Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
California Dreaming: Professional Writing Students Take L.A.
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PW Take LA - Katylin Lindstrom at Universal Studios.jpg PW student at Universal Studios

Researched and written by Jack Gould

During spring break last February, a group of PW students visited Los Angeles for the College of Arts and Letters/Creativity Exploratory study away. PW junior Katlyn Lindstrom described the trip as “an opportunity to get to know a little bit more about the entertainment industry, and get a chance to do some networking in L.A.” The places that the group visited were varied, ranging from UCLA’s campus one day to DreamWorks and Disney Studios the next day. Visiting these destinations proved to be beneficial for the PW students, as each visit provided a chance to network with somebody in the entertainment field.

Some of these professionals that the PW students networked with were actually PW alumni from Michigan State. PW senior Gina Apone said that these interactions were especially useful as “[these alumni] were previously in our shoes so it was great to get their perspective. They knew what advice to give because they are not that far removed from where we are now.” Alongside networking with former alumni, the group also received valuable information from professionals in the entertainment industry.

One such professional was Jack Epps, a director and professor at UCLA. Epps proved to be a great connection, as well as provide a wealth of helpful advice for the PW students. Gina says that one thing Epps said that stuck with her was, “Produce something that you would want to see; as writer it is what we do.” Katlyn also received some wise advice from Epps, who stated, “There’s no such thing as good luck or bad luck. Good luck is when the opportunity comes, and you have done the work to take advantage of it. Bad luck is when the opportunity comes, and you haven’t done the work to take advantage of it.”

In order to make these connections the group had to rely on skills they gained from PW. Katlyn said that the biggest PW skill she used was the ability to communicate with other professionals. Gina echoed this sentiment saying, “We had to tell people what we do, how we do it, and what we bring to the table.” In order to pitch themselves to professionals in the entertainment field, the group had to rely on their PW base. All in all, the CAL/CE trip proved to be a great experience for PDubs interested in the entertainment industry.