If your day didn’t start with getting driven in a golf cart by a VP of a company, did your day even start? Well if yours didn’t, let me fill you in: it was awesome!
The group got split up for the first half of our second day of networking here in LA, and I, along with three other students, were assigned to meet with the VP of daytime programming at CBS Television. Ray was an absolute doll, giving us a long and winding spiel about how he managed to get from Hofstra to Los Angeles and work through the ranks, what his overall job entails, what he looks for in a person just starting out in the business, and my favorite bit of insider knowledge: how to keep my generation watching television. His answer was in line with every other professional we met who was asked a similar question: know your audience and deliver.
Following the long and very open meeting between us, he wanted to give us a quick tour of the grounds, where we saw some outside sets (Fun fact: Some buildings double as manager offices on the inside, and film sets on the outside!). We passed where shows such as Man with a Plan, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Entertainment Tonight are filmed. He kindly dropped us off at the gate and hugged us goodbye, and we were on our way to our next location: lunch!
We grabbed food at a great Thai place and then walked to a brand without an official slogan, Netflix. Here, we met with its manager of indie films and product manager, who gave us insight to how they choose films and what department makes them (Netflix’s indie films have a budget below $25 million, which is small for a movie, but fairly large for an indie film). They also told us how Netflix customizes what each account sees based on its viewing history. We even got a peak at information that they will be presenting to an A-class celebrity in a few days!
I do have to mention that Netflix’s office was particularly impressive. Its lobby consists of walls of LCD screens that plays clips of its shows and movies, and around the corner is a green wall covered in plants, which surround a kitchen space full of coffee, flavored drinks and snacks free for one’s taking—how cool is that?! Some of the offices are enclosed by glass walls with images of hit shows on them, giving a kaleidoscope of their successes. Finally, the building has a beautiful rooftop patio that gives a view of Los Angeles’ sky scrapers on one side, and a sight of the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory on the other.
Unfortunately, we had to rush out of Netflix to meet our final professional of the day: the SVP of series for Warner Bros. Animation—but it was well worth it. He geeked out over all the fun projects he’s worked on, explained the process of how an animation gets from mind to screen and how the company makes shows that will attract viewers, which are not just children. We then got a tour of the offices and met some important people, such as the creator of Unikitty and the My Little Pony Series. The end of the tour, though was unexpected. He took us to his office, which was filled from top to bottom, side to side, with toys and figures of cartoons. It was a collector’s dream.
Speaking of dreams, on our way out of the building, our professors quickly took us over to the Friends fountain for a quick, poorly-lit photo, which you can see below.
Finally, to end our night, we headed over to Universal City Walk. I don’t know how to explain it besides saying this is what I picture Las Vegas to look like with the long walk of oversized signs and dazzling lights. We ate at the Hard Rock Café, which was a first for me. We had one more small surprise when some of the group decided to tell the wait staff it was our professor’s birthday, which it was not. If you’ve never been to a Hard Rock, they really make a show when it’s your birthday.
The second day of networking was full of fun surprises, but it was not surprising the day was fun. I’m sure there is more excitement in store for our first free day!