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Hollywood Insider Gives ASU Students Tools to Launch Entertainment Career

Author: Hazel Scott

Release Date: Nov 14, 2017

Stacy Milner, a former executive with NBC and Paramount Studios, conducted a symposium and job fair for students interested in careers in Hollywood.

Alabama State University students learned some strategies in getting a career in Hollywood today, Nov. 15, when Hollywood insider Stacy Milner, a former executive with NBC and Paramount Studios, came to ASU to conduct an Entertainment Industry Career Symposium and Hollywood Job Fair in the John Garrick Hardy Student Center ballroom.  

Milner, who founded the Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program, spoke to ASU students as part of the HBCU Pipeline Initiative to help increase representation of minorities in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Her topic was “Navigating a Career in the Entertainment Industry,” a behind-the-scenes, high-definition look at what it takes to land a job and succeed in a career in the entertainment industry.

She said since she launched the HBCU Pipeline Initiative in 2011 it has made a real impact on minorities getting into the entertainment industry.

“The first year out, students gained internship opportunities. One young man from Morehouse ended up working for Dream Work Animation for their development team, which is a very covenant position.  He did so well they said we want to go every year to source that talent,” Milner said.  “Since then, we continue to grow that access, opportunity and outreach. Our initiative caught the attention of President Obama’s team who then reached out and said we want to help.  So we got together, went into partnership and said let’s do more. We created the HBCU LA Internship Program.

Milner said the symposium will provide students a competitive edge as it relates to securing opportunities with companies that make up this multi-billion dollar industry.

“Students will walk away with very practical advice and tools to how to effectively leverage a career in the entertainment industry,” Milner said.  “They will gain nuggets in terms of etiquette and the protocol of the industry, as well as how the business works from the ratings and box office number side.”

Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, dean, ASU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, said the program empowers participants with information and access.  

“Our goal here is to help all of the universities, HBCUs, community colleges, Alabama State University and students from all majors,” Stewart said. “It’s an opportunity for them to learn what is needed, how to have the skills, and what skills are required to be accepted into the entertainment industry.  Not just for acting, dancing and singing, but also for catering, for hairstyle for makeup for costuming for stitching for camera crews, as well as being a location scout or a script supervisor. All of these jobs are involved in the industry. We want students to understand what they need to show on their resumes to make them marketable to go into workforce development. Stacy is here from the HBCU LA Initiative and they are the ones who actually evaluate applications and decide this is a good candidate for this Hollywood project.”

Milner, an author, lecturer and former executive assistant to the chairmen of both NBC and Paramount Studios, represents the Washington, D.C. Initiative and the LA HBCU Internship Program.

Andrea Dowman, a theatre arts major, said the symposium provided a unique opportunity to meet a top Hollywood insider, as well as other entertainment industry professionals.

“Meeting a Hollywood insider is a great feeling because you don’t have many opportunities to meet people of this caliber,” Dowman said. “It’s great to have people like Ms. Milner to come and talk to us and provide information about the entertainment industry and give advice and provide motivation.”     

Whitney Coleman, a senior dance major agreed,

“To meet a former top executive with both Paramount Studios and NBC is great,” Coleman said. “Milner gave more information on the ground work or the prerequisite into getting that huge job title like executive producer or artistic director. Ms. Milner gave me tips on how to get there and how, as a minority, to break down bearers in the industry.”

Milner said ASU students can continue to learn how to successfully navigate the industry by applying to the HBCU LA Internship Program.  

“I would love for students from ASU and other HBCUs to apply to the HBCU LA Internship Program because it is an educational program that allows them to come to Hollywood to live for the summer at no expense to them,” Milner said. “They get paid a minimum $4,000 stipend and they gain first-hand experience working in the industry.  So, I want students to apply for this program. “

Milner said students can apply by going to the website and click on the HBCU LA Internship Program Link.

Today’s event also included a panel discussion with industry leaders on how to access resources, training and opportunities from the state of Alabama and elsewhere. Representatives from the Alabama Film Commission, the Alabama Arts Alliance, Arts in Education and Alabama Industrial Development Training Organization (AIDT) participated.

An audience question-and-answer session and a meet-and-greet followed Milner’s symposium.

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