Throughout the semester, all of the students in the ICLA Program are enrolled in a Media Industires, a one-credit, mini-course where we get to hear a panel of alumni talk about their success in the entertainment industry. This past Monday night, the panel consisted of David Rogers, a producer on NBC's The Office, Brian Herzlinger, writer and director of My Date With Drew, and John Gunn, producer and editor of My Date With Drew. All three alumni were enthusiastic and gave great advice.
David Rogers stressed the importance of trying different things that interest you in the entertainment industry. He spent his career as an editor on Seinfeld, then became an editor on The Office. After four years, he worked his way up to a director of The Office, and currently serves as a producer on the show.
We were all pretty excited to hear that John Gunn began his film career as a Production Assistant in the 1996 film Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan. A few years later John received a phone call from his friend Brian Herzlinger, who proposed the idea of creating a documentary on a budget of only $1,100. John thought it was a ridiculous idea, but was eventually persuaded by his persistant friend. The documentary My Date With Drew follows Brian's quest to find a date with his crush of twenty years, Drew Barrymore using the six degrees of separation theory. You can watch the full documentary on Hulu here.
All three panelists really stressed was the importance of being nice and working hard if you want to pursue a career in entertainment. They all admitted that breaking into the industry is hard and it takes a while to establish a reputation, but if you put in the work, you will find opportunities.