L.A. adventures (for Tausha)

So in my previous posts, I forgot to mention details about my trip to LA on the HBS Entertainment and Media Club's Hollywood Trek. I headed out there a day after I got back from Israel and was there for 3.5 days. In those three days, the Trek met with eight different entertainment companies (Paramount, Fox, Mandate Pictures, Film Department, Activision, Disney, CAA and Sony). Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen medical condition, I would up missing the activities during the day Mandate Pictures, Film Dept and Activision were visited, but wasn't too upset since they are smaller companies that don't currently pique my interest anyhow.

We stayed at the Best Western Sunset Plaza on Sunset Boulevard and I was lucky enough to get a huge, gorgeous room for a super cheap price! The beds had the softest pillows and a so-cushy-you-sink-right-in mattress. The bathroom had marble countertops and amazing amenities, our room had a separate sitting area with a couch, desk and flat screen TV, and there was a second flat screen TV in the bedroom portion. I was amazed since you don't think of the most amazing accommodations when you hear Best Western.

On the first full day of the trek we visited Paramount and Fox, had lot tours at each and met with representatives from different divisions of the company. The Paramount lot tour was really cool and our tour guide pointed out places where Spiderman 3 was filmed, and where Breakfast at Tiffany's was filmed, in addition to other memorable movies. I was also fairly impressed with the presentations as they had a marketing SVP speak to us and he mentioned how he made a career for himself combining creative and business, which is exactly my goal. Paramount also has an internship program, but it's not specific to MBAs, so I'm still unclear as to how the responsibilities (and compensation!) would differ between an undergrad and MBA intern. They do have a few marketing positions posted already though, so I definitely plan to apply. Fox I was less impressed with, although their facilities are huge and truly gorgeous. My attitude may be partially due to the fact that we had presentations from the Business Development and Digital Media groups, both of whom made it clear that creativity plays almost no part in their roles (at that I checked out, and then I checked out again when the BizDev guy started insulting my precious Disney. Personally, I think that if you have to resort to knocking down other businesses to make yourself look good, it's not the best of signs!).

At Fox

The next day was my "sick," day so I'll fast forward to that evening when we went to an HBS alumni panel with five entertainment big-wigs (two from Disney, two from Fox, one from Summit, the production company that did Twilight). It was a little boring, I have to admit, but I did get to meet one of the Disney folk that I was attempting to network with. Face to face meets are always helpful!

The following (and final) day was my favorite day. We began the morning with a visit to Disney. I swear, I felt so at home! The campus is gorgeous -- one of the main buildings has the seven dwarfs "holding up" the roof, signifying how the success of Disney's first full-length animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs held up the foundation for the company's future success. After a quick tour of the lot, we had a presentation and panel, both of which were really interesting (but again, I think I'm biased due to my true passion for the company). We had some time for networking before leaving for Sony, which also had a beautiful lot. The lobby was filled with props and costumes from many of their films -- it was cool to see the dress Natalie Portman wore in The Other Boleyn Girl and some of the props from The Producers (I'm a junkie for all of this stuff). Unfortunately, their internship program is essentially non-existent. The recruiter told me that they generally take just two interns a summer, and almost exclusively in the BizDev dept (which is highly quantitative and not my cup of tea). What was cool was the fact that they brought the company's CEO out to speak to us (he was an HBS grad, but still!).

Our final stop of the trek was to CAA, Creative Artists Agency. They represent a lot of the big-wigs in Hollywood -- Tom Cruise, Salma Hayek, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, etc. They talked to us both about opportunities to become an agent, and more business-y opportunities in their corporate marketing division and finance areas. I definitely plan to follow up on the corporate marketing opportunities, although I think this is something I'll keep more in my back pocket when it comes to full-time job searching next year.

Overall, the trek was worth the time and money, if for nothing else than to experience the gorgeous LA weather and get a sense for what companies I could see myself working at. I can't say that I made as much progress on securing an internship as I had hoped (I'm still putting all my eggs in the proverbial "Disney basket") but I do feel like I have a better idea of the LA scene and how to focus my full-time search when that time comes.

(P-S: I thought I'd mention why we didn't visit the other two big studios in LA, Warner Bros and Universal -- WB is recruiting on campus and we're visiting NBC Universal on our NYC trek next month!)


Tausha responded on January 14, 2009 at 5:23 PM #

Okay, I can stop pestering you to write about LA now :) Sounds like it was a nice trip. I'm not surprised abt Fox talking badly abt another company. That's Fox for you (yes I'm also biased)!