Attendees prepared for trip throughout the semester by exploring the history of motion pictures.
Valenti School students visited Los Angeles during spring break, where they toured Warner Bros., Sony and Paramount Pictures studios, and met with creatives and professionals in all facets of the entertainment industry.
The trip was part of a class, appropriately called The Entertainment Industry, taught by Dr. Temple Northup, director and associate professor at the Valenti School. In the newly-introduced class, students learned about the history of motion picture and television productions and the many different career paths that exist within the industry. The course focused on Los Angeles as it is the “center and nexus of all things entertainment,” said Dr. Northup, who himself used to live and work in the L.A. entertainment industry.
“Students had the opportunity to meet with professionals with successful careers and learn about what they do and how they were able to get into those positions,” said Dr. Northup. “It is a very unique experience that shows them the steps to reach their goals.”
In this week-long trip, the Entertainment Industry students toured Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, two of the original and oldest film studios in Hollywood. They also visited Sony (formerly MGM), Fox and Universal Pictures lots where they were able to speak to producers and artists.
“The most memorable part of this trip was meeting an audio producer,” said Alexandria Hollowell, a corporate communications student who attended the trip. “I wasn’t aware a foley artist existed, but his work was very creative and interesting.”
Students met with professionals from Netflix, HBO and NBC, the showrunner for Dear White People and one of the writers for Empire. They also connected with University of Houston alumni who, just like many of them aspire to do one day, moved to Los Angeles and started their careers.
Throughout the visit, students were able to explore a variety of career paths and delve into the skills needed to be successful in the field as well as Los Angeles.
“We have a lot of students who are interested in the entertainment industry and interested in moving to Los Angeles, but there are many hesitations,” said Dr. Northup. “The purpose was for students to see that it is possible for them to move and to have a long career.”
The students were excited to participate and gained much knowledge through the experience.
“I would definitely recommend this class, it’s the closest you can get to the inner mechanics of the film world,” said Melissa Uriarte, a student majoring in media production who was part of the trip. “It was truly a life changing experience for me, it has inspired me to pursue storytelling by creating films.”