Many students enter college not knowing what they are going to major in, let alone do for their career. Once students figure out what major appeals to them, it still feels like finding a career is an up-hill battle.
Luckily, departments on campus offer opportunities for students to talk to professionals who offer career advice for students looking to pursue internships or jobs within that department.
The “Conversations with…” series is held by the Theatre Arts Department and offers theatre students the chance to hear personal anecdotes, trials and success stories from working professionals in the entertainment industry.
Faculty member Markus Flanagan created this series as an extension of his book, titled, “One Less Bitter Actor: The Actor’s Survival Guide.”
The idea behind this series is to help the next generation avoid negative situations. Having a conversation with people who have found success in their field gives students a chance to learn from new experiences. This is a chance for students to see how acting theory and practice collide.
In previous years, this series has hosted actors Harold Perrineau, Melissa Gilbert, Jon Polito and many more seasoned actors. On Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., “Conversations with…” will feature Alan Ruck, who starred in the 1983 Sean Penn film “Bad Boys” and went on to gain notability as Cameron Frye in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and later, on TV’s “Spin City”.
Rider University and the NYU in LA Mentorship Group will live stream this event for the first time in “Conversations with…” series history.
The night starts Flanagan interviewing the guest, and moves to a Q-and-A with the audience. After, the audience is dismissed and the theatre students are called onto the stage for a private one-on-one where students can ask the actor a question. Sophomore Matthew Case said this portion is his favorite part of the night.
“I like it when they share instances when they have messed up or not known what to do. It’s a learning opportunity for us to hear stuff like that,” Case said.
“Students can learn from mistakes, and that they aren’t alone in the world,” Flanagan said.
“They’re really willing to share their story and give advice to aspiring actors and techs in the field,” junior Kevlyn Holmes said.
The Theatre Department is not the only department that gives students the chance to hear from successful professionals. For over 10 years, the Communication Department has hosted panels for students to talk with and ask questions to successful professionals in the communication industry.
“Many of my students have gotten internships that eventually turn into jobs from the panel, so that is really great,” said Sharon Docter, who has a doctorate in communication theory and research.
These panels have professionals from across the board of the communication industry, varying from the head of Disney Music to the senior director of communications for the LA Kings. Unlike the format of the “Conversations with…” series, these panels stick to a question and answer style.
On Feb. 10, the Communication panel will feature professionals in the public relations, nonprofit and entertainment fields.
Several departments on campus give students a chance to see how professionals are using their education to advance in their careers. Even though many students know that they do not want to be a fry cook on Venus, as Frye stated in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” they might need a bit of guidance on which steps to take in finding out what they want to do with their careers.
Published Feb. 6, 2014