Class at Raleigh Studios

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Columbia’s first crop of Film & Video – Creative Producing MFA students began our second year in the program this fall, which can only mean one thing: our classes have moved from Chicago to Hollywood for the program’s Semester in L.A. I’m back for my second guest post to report on this semester!

Classes in L.A. meet at the Raleigh Studio lot, the oldest lot still in production in Hollywood.  As we walk through the lot on our way to class, we pass the production studio in which Charlie Chaplin’s work was produced, along with countless film and television programs since.

When classes began at the beginning of our semester, we didn’t know what we were walking in to.  The academic calendar in L.A. for the Creative Producers is skewed: classes are frontloaded, which means for the first several weeks of class (for us it was the first 3 to 4 weeks) we spent nearly all day every day in class, from Monday through Friday.

It was like “Boot Camp” all over again.

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Adding to the load is what our professors have been bringing to the table.  Our teachers here in L.A. have been nothing short of phenomenal—nearly all of them are longtime veterans of Hollywood, many having worked their way up in the business over the course of decades.

Our marketing professor is a Senior Vice President at Paramount and executed the marketing campaigns for Titanic, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, and Mission Impossible, to name a few.

Our story development professor was behind the American Pie and Final Destination franchises, and her company’s films have grossed over $1.9 billion worldwide.

Our entrepreneurial producing professor is a former Columbia grad who has been producing indie films successfully for 17 years, and he spent most of them based in Hollywood.  But even better than our professors’ credentials is the extensive knowledge, stories, experience, and expertise they’re able to offer us.

Simply put, we’ve been blown away by what we’ve been learning here and by the opportunity we have to be able to ask questions of these veterans.  And, as many of us are considering our own moves to L.A., having this kind of access couldn’t be better timed for us.