I was lucky; I left for California about 15 hours before last week’s East Coast winter storm began. I’m participating in “Hofstra in L.A.,” a program designed to expose students to production and promotion careers within the entertainment industry. Dr. Peter Gershon and I taught a class of 17 students this fall, culminating in this 10-day excursion where we’re meeting with content creators, agents, promoters, and producers. The program was arranged by Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Associate Dean Adria Marlowe.
So far we’ve met with some terrific people who’ve shared their time and mentorship. Among them were Hofstra alum Tara Sattler, now an attorney at entertainment law firm Weintraub/Tobin, who joined with her firm’s partner Stan Coleman to expose students to legal issues faced by industry professionals. Alumnus Bryan Diperstein, who started in the mailroom at ICM just days after graduating, later became the agency’s youngest agent ever; he reviewed the complicated process of getting a script made into a movie. Now 30, Bryan has a roster of 50 clients and represents scriptwriters and directors, and his philosophy of commitment and hard work was an inspiration to our students.
New Jersey native Zach Sang started an online, streaming talk program at age 13 and today is a 24-year-old radio entertainer whose syndicated youth-oriented interview show is heard on 75 Westwood One stations. “Ninety-one percent of us still listen to radio every day,” he said, telling students not to ignore radio as a possible career. “Content can live anywhere, and radio stations are hungry for content creators.”
Educators provide access to these programs to enhance the academic experience of our students and expand their intellectual and cultural experiences. They become exposed to professional options through the best conduits possible: alumni and other practitioners working in the field, happily providing advice and mentorship. I’ll share more of their wisdom next week.
Zach Sang offered some advice I found particularly insightful: “You need to work with and learn from older people because traditional approaches make things run. And they need us to show them what (content) young people need and want.” Exactly! Your thoughts?