El Segundo High School

Relativity School, a College within a Hollywood Studio: Part II


In my previous article, I discussed Relativity School in terms of what I learned from the students, their opinions and experiences. Now, I will describe the school from the viewpoint of Glenn Kalison, the President of Relativity Education, which is a division of Relativity Media.

In my interview of Kalison I learned that he is responsible for everything related to Relativity Education and he is a Director of Relativity School.

When I asked how Relativity School came to be, Glenn told me that it all started with just a simple idea, and a “series of old relationships, and of course, a studio that was forward thinking and willing enough to take a big risk, and start a school.” They have been building the school for two and a half years, as in building the curriculum, finding teachers, etc. They wanted their teachers to be presently connected to the industry so that they can give first hand knowledge.

When asked what the mission of the school is, and Kalison replied, “To foster the next generation of story telling talent.” Kalison believes that the job of the entertainment industry is to tell a story; he said that, whether it be filmmakers, actors, dancers, and business entrepreneurs, he knows the Relativity School students will learn to create interesting ways to tell stories.

The school wants all of these students to collaborate together while in school to create projects and business plans, then to go out and deliver their stories, all while in school. He stated that they keep the curriculum project based.

Relativity School was formed with a founding team including, Kalison, V.P. Boyle, Celina Polanco, and Ryan Kavanaugh. Boyle has been a leading Broadway vocal coach for 20 years. At one moment in his career, he had a client in every single show on Broadway. Polanco was a leading recruiter of finding and getting talented students.

She has a casting and acting background. Glenn Kalison has a background of 16 years of acting in New York, and he spent three years working on Wall Street. Kavanaugh, the founder and CEO of Relativity Media, was also instrumental in launching the school.

Kalison talked about why students would come to Relativity School instead of a more traditional college when he explained that today’s world thinking has changed, and, specifically, the industry is constantly changing. Students crave the real world industry experience along with their education.

At Relativity School students get to have real world opportunities, even in their very first year of college. They get all the real world, hands on experience, without compromising or sacrificing their academics. Relativity School lets students focus on their interests.

Though the school is small, Kalison and the rest of the staff expect Relativity School to be a global melting pot. They are thinking of inviting many cultures for more students to be able to go into careers in film, producers, directors, screenwriters, camera men/women, actors, and dancers. Not only will they train them to be powerful in the entertainment aspect, but they will also help them become business people, like CEO’s and marketers.

Kalison gave an overview of a typical day for a student. First, they arrive to the Hollywood film lot, Los Angeles Center Studios. They go to classes, which are unconventional. For example, there is one class that is a collaboration lab for all of the different majors to work together to make a short video project, so that they learn how to work together.

They also have core business classes because they want the students to think like entrepreneurs. There are times when students get to actually be a part of real productions, like shooting, or table reads.

Glenn believes this hands on experience of being in such close proximity to actual productions will help the students understand more and more about the industry over time. The ideal student for Relativity School would be driven, smart, talented, and more importantly, a creative, aspiring story teller. “We feel that the school is on the cutting edge of important changes in education,” Kalison said.