UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 06 Spring 17 Library
Ashley Twiggs for the Virginia Film Festival
Career Center

Students Mingle with Top Talent

This was an extraordinary opportunity for our students to come face to face with a highly accomplished group of industry professionals
Kate Melton, UVA career Center

If you were to tell an entertainment industry-focused student that he or she could find Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producers in a single room eager to share their experiences in a panel discussion and in one-on-one conversations without ever leaving the friendly confines of C-Ville, an appropriate answer might be: “Where do I sign up?” That is exactly the scenario in which more than 20 students found themselves last fall, courtesy of the UVA Career Center and the Virginia Film Festival. The two organizations teamed up for the second year in a row to present a networking breakfast event on Friday, November 6 at the Paramount Theater. This year’s panel featured Oscar and Emmy-winning producer Mark Johnson (Rain Man, Breaking Bad), who shared his own networking success story with the group about the time he was asked to judge the first Virginia Screenwriting Competition at the Festival in its early years, and ended up handing the trophy to a young Richmond-based writer named Vince Gilligan. The two would share more than a few trophies in the years to follow thanks to the smashing success of Breaking Bad, and now, Better Call Saul.

Johnson was joined by fellow alums including Glenn Williamson (Sunshine Cleaning); Lee Caplin (Ali); Scott Safon (former marketing exec with CNN and The Weather Channel) for an engaging and wide-ranging discussion about the entertainment industry, how they got their big breaks, and tips they might offer students today. “This was an extraordinary opportunity for our students to come face to face with a highly accomplished group of industry professionals, who so generously shared their time, their stories, and their advice on how to break into what is considered by many to be a highly challenging job market,” said Kate Melton, Career Counselor / Director, Career Communities (Creative Arts, Media, & Design).  “So many students walked out, not only with important information, but with contact details and permission to follow up as their job searches take shape.”

(Photo: Ashley Twiggs for the Virginia Film Festival)

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