Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Business of Entertainment: Want to have a clue what you're doing when you get there?

A year ago, a group of students came to see me to talk about a suggestion they had for the Park School.

I love it when that happens.

This particular group of students expressed concern that we were not preparing them well for the *business* of entertainment --- you know: things like knowing what a contract looks like (or should look like), creating a budget to support an independent film, pitching a project. They wanted an introduction to 'how things work' when you're starting out in the entertainment industry.

I invited them to present to the school's Administrative Council, my management team of department chairs. The group listened, and eventually, the Television-Radio Department decided to offer a course this fall: The Business of Entertainment.

Here's the really cool thing about this course: It's being offered in LA and Ithaca AT THE SAME TIME (isn't technology amazing?).

In order to offer the course here in Ithaca in a way that would truly reflect current practice in Hollywood, we decided to purchase two videoconferencing systems -- one for installation in Park, one for installation in LA. The course will have an instructor in both programs -- Kim Gregson in Ithaca and film producer Mitchell Block (Alone Across Australia, Big Mama) in LA -- and it will bring in experts -- lawyers, agents, marketers -- to talk about what they do, what you should look for, what you need to know. We're bringing the insight and professional experience of Hollywood home to Ithaca....without even leaving the building.

Here's the other unique thing about the course: it's being taught in modules. Three of them. Students in LA can choose to take one, two or three of the modules, for one credit each. Students in Ithaca MUST take all three of the modules, so it is basically just a very clearly structured three-credit course.

It's open to ALL juniors and seniors in the Park School. And to be honest, I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't find it helpful.

And finally, the course will be taught from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday nights; we had to schedule it like that in order to accommodate the students in LA (that time change thing).

Here's the schedule:

Module 1: Topic: Follow the Money: Accounting Basics for Media Professionals. Meeting dates: August 30, Sept. 6, Sept. 13, Sept. 20 and Sept. 27.

Module 2: Topic: Get Out of Jail Free: Contracts, Copyrights, Legalities for Media Professionals. Meeting Dates: Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 1.

Module 3: Topic: Sell Yourself, Sell your Project: Entrepreneurial and Marketing Basics for Media Professionals. Meeting dates: Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13.

Interested? Email Virginia Mansfield-Richardson ( and she'll register you (it's a little tricky because of the modules; it'd be better to let her do it for you....)

And next time you see Kim Gregson in the hallway, please take a minute to thank her for being willing to take on yet another "new idea" in the Park School. It's a huge amount of work, energy and effort to organize and present a course as unique and multi-faceted as this one is going to be....and Kim's response? "Yeah, but it's going to be so cool...."

Don'tcha just love it?


Anonymous Raphael Golberstein said...

Sounds like a great opportunity!

Hopefully students will realize how important these issues are and will take full advantage of the course.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Peter Srinivasan said...

I can't wait to be a junior. I'm a freshman, aspiring producer, and this class is EXACTLY what I wanted to find here. Thanks to all who made it possible.

10:49 AM  

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