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UPDATE - September, 2004

This year’s MBNA Career Center Entertainment and Media Career Spotlight event took place on campus on September 29th and was a big hit for both the students and alumni who attended. Check out the photos!

 
(left to right): panelist Alison Becker (C '99), actress; panelist Rich Battista (B '86), GEMA Chairman and of the Fox Entertaiment Group; and Bill Reynolds (C '79), Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations and Annual Fund   Panelist Kathy Retamozo (F '99) of People Magazine (pictured right) with a Georgetown student.
 
Panelist Michele Zieger (C '87, L '90) of Maverick Entertainment (third from left) and panelist Regina Stewart
(C '84), Co-Executive Producer of the TV series "Still Standing" (fourth from left), with Georgetown students.
  Panelist Rich Battista (B '86), GEMA Chairman and of the Fox Entertaiment Group (third from left) and panelist Michael Erlinger (C '91) of the ABC Network (fifth from left), with Georgetown students.

October, 2003

By Diego Mendez (L’03)


On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, a panel of Georgetown’s Hollywood alumni ascended the hilltop to impart some wisdom on breaking into the entertainment business to a room of Georgetown students and alumni. More than 120 aspiring directors, actors, agents, managers, executives, and entertainment lawyers attended the event in the new Southwest Quad, hoping to hear how they too can follow their Hollywood dreams. The Career Spotlight on Entertainment was sponsored by GEMA and the MBNA Career Center and marks the second annual event geared to informing the Georgetown community on opportunities in Tinseltown.

Panel

Members of the panel, chaired by Rich Battista (B’86), executive vice president of Business Affairs for Fox Networks Group and GEMA Board Chairman, spoke at some length about their current careers and early days in the entertainment business. Panelists included Gordon M. Bobb, Esq. (C’93), associate in the Entertainment Department of the law firm of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka & Finkelstein; Jeff Bronikowski (B’92), vice president of Business Development of eLabs, a division of Universal Music Group; Gerry Katzman (F’95), actor who has appeared on A.U.S.A, FX's Lucky, the WB’s Angel and The Rerun Show; Malcolm Lee (C’92), screenwriter/director who wrote and directed The Best Man and wrote Feast and Famine and Undercover Brother; Yvette Urbina (C’96), manager of Current Programming at Fox Broadcasting Company; and Ami Vitori (B’95), vice president of Development and Production at Josephson Entertainment.

In general, the panelists agreed that there is a high barrier to entry for those who want a career in the entertainment business, but it is not insurmountable. The panelists also agreed the key to success is the job seeker’s creativity and foresight in taking jobs that can lead to better things in the future, even if the job is simply to “get your foot in the door.”

Some of the panelists started their careers in an assistant position and worked their way up the ranks. Amy Vitori, for example, gave up a high-paying job as an investment banker in New York for an assistant position at a talent agency, taking the opportunity to learn the business and make valuable contacts for future jobs. On the other hand, others started in higher positions outside the entertainment business and transferred the skills they developed into their new roles. For example, Gordon Bobb started as an associate in a law firm in New York doing legal work outside the entertainment business but learning skills that he could transfer to an entertainment law practice.

In sum, the panel encouraged members of the audience to pursue their dreams because there are many roads to Rome and the trick is finding the one that best suits the individual.

Reception

After the ninety-minute presentation, the panel and many members of the audience congregated at the Georgetown University Alumni House for a catered reception. During the hour-long reception, students had an opportunity to network and chat with the panelists and each other about their career objectives. The crowd seemed generally pleased with the panelists and enthused about making the leap to the West Coast for a career in Hollywood.

After Party

After the reception, the panelists, GEMA representatives, and members of the Georgetown administration met at Clyde’s Restaurant on M Street for a fabulous dinner and conversation. The most adventurous members of the group convened in the back bar after dinner, staying late into the night, drinks in hand, to finish Game 6 of the World Series.

Diego G. Mendez is a recent graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (L'03). During his second year in law school, Diego interned at Dateline NBC, where he helped cover the DC sniper story, and at NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, where he worked in the White House Unit and assisted in covering the recent war in Iraq. This past summer, Diego worked at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills, CA and in the development department of MTV Networks in Santa Monica, CA. Prior to law school, Diego was the Programming Manager for MTV Latin America and the Disney Channel Latin America, both in Miami, FL. Diego's first job out of college was with the Discovery Channel in Bethesda, MD where he was a publicist in their international division. Currently, Diego lives in Los Angeles where he is pursuing a career in television.



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