March 13, 2007

Career Czars

Student-Industry Relations Puts Jobs In Focus

By James Tella

If you’re wondering what life will be like after graduation, then in the corner of the courtyard at the School of Cinematic Arts is an office under the auspices of Associate Dean Larry Auerbach that, although small in size, will make a huge impact on your career in the industry. Got questions? They have the answers. Got Career? They’ll show you the path to follow.

 “Whether they’re still in school, recent grads or seasoned vets, we want everyone to feel comfortable coming to us with anything that pertains to a career in the industry,” said Associate Director Torrie Rosenzweig, who joined the office this fall and is heavily involved in finding the best professional opportunities for cinematic arts alumni. “Career counseling doesn’t stop with graduation. No matter how long they’ve been away from campus, all our graduates can feel free to touch base with us at any time.” 

Before searching and applying for industry positions, all students are encouraged to attend one of the office’s bi-monthly career meetings held throughout the semester. In addition, cinematic arts students can request individual meetings with Director Bonnie Chi via the SCA Community Website. Since demand is high, it’s important for students to logon and request a time as early as possible. 

With the help of the Alumni Development Council, the office now has a new interactive job board, which in addition to listing industry-wide positions, will also offer exclusive notices by those specifically looking for USC trained individuals. It’s not, as Chi passionately points out, “your average employment site,” adding that all students and alumni are welcome to visit the new job board, which will launch this summer.

“We have openings for everything from internships to crew listings,” added Chi, who also mentioned her office will be expanding its list of services to include mentorships that will encompass everything from hosting a lunch for current students, to organized studio visits, to personal one-on-one meetings with a student. “We’re growing every day and adding mentors, so no matter how an alumnus wants to participate, he or she can contact our office and together, we can work out what’s best for them and the students.”

Both Chi and Rosenzweig are proud of the office’s joint effort with the council to produce the “Got Career?” seminar series, which brings hundreds of soon-to-graduate students and recent alumni face-to-face with leading professionals who share their experience and insight on entering the entertainment job market. Begun in 2006, the popular weekend seminar takes place every October, with plans in the works to offer smaller versions throughout the school year. 

“Got Career? was just great,” said Gabe Sachs ’84. “I only wish they had something like that when I was graduating.”

In addition to uniquely helping all students assess their career goals, the office also coordinates First Look, organizes student entries into festivals and competitions, and supervises programs with a graduate entertainment concentration and an undergraduate joint degree.

“‘Got Career?’ has definitely generated more activity in our office,” said Rosenzweig. “It’s shown alumni that there is a place to come to give back something tangible by way of advice or mentorships, as well as a way for students to feel comfortable before transitioning from school to their careers.”

 “Our goal is to have Student-Industry Relations become a part of everyone’s vocabulary,” added Chi. “It’s a casual way for everyone in the Trojan family to interact and hopefully learn something new. Both Torrie and I want to instill in everyone that if you have a career need, this is the place to start.”