films or TV shows, you should probably make your way to LA at some point.

I really had to push myself to make the decision to participate in the SULA program. It obviously excited me; I would get to explore a new place, meet new people, and get valuable experience at a quality internship. But it also terrified me. Yeah, it was the farthest from home I’d been, but I think I really just doubted myself. I’m currently a senior, but I’m graduating early in December, so the real world is fast approaching – which is terrifying. The reality and pressure of finding a job is really starting to hit me, and it’s scary to think I could fail. But the fear of failure is a constant; it’s always been there, and it’ll continue to be there. It was just one of those “suck it up and deal with it” moments, so that’s what I did. At the end up the day, the SULA program was just too great an opportunity to pass up. It serves as a great test-run for adulthood – I get to scope out whether I actually like LA and could see myself living here (which I do), I can make valuable connections in the industry, which just increases my chances of finding a job after graduation, and I get to truly live on my own (even if it’s temporary).

When I finally arrived in LA (after a 6-day cross-country trip from New York to California…which was amazing, by the way), I was immediately won over. All the apprehension and all the doubt just disappeared. I guess it’s just too hard not to be happy somewhere with such consistently gorgeous weather. I mean, it’s no secret California is beautiful, but man is it beautiful.

I ended up getting an internship at a production company called Liquid Theory. I was pretty nervous going in, but it wasn’t long before I completely fell in love with it. Yeah, I’ve had to do some menial tasks like getting coffee, ordering lunch, dropping packages off at FedEx – the usual intern tasks. But I’ve also been given some cool projects to do, ones that gave me good opportunities to show my skills. I had to create a background for a presentation my boss was giving to SyFy as well as a fake Wikipedia page for a character in a film they’re developing. I worked hard and ended up really impressing my boss. It’s such a great feeling to be recognized for the work you do. And more importantly, it made my boss more inclined to trust me with projects in the future. As an intern, you sort of expect to do these mindless tasks like getting coffee and doing errands – and even though those tasks are probably the majority of what you do, it’s these moments like getting praise from your boss – who is genuinely excited about what you did – that makes internships truly worthwhile and memorable.

Having the opportunity to move out to LA for a semester is truly invaluable. Not only do you get a great opportunity to participate in the entertainment industry and make important connections, but you also get to live in California. This state has a lot to offer and I’ve had a really great time exploring it. There are gorgeous mountains, beautiful beaches and obviously the ocean. SULA has also scheduled some great events for us to partake in. One of the most memorable thus far has been the Creative Arts Emmys. We had the privilege of walking the red carpet and enjoying the show as audience members. Seeing each industry professional have his/ her dreams realized and work recognized only inspired me more to work hard so I can, one day, win an award of my own.

The SULA program is truly incredible. I’ve had an amazing time so far, and I look forward to what the rest of the semester has in store for me.