by Hannah Langley ’21
Lights, camera, action! For four days towards the end of winter break, several students visited Hollywood, California to explore the ins and outs of the entertainment industry, exposing them to potential internship opportunities and future careers.
The trip began seven years ago as a group effort between the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Center for Career Education and Professional Development, the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film, and Todd Slater ’97. This year, 10 Providence College students, consisting of both juniors and seniors with an interest in the film and entertainment industry, attended the trip along with Fr. Kenneth Gumbert, O.P., Ms. Patti Goff, and Mr. Paul Calle. The idea of this trip is to help PC students interested in working in Los Angeles in the future understand what opportunities are available and the realities of working in Hollywood.
The group flew out to California on Sunday, January 7 and spent the next three days visiting several sites, including Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, the set of Criminal Minds, Sunset Gower Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). The PC students got to see the inner workings of these studios, including sets, famous actors, writing and filming sessions, pitches for new ideas, and the creation of advertisements. By watching and interacting, the students got a better understanding about how different parts of the entertainment industry work. Many also made connections while on the trip, including William Oser ’19.
He noted his enthusiasm saying, “I got to network with people at various studios such as Sunset Gower Studios and Sony, which allowed me to set up relationships and hopefully an internship […] this summer!”
These eye-opening and connection building experiences are exactly why Slater reached out to the school to start this program, as the trip “open[s] doors and help[s] students pursue their dreams,” according to Patti Goff, Assistant Vice President of Integrated Learning and Administration in Student Affairs.
Throughout the trip, the students and staff also got to connect with PC alumni who too had gone on this trip several years back. These alumni are now successfully working in different fields in the entertainment industry and living in Hollywood. Meeting with these recent alumni, including Tara McLaughlin ’13, now the Manager of Creative Advertising at Focus Features, a branch of Universal Studios, was a particular highlight for Goff.
She noted, “Seeing alumni of the program, taking the risk of moving to Hollywood and working in entertainment, and knowing the PC in Hollywood program helped them to do that, is extremely rewarding.”
Jamie Fugere ’18 talked about how they met John Bowab, a 1950s PC graduate and director of television series such as Full House and The Cosby Show. She noted how “this trip made [her] realize how willing Providence College graduates are to helping out recent grads who are looking to start a career in the industry in L.A.”
The trip began in 2012 and plans to be continued for years to come. Goff considers the trip to be a “valuable program” for those students looking for a future career in the film or entertainment industry.
Fugere said, “It was one of the best experiences of my life, and knowing that I have made these connections has made me extremely confident in pursuing my dreams.”
Oser commented on why he loved the trip, saying, “[it] gave me the confidence that our school is looking out for the little guy or the underdog, I definitely felt support for my career on this trip.” Hopefully, one day, all of these prospective Hollywood industry workers will see their dreams fulfilled and maybe even their names in lights.