Engaging the Industry: Curb College Partnerships in Entertainment
written by Jarrod Eamon Fasching
Innovation. Disruption. Revolution. These have all been the topic of philosophical discussions about the changing landscape of the media and entertainment worlds. CSUN’s standing as a leader in educating students preparing to go into all areas of the entertainment industry relies on being part of this important conversation. The collectively-developed vision for the Mike Curb College emphasizes a deep engagement with the people and industries in our region, which includes programs that build strong relationships with the major studios, recording labels, historic museums, digital and social media giants, and video streaming titans in Los Angeles. These connections mean that students are up on current trends and movements in these areas and are positioned for success through internships, jobs, and direct access to a vast network of Matador alumni currently working in the industry.
Film and television have been critical areas for industry connections, and one of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts’ most successful programs for building these connections is the Entertainment Industry Institute (EII), now in its 23rd year. EII’s signature event is a regular symposium, which brings entertainment industry heavyweights together for a day of panels, breakout discussions, and workshops, headlined by a keynote speaker. Previous symposia have featured alumni like film director Don Petrie, Executive Producer of Marvel films like The Avengers, Michael Grillo, and EVP of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, Michelle Vicary. Students gain valuable perspectives, career advice, and skills-based training from the experts themselves, making them some of the most valuable future professionals in the industry. Beyond this symposium, EII produces skill specific training events, individual mentorship, and other activities which help establish and promote the Curb College as a hub for research and creative activity for the entertainment industry.
The music industry has also seen remarkable changes in recent years. Our Music Department is regularly recognized as one of the best music schools in the country, known not only for classical and jazz studies, but also music business and commercial and media composition. Students have the benefit of learning directly from leading professionals through the Industry Insights Speaker Series which is organized and sponsored by the Music Entertainment Student Association (MESA). These events highlight trending topics in the music business that serve to supplement and expand upon specific areas in the program’s curriculum, most recently focusing on the Latinx market. Representing an important touchpoint with the industry, this series offers a prestigious platform for high-profile professionals to engage, enrich, and network with CSUN Music Industry Studies and Music Industry Administration students.
To further learn from and strengthen the connections to our alumni and other music industry leaders, the college is in the process of forming the Commercial Music Advisory Council. Primarily composed of alumni who have leadership roles in areas of industry like producing, composing, performing, artist management, and publishing, this group will help to advise program leaders, bring in critical knowledge and resources to support further program development, and more.
The field of animation has also seen huge shifts in its business model. At CSUN, our Animation area is consistently ranked one of the top programs for students interested in pursuing a flourishing career in the field. Our unique relationships with the preeminent creative studios in the region help place students into critical internships and post-graduate employment. We also provide opportunities for student participation through industry and studio events, organized studio tours, and ongoing collaborative educational partnering. One of the highlights of these partnerships is the annual Career Day, where more than 125 students meet one-on-one with representatives from organizations like Dreamworks, Cartoon Network, Disney Television, to review their portfolios and get input for being successful in their career pursuits within this ever-changing industry. These individual discussions provide critical preparation and insider advice, and sometimes even lead directly to job offers.
The vision of a more industry-connected CSUN is starting with a strong foundation of relationships built over decades by faculty and alumni. In response to industries whose business changes with constantly evolving technology, the Mike Curb College continues to develop impactful initiatives that will support our students, faculty, and programs for decades to come.