On May 9, the Creative Writing Conservatory at California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley hosted the first Film and Television Conference in which over 150 students had the chance to interact and hear stories from over a dozen entertainment industry professionals with years of experience working at Disney, Marvel, ABC, NBC, CBS and Netflix.
Some of the highlights included panels by writer Allan Heinberg (“Young Avengers,” “Wonder Woman”), producer/director Julie Anne Robinson (“The Middle,” “The Catch”) and writer/producer Mark Wilding (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”) as well as a presentation by Marvel Games Vice President & Creative Director Bill Rosemann that discussed “Secrets to Building the Marvel Universe” as well as highlighted what Marvel looks for when recruiting talent.
“This was an extremely valuable experience for our students, who at this age, are figuring out their future career paths,” said CSArts-SGV parent Eileen Greenbaum. “Ultimately, my son’s goal is to be able to bring a creative vision to life from start to finish. Hearing how Marvel develops their characters and stories from concept to screen was fascinating to him. Now, he knows what’s possible.”
The half-day conference began with a three-way discussion between writer Allan Heinberg, producer/director Julie Anne Robinson, and writer/producer Mark Wilding. During the breakout sessions that followed, students had the chance to hear first-hand how Marvel evolves and draws inspiration from the real-world to stay relevant as well as get advice and hear stories from entertainment industry professionals on their personal journeys to Hollywood.
“My favorite part was definitely the ‘The Road to Hollywood’ class at the start,” Aidan Schwartz, a student said. “I am now a lot more confident in my ability to get into the industry, and I learned how to give an elevator pitch properly, as well. Overall, I’m a lot more educated and prepared for a future in the industry, so I’m super excited.”
For some other students, the conference made their dreams feel closer to reality.
“Being a student in high school makes your dream job and the rest of your life seem so far away and almost impossible, but it was so reassuring to hear from people who are in the thick of it,” student Gillian Chamberlin said. “The entire conference got me so motivated to keep pushing on and keep writing because I realized that it could be possible to get a career in writing, which is a career I would love.”
Other presentations included “Composing for Film and TV,” “Unscripted Storytelling,” “Writing for Children,” “Casting for TV,” “Comedy Writing,” “From Page to Screen” and “Wearing Multiple Hats.” For a complete list of speakers, visit the conference website here.
“My favorite moment was between sessions, when I was able to observe students talking about what they had just heard. They were glowing with excitement,” said Creative Writing Director John Blaylock. “Our students have proven that they will take these opportunities seriously, and the guest artists and speakers did nothing but confirm this fact. Every guest I spoke to was overwhelmingly impressed with the questions that the students asked and the respect that they were given. This is the first of many conferences. These students have shown that they are ready to take on the world.”