October 18, 2004 Vol. IX, No. 5

From left, at "Show Biz" conference, are panelists Bill Connor of NBC Guest Relations, Southern California Broadcasters Association President Mary Beth Garber and Cynthia Lieberman of Lieberman Communications.

Students Get Access to Entertainment Insiders at Conference

Serious Networking Reigns at 'The Business of Show Biz' Gathering on Campus

Representatives of the entertainment industry--from NBC television to The WB network--convened at Cal State Northridge last week to share with CSUN business students the benefit of their hard-won wisdom in the challenging world of show business.

"The Business in Show Biz," an annual conference, was sponsored by CSUN's Entertainment Industry Institute, the College of Arts, Media, and Comminication and the College of Business and Economics. It attracted attentive crowds of business and economics majors to two sessions introducing the university's students to movers and shakers in the industry.

"One of the most difficult things for students who are interested in a career in the entertainment industry," said institute director Robert Gustafson, "is meeting someone in the industry who will actually take a personal interest and help them.

"There are lots of industry people who are too busy to help, even though they may want to," he said. "The Business in Show Biz" conference, he noted, provides the ideal format for networking with individuals who set aside time to answer students' questions both during panel sessions and in one-on-one conversations.

The first conference session focused on "Finance and Financing in the Feature Film and Television Industries," and an afternoon session addressed "Careers in the Entertainment Industry for Business and Economics Majors."

Advice from the industry professionals was plentiful. "There is no such thing as a bad job," Southern California Broadcasters Association President Mary Beth Garber told the students, most of them finance or marketing majors armed with rsums and "dressed for success."

Aspiring industry professionals, she advised her listeners, should be receptive to accepting jobs that may not be their first choices in order to gain entry into the business. Her own introduction to the entertainment field came by way of a position she had not originally sought, but welcomed as a way to get her start.

CSUN alumnus Adam Wall of NBC Universal Television Distribution cautioned students to take an important preliminary step before getting into the business. "Be honest with yourselves about your qualifications," he said. That done, he added, students should utilize what they do best and pursue their goals with passion.

Joining Garber and Wall at the conference were CSUN alumna and moderator Joan Giglione of ABC Television Network, moderator Jeff Gilbert of Conceptual Sales Dynamics, attorney Bonnie Chermak, Keith Friedenberg of Warner Bros., Holly Gabriel Hobart of ABC Television Network, Elizabeth Huszarik of Warner Bros., Karen Miller of Reality 24-7 and independent film producer Yazmin Ortiz.

Also participating were CSUN alum Sal Calleros of Arenas Entertainment, Bill Connor of NBC Guest Relations, CSUN alumna Cynthia Lieberman of Lieberman Communications, and Brian Wright of The WB.

@csun | October 18, 2004 issue
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