The 16th Annual GEMA Alumni Career Panel took place on Wednesday, October 18 at The Robert and Bernice Wagner Alumni House. In partnership with Hoya Gateway and the Cawley Career Education Center, this yearly panel presented by the Georgetown Entertainment & Media Alliance (GEMA) brings together students and alumni representing a variety of career paths related to entertainment and media.
The panelists this year came from diverse backgrounds including entertainment law, independent film, investigative journalism, and television/film production:
Ben Crosbie | COL 2006 Eidolon Films, Co-Founder
Allison Gilbert | COL 1992
Journalist and Author of Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive; Parentless Parents, Always Too Soon; and Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11
Aaron Davis | COL 1999
The Washington Post, Investigative Reporter
Jeffrey Schneider | UCLA 1987
Georgetown University Law Center, Adjunct Professor
National Geographic Partners, EVP Business and Legal Affairs
Marci Wiseman | SFS 1985
Blumhouse Productions, Co-President, Television
Mitch Peyser | MSB 1993
Time Life, Vice President
The discussion began with each panelist retracing their path into the media industry and offering advice to students and recent graduates hoping to get their foot in the door.
For Marci Wiseman, Co-President of Television at director Jason Blum’s powerhouse production company responsible for Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Academy Award-winner Whiplash, the media industry provided a nexus tying together her three main interests: entertainment content production, politics, and journalism. For Jeffrey Schneider, entertainment law granted him access to a side of the industry where his intellectual and creative sides could coexist productively. Aaron Davis offered a word of encouragement to aspiring newspaper journalists: “There are a lot of ways to go straight from college into a paper like the Washington Post and begin building your good reputation as a journalist.”
There was an earnestness and cutting truth in the panelists’ advice on securing employment in the media industry. Jeffrey Schneider pulled from his experience as an executive who regularly hires young professionals: “When I’m hiring, I look for grittiness in the applicants…If you are passive and need to be told what to do even though you’re intelligent, I don’t think this is the industry for you.” Allison Gilbert echoed Jeffery’s sentiment: “The most important skill to me is hustle…If you don’t know the answer that’s totally acceptable, but at least come up with some examples that you can present to me.” Ben Crosbie identified ease of communication as being a central component of what he looks for when hiring freelance editors and filmographers to collaborate on Eidolon Film’s documentary production.
Topics during the Q&A section covered the unique challenges and opportunities millennials come up against when entering the media industry, the differences in culture difference between the television and film industries, and the fine line between confidence and hubris when interviewing for media positions. Marci Wiseman’s antidote for millennial overconfidence: “You don’t know what you don’t know. Own it. It’s not a failing, it’s a positive and it opens your mind to learn things.”
For undergraduate and and graduate students interested in meeting experienced professionals in the fields of entertainment and media, applications for the GEMA Externship in both Los Angeles and New York are due at 12 PM on November 3. This externship takes place during the week of spring break and provides participants with a first-hand look at day-to-day operations in the industry.
More information can be found at: https://careercenter.georgetown.edu/jobs-internships/special-internship-programs/gema.html
by Andrew O’Brien, C ’18