by Nicole Silverio ’22
Over winter break, future Hollywood stars and directors from our very own campus traveled to Los Angeles to tour several Hollywood studios. Being Providence College’s ninth year providing this opportunity, students got to spend five days in Hollywood meeting alumni that had achieved a career in the entertainment industry, hoping to inform current students about what it is like working behind the scenes in Hollywood studios.
The PC in Hollywood trip was founded in 2012 by Todd Slater ‘97, the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Center for Career Education and Professional Development, and the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film. Today, Slater is an independent film producer and partner at Slater Brothers Entertainment. His goal is to lead students down the right path to attain the same successes he has had in the entertainment industries.
Twelve students traveled alongside Father Kenneth Gumbert, O.P.; Patti Goff, assistant vice president of Integrated Learning and Administration; and Paul Calle, the senior major gifts officer in the Office of Institutional Advancement. The group visited several alumni including: John Bowab ’55, Charlie Jennings ’04 of Creative Artists Agency, Bill Humphrey ’77 from Sunset Studios, Tara McLaughlin ’13 from Focus Features, and Peter Farrelly ’79, an Academy award-winning director and screenwriter of the 2018 film Green Book. “They were all so nice and willing to tell their stories. I had great conversations with them,” said Griff Massey ’20.
On the first day of the trip, the group visited Sony Pictures Studios. There, they saw the set and props from the hit ’90’s sitcom Seinfeld and the game show Wheel of Fortune. “I’m a big Spiderman and Ghostbusters fan. I got to see the car they used in the 2016 movie,” said Massey. “We went into a mini museum where we saw props from Spiderman, Men in Black and a recreation of the Seinfeld set and after that tour we went to a room where we were given a presentation on what a producer does. They’re very hands on with every aspect of the movie.”
Massey said, “It was a nice mix of studio tours and sit down conversations with executives or anyone in the industry and learning how to get your foot in the door.” Massey shared his dream for after he graduates from PC this spring stating, “My main purpose is to write stories for anything entertainment wise that needs writing.”
When meeting John Bowab ‘55 & ’80 Hon., who directed episodes of Family Matters and Full House, Massey said, “It was really cool to visit him because he is so kind to us and gave us great advice. It’s cool to see someone who had graduated PC who is content with his life, successful, and takes time out of his day to talk about his experience in the industry. I am so thankful for that. He had a framed picture of last year’s group in the front hall of his home.”
Massey described their trip to Warner Brothers Studios, saying “It was a dream of mine to go to Warner Bros. ever since I was five. There were storyboards from The Matrix, original character models for Scooby Doo, original superman cape from 1978, and crucifix from The Exorcist which was framed in a gothic frame.”
Massey also described meeting Peter Farrelly, saying, “We were all super nervous to meet him. When he showed up he was dressed casually and was super chill and humble. It was reassuring that the fame did not go to his head. He had great advice and talked about his writing process. He likes writing collaboratively the best which is typically what he does. He does not care about genres which I resonated with since I do not want to be labeled as someone who likes to write horror or superhero stuff since that is very restrictive.”
While at the Creative Arts Agency (CAA), Massey wanted to gain information about the relationships between agents and writers from Charlie Jennings ‘04 who works with Chris Evans and many other big name Hollywood actors. Tara McLaughlin ‘13 from Focus Features told the students that she herself went on the trip when she was a student, and helped with editing trailers and movie posters.
Sunset Gower, an independent studio that leases out stages and rooms for other production companies, showed the PC students sets for The David Spade Show and Raven’s Home, the sequel to the Disney Channel original show That’s So Raven. “I never knew independent studios existed but I found it to be interesting,” said Massey.
Massey concluded by saying, “There was never a dull moment on this trip. I would definitely recommend this trip if you are serious about entering the film industry of any form. I know a lot of people who went to the event and wanted to work in the industry but didn’t know what aspect of it, but left that trip with a passion and have a moment of hope that they can make it into this industry.”
After nine years, this trip helps open the gate for many students to follow their dreams to become the future PC alumni that have created films in the movie industry.