A Long Weekend in Hollywood

LFHS New Media on their 2017 trip to California.

LFHS New Media on their 2017 trip to California.

Caroline Zeeman, Staff Writer

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This time last year, a group of New Media students were roaming the bustling streets of New York City, visiting NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, talking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and creating a five minute short film in just three days. 

A year before that, a small group of seniors looking to pursue media after high school were exploring Southern California universities, hoping to find a school that might be a good fit for them. 

New Media students with Anderson Cooper at CNN studios in New York City on the day of Brett Kavanaugh’s Op-Ed release.

This Friday, the New Media program will be returning to Los Angeles, California on another college search filled with fun cultural experiences. 

New Media sponsor Steve Douglass, EdTech Laura Grigg, and eight New Media juniors and seniors will be leaving this Friday for a long weekend in Los Angeles once again, setting out to find a good fit for the next chapter of their life and hopefully leaving a memory that will last a lifetime.

Finding the right place to call home for the next four years can be stressful; many students find themselves having introspective conversations around what they want out of the college chapter of their life with those they care about and trust—whether that be a parent, sibling, coach, or other trusted adult. As a coach and teacher himself, Douglass encourages his students to look further into the future when having those conversations. 

Behind the scenes of “The Art of Strawberry Ice Cream” being filmed in Central Park.

Douglass believes that with entering an industry like film, thinking about college means not only finding the right fit for an undergraduate degree, but somewhere you fit for the next 10 years. “With prices of college and the tight knit industry of film, we are thinking long term values and cultural fit for where [each student] would thrive best,” Douglass said.

This mindset is what originally brought about the LA immersion experience two years ago — a trip to California over Columbus Day weekend, with a small group of passionate New Media students, to visit the top schools and build connections in the industry they hope to enter.

 “It is purposely giving students the chance to feel what it would be like to live, go to school, and work in a specific culture outside of Chicago,” Douglass said.

This year’s trip will be taking five seniors and three juniors to explore the film hub on the west coast. Along with two others attending the LA trip, senior Natalie Snodgrass was a part of last year’s New York experience. Applying to many film schools, she is excited to see what film schools on the other side of the country are like, and what sets them apart. 

Students soaking up the Venice Beach sunshine — from left to right: art teacher Carolyn Bielski, Jackson Thomas, Whitney Perschke, Annalise Craig, Quinn Dailey, Renee Ye, Masha Zhuravleva, Jack Bailey, Cameron Redding, Steve Douglass.

“I am looking forward to hearing what past New Media students at these schools have experienced, and hope to be very inspired by the creativity and energy on the campuses of film schools on the west coast,” she said.

The group plans to embark on tours of the top film and media schools with different environments, cultures, and feels, from USC to smaller schools like Chapman University and Loyola Marymount University. 

What follows those visits, however, is what makes the LA Immersion Experience more than an average college visit. The trip will provide students with connections to alumni and non-traditional tours from people who are working professionally in media, allowing them to see things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Junior Jack Frede is looking forward to building more connections during a unique potluck the group will be having while at their AirBNB. Between 10-20 alumni are bringing unique food from around LA to come together with the students to be able to share their personal stories of experiences living and working in LA. This unique opportunity will allow for the students to converse with people in all fields of the creative industry, from actors, producers, directors, and writers, to a comedian and PA’s, all there to talk through the various career opportunities that students can pursue.

Film as a career has an incredible amount of job positions outside of the main few that first come to mind of directors, writers, and actors. Douglass hopes this trip will not only open their eyes and excited them for the collegiate chapter of their life, but also allow students to explore the “endless opportunities that they could pursue in the creative industry, and to self reflect on whether or not this is really what they want to do.”

Students touring the Paramount Studios campus with the help of an alumnus.