Networking with the stars

Communication students chat with Jay Leno behind the scenes of The Tonight Show. (L-R) Slavitca Sokolov, Melissa McGuire, Lauryn Landacre and Jay Leno.

January 18, 2011

Editor’s note: Communication student Melissa McGuire submitted this report following a January Interim expedition course in Los Angeles.

Lauryn Landacre, a junior studying advertising, left for Los Angeles knowing exactly what career path lay ahead of her. After visiting the entertainment capital, she’s now pondering the endless options along that path.

“I am more open minded about what I can do with my advertising degree after graduation,” Landacre said. “This class gave me a head start into an industry that I now know I’d like to be part of.”

Landacre, along with junior Melissa McGuire and seniors Jamie Herring, Ashley Daily, Slavitca Sokolov, Dylan Williamson, Jennifer White and Sylvia Swischuk spent two weeks in L.A. this month, learning more about the film, television, music, and public relations businesses as part of Dr. Ron Koperski’s entertainment industry seminar.

The communication students interacted with industry executives and personalities, including Jay Thomas, general manager of the Kodak Theatre; LeeAnne Stables, vice president of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships at Paramount Motion Pictures; Marty Sklar, Disney Imagineer; Drew Carey, host of “The Price is Right”; Jed Schlanger ’96, production manager at DreamWorks; Heidi Rotbart ’79, Heidi Rotbart Management; Laura Herlovich ’79, president of PR Plus; and comedian Jay Leno.

The students also attended The Hollywood Gala Reception, where they met and networked with successful alumni working in a variety of communications and entertainment industries.

Such unique exposure to professionals behind the scenes helped the students recognize the kind of work they’re interested in pursuing. It also revealed which paths might not be a good fit.

“My takeaway from this trip is that it is never impossible to make it big in whatever I would like to achieve,” Landacre said. “I now realize that the industry is a small world, and I must always give 110 percent in order to make something of myself.”

Los Angeles is a place where people get big breaks, where magic is constantly being made, and where dreams become reality.