Students to be prepped for industry leadership

USC has created an undergraduate program designed to produce young recruits for the entertainment industry armed with both practical business skills and film and TV industry savvy.

The four-year, interdisciplinary program allows students to major in business administration while receiving a minor in cinema and television.

Now in its second semester, the program accepts up to 30 students each year. Twenty-eight are currently enrolled in the new bachelor’s degree program, the result of a joint effort between the USC’s Marshall School of Business and School of Cinema-Television.

Program founder Larry Auerbach, a former Hollywood agent who is now exec director of student and industry relations for the School of Cinema-Television, learned from studios that the industry was content with the number of graduating students versed in the creative aspects of film and TV, such as writing, directing and producing. What they needed were more people skilled in such nuts-and-bolts disciplines as marketing, distribution, advertising and finance.

“The studios are always looking for bright people with knowledge of the industry,” Auerbach said. “It is quite possible that the future top executives of the en-tertainment industry will come out of this program.”

Besides the usual business courses, the program will expose students to a curriculum that explores the nature of film and TV from screenwriting concepts to final exhibition. They will study film as an international art form and the social and political aspects of television.

Many of the program’s classes are taught by industry professionals, who must make a 15 week commitment. Those who have taught in the program include Bob Levin, Sony prexy of worldwide marketing; Mark Itkin, senior VP at the William Morris Agency; and ICM exec VP Alan Berger.

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