Hanging in Hollywood

August. Wow, that was fast!  Summer is winding down. It won’t be long before our 1428 freshmen and 75 transfer students arrive on campus. And if you’ve read my blog entries around move-in day for the last two years, you know how I will feel….

As I type, I am flying back from Los Angeles where I had the genuine pleasure of experiencing a taste of Elon’s Climbing the LAdder program. This nine week program is a value-added experience for students across the university who are interested in the entertainment industry. If it was a fantastic experience for me in just three days, you can imagine what it’s like for students.

This summer, 40 students participated in Elon’s fourth summer program in LA. The tagline – Live, Learn, Intern – says it all. Elon students attend class on Monday and intern Tuesday – Friday all across Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc. Each internship has a mentor who is an Elon alumnus. That’s how strong the network is out there!

I spent time visiting two internship sites – Digimax and Panavision – and learned just how little I know about how much is involved in the entertainment industry. From 180 and 360 degree HD camera data storage to literally hundreds of different camera lenses and equipment, all I could think of was how much the average movie viewer takes for granted.    Myself included.

The students live in a very nice residential community in Hollywood literally a stone’s throw from Warner Bros studios. They are responsible for their own transportation and four faculty members – only one of whom is from Elon’s NC main campus – teach classes ranging from Acting to the Business of Hollywood.   From my interaction with our amazing students, it’s clear that this program is life changing.

On Wednesday evening, Climbing the LAdder students premiered the films they’ve been working on all summer. They were fantastic – and the premier just happened to be at the American Film Institute (AFI)!  Over refreshments prior to the screening, I had a conversation with a favorite young alumae who graduated last December.    She participated in the LA program just last summer. “It was either study abroad or domestically and I chose this.” Earlier this year, she moved to LA and got a great job with a highly regarded entertainment company.   She even mentored two interns this summer!

Climbing the LAdder isn’t Elon’s only domestic summer program. A very different but equally enriching experience is available in New York City. It too, is available to students regardless of major.

The cost of Climbing the LAdder is $7000 which covers tuition and housing as well as a variety of industry related joint experiences. The result of such an experience is remarkable learning and transformation. Students develop expertise and independence as they Live, Learn and Intern. It’s another example of Elon’s commitment to Engaged Learning. Perhaps it’s the best…

For more information on Climbing the LAdder, visit http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/communications/eloninla/

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