Media Studies Heads West
Last January, a group of 18 Media Studies students made an inaugural trip to Los Angeles with a J-term class that included exclusive meetings and experiences facilitated and delivered by friends of UVA and alumni from throughout the entertainment industry. The course, Media Industries in Los Angeles was led by Media Studies professors Andrea Press and Shilpa Davé (also an Association Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences) and they were accompanied by Kate Melton from Career Services. It included an online week that introduced students to aspects of the entertainment industry. Once on the ground in L.A., the group’s itinerary included a panel discussion overseen by Justin Pax of the LA UVA Alumnae Association. They visited fellow alum and news producer Katie Wall at NBC Universal as well as filmmaker Han West, fresh from his Virginia Film Festival debut of his film Oh, Lucy!; director and writer Steven Kung; writer and producer Jacquie Walters; Caroline Pugliese of AWESOMENESSTV and Talent Partnerships; and editor Myron Santos. Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board member Janet Graham Borba and Educational director Nancy Robinson met the group at the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ms. Borba discussed her executive role on HBO’s Game of Thrones and Ms. Robinson introduced the group to different internship opportunities through the Academy. The group also toured the Warner Brothers studio, met with Walter Moseley, the brother of UVA alumnus Deborah Moseley and a noted entertainment industry lawyer and producer. Veteran television producer and UCLA scriptwriting instructor Fred Rubin presented a lecture on How to Make it in Los Angeles before the group took a tour across sites in Los Angeles and Hollywood. A trip to Bridge Studio, the site of recordings for the Star Wars franchise, among other films, connected the students with studio cellist Timothy Loo, who has shared the stage with a slew of superstars including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Paul McCartney, in addition to contributing his talents to many film scores and included a visit with Loo’s sister Laura Sumser, an art director at Christie’s who talked about curating and selling art in the celebrity culture of Los Angeles. The extraordinarily full week culminated with a visit to the advertising agency, IW Group, that included presentations by CEO Bill Imada and President Nita Song. Plans are already afoot for a reprise of the trip for next year, organizers said, while many students are busy planning their own post-graduation move to a city where they now have plenty of Hoo connections!