Flip Flops in the Windy City: Summer Semester — What to Expect

Here’s a breakdown of what the SLA (Summer Semester Los Angeles) will consist of, now that we’re hitting the sunshine state and the city of angels!

The Hollywood sign!

The Classes

During our 5-week thesis semester in Los Angeles, we take classes that are specifically designed to prepare us for the recording session of our thesis, as well as transition from the academic to professional worlds.

Career Development — This class focuses on the professional / business side of being a film composer.  Here we learn how to market ourselves, and navigate the tricky waters of working as an independent contractor.

Internship/Apprenticeship — One of the biggest perks of the SLA is getting to intern for top-shelf film composers.  I’ll speak more on this later on.

Colloquium — This class is meant as an all-in-one class and includes things like game scoring and conducting to picture.

Thesis/Practicum: Final Project — Our thesis consists of scoring one of the undergraduate thesis films and having it recorded at Capitol Records at the end of the summer.  We work closely with the LA and Chicago faculty in preparing this score.

All our classes are held at Raleigh Studios, located just a few blocks from Paramount.  It is a pretty cool looking building:

Raleigh Studios

Lucky for me, I don’t live very far at all from where we’ll have classes everyday:

1.8 miles baby!

The Internship

As part of our SLA, we get to intern for some of the best working film composers in Hollywood.  In the past, students have worked with people like Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and John Powell.  This is an invaluable opportunity to be exposed to the inner circle of LA composers, and it’s truly one of the reasons why I picked Columbia College Chicago over other programs.

The Recording Session

The jewel in the crown that is the SLA is our recording session at Capitol Records.  One of the finest and oldest studios in LA, this place sets the gold standard.  I’ll put it this way: Frank Sinatra cut almost every record there.

Capitol Records

We’ll be working with some of the finest musicians in the world; these guys literally sight read most blockbuster film scores on the first try.  We’ve been preparing all semester for this, conducting our own sessions back in Chicago:


All in all, it’s going to be a very exciting time!