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Los Angeles


From Queens to Los Angeles

September 2013 | By John Peter Amato

I never saw myself in the entertainment industry until the HBO series “Entourage” captivated my imagination and made the dream seem more tangible in reality. Coming from Queens, NY, the boys in the show connected with me on many levels. I saw myself one day following in similar footsteps as either Ari Gold or E-superstar Vince’s agent and manager, respectively. Still, I had no idea how to get myself in the situation where that dream would translate into reality. Because of the SULA program, this vision has already started to come into fruition.

Communication, specifically writing, has always been my strong suit. Math and science just didn’t bode well with the creative aspect of who I am. Translating my communication skills into a lucrative, entertaining job was the goal when I met with Andrea Asimow, SULA’s former director and internship coordinator. I told her I wanted to be a writer one day, but expressed my deep interest in talent representation. When I told Professor Asimow this, I saw her eyes light up- She had the perfect internship in mind for me.

Of course I was interested in the large agencies like CAA and William Morris Endeavor, but Professor Asimow advised me that with seemingly no experience in the industry, I would not have quite the hands-on experience at those agencies as I would at Stein Entertainment Group- a smaller sized talent management firm located on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Skeptical at first, I thought about what I really wanted out of my internship. Being a junior without any internship experience, I decided I wanted the most experience I could possibly gain in my condensed semester in LA. I wanted to learn the industry, and I wanted a mentor to teach me the ropes. TJ Stein, head of Stein Entertainment, has been that mentor for me.

At Stein Entertainment, I have been able to read and write coverage on exclusive scripts, answer phone calls, coordinate meetings, sit-in on client meetings, and give my input on the abilities of potential clients. He has given me responsibilities I would not have been given at a large agency or management firm. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far, and continue learning more everyday. In only a few short weeks in LA, I went from knowing absolutely nothing to being on a path to my dream of talent representation.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the LA semester if you are seriously considering a job in the industry. Although New York does have many options for internships, LA is the hub of everything in entertainment. The connections made here are invaluable.

Not only has the LA program provided me with the connection to land such a great internship, the other opportunities here are endless. Recently, a group of us in the program were able to work a red carpet event at the Hyatt Hotel with top public relations firm Edelman. Each student was assigned a celebrity. As “Edelman Ambassadors,” we helped the celebrities in any capacity we could. I spent the night with Judith Light. This was all possible because of Syracuse’s connections in LA and Edelman’s trust in SU students. I look forward to working with Edelman again in the future. It was one of the most amazing experiences, and I’m sure there will be many more to come because of that connection.

Looking forward only a couple of days, SU even hooked us up with tickets to the 65th Annual Creative Arts Emmys. The students who were diligent enough to RSVP and collect our tickets will enjoy a night at a black tie event. This exclusive opportunity is only possible with the connections SULA has to offer.

Things can only become tangible in reality when they are first created as a dream. The dream drove me to pursue the LA semester, and as my future has begun to unfold before me, I can see how hard work, a goal, and developing connections can make anything possible.