Moving out to Los Angeles for my final semester of my senior year at first seemed like a huge leap of faith. Questions about making friends, fitting in in California, finding an internship I wanted, etc. filled my mind when I decided to make the move. However, the program has been nothing short of amazing. With professors that are actively working in the industry (our professor did a test run on our class for her upcoming pitch at Fox Studios the other day) as well as access to great mentor program has helped my time at SULA exceed my expectations. With professors and mentors that are busy with day-to-day jobs, their reasoning for working with SULA is simple and evident through their work: they care. The mentor system is great because they know what it’s like coming from the below-zero temperatures of upstate New York and moving out to the ever-sunny California. They’re relate-able, down-to-earth, and above all just want to help the students of SULA in any way they can. This past weekend I met with two of my mentors and spent easily an hour and a half with each just talking about the industry and what I should expect when I can no long call myself a student in December. The best part is that these meetings aren’t a one-time thing; they truly are interesting in how things are going for you and really encourage keeping in touch with them.
Furthermore, the requirement of seeking an internship is great. While I’ve had a number of internships and industry-related jobs prior to the SULA semester, most of those opportunities were in New York so this really offered me the chance to break into the LA scene and start building relationships out here. I was fortunate enough to work with a company I’ve admired for years: Trailer Park. In the heart of downtown Hollywood, I have the pleasure of walking along the Walk of Fame on my way to work each morning, which, as cheesy as it may sound, really reminds me everyday why I’m in the industry (especially when I walk over the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, etc.). I work in the Menus and Content division where I mostly work on projects for DVD Special Features. I sort through movie clips, watch behind-the-scenes footage, research archival/stock footage needed for the packages, etc. It’s experiences like these that cannot be taught in a classroom and really help students see what it’s like to be working in the wonderful world of entertainment.