Sneak Peek

September 26, 2016

By Matt Hawkins

Before movie scripts light up silver screens, they must navigate a lengthy obstacle course. One of the first barriers is the initial screening process, which requires scripts interest people like Bradley music major Dave Bechdolt ’17, who vetted ideas in Hollywood this summer.

Bechdolt, a Park Ridge, Illinois, native, interned for Hunt Lowry’s Roserock Films. Lowry, whose studio is on the Warner Bros. lot, has produced films such as Airplane!, Last of the Mohicans, A Walk to Remember and Donnie Darko.

Bechdolt spent much of his internship reviewing and recommending scripts for potential pursuit of production. He also learned entertainment industry tax policy and land development procedures through other research conducted for the company.

These experiences showed him parts of the film industry he hadn’t previously recognized.

“It was an excellent learning experience because I realized I had little idea what goes into a film long before filming actually started,” he said. “It was unique being in the middle of the film production process, especially being from the Midwest — a region not well-known for film or TV production.”

Bechdolt developed a deep list of contacts through his duties and various events he attended in Los Angeles. Conversations revealed a surprise about the industry: Not everyone in Hollywood took conventional paths through film-focused education and mentorship. In fact, he discovered people with business, pharmaceutical and other backgrounds were as common as those with traditional backgrounds.

“Most of the people I worked with didn’t land in Hollywood with strong film backgrounds,” he said. “That’s when I realized the importance of networking and relationships. It’s important to be eager to meet new people because you never know when you’ll have another opportunity to work with them.”

Bradley music instructor Doug Frank inspired Bechdolt’s journey to Hollywood through a course on campus. Frank, a former president of music operations at Warner Bros., teaches several courses while he continues working in Hollywood. That experience enticed Bechdolt to try Los Angeles for a summer.

“I realized the entertainment aspect of music was really interesting as a film and music lover,” Bechdolt said. “It was gratifying to be part of a successful company in a whimsical industry. The summer made me look forward to meeting more people in my field and starting my career.”