Each year, the MultiMedia Institute (MMI) students travel to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. The NAB trade show is the largest electronic media show, featuring corporations like Sony and Panasonic.
This year, they amped the trip up a notch by spending four days in Los Angeles before their three days in Vegas. The MMI students spent their time in Hollywood networking with Christians in the industry.
MMI junior, Chandler Branzell originally suggested the LA adventure. His mother, Kathy Branzell helped coordinate many of the events with her friend Karen Covell, head of the Hollywood Prayer Network.
While in LA, the 12 MMI students had a stacked itinerary meeting industry professionals like actors, directors, producers, music composers and animators. They met Sony Pictures Vice-President Devon Franklin and attended an industry seminar at the CBS Studio lot.
The students were able to connect with and pray for ORU alumni ministering in the industry during a panel discussion. Alumni and panelists Phil and Kathleen Cooke spoke about their experiences as owners and founders of Phil Cooke Pictures, Inc., a television and motion picture production company.
“I learned a lot from Phil Cooke. He had a lot of information about breaking into the industry and creating a personal brand,” said MMI senior Kimberly Russell. “It was super inspirational to speak to an alum who is out in LA.”
During their days in sunny Cali, the MMIers visited four classmates studying at the LA Film Studies Center. Other activities included visiting the Santa Monica Pier, watching “Noah” at the Hollywood Arclight Dome Theatre and touring the set of “Jeopardy” on the Sony lot to watch ORU alumnus, Clay Jacobson work in the control room.
For Chandler Branzell, a definite highlight was watching the Disney sitcom filming of “Jessie” and meeting its star, Debby Ryan who played Bailey in “The Suite Life on Deck.”
“Meeting Debby and her mom was very insightful. They were extremely friendly,” Branzell said. “After growing up watching her on the Disney Channel, it was so cool to see everything that goes on behind the scenes and how much work goes into making the show happen.”
Assistant Professor Rafael Barreiro and Adjunct Professor Roger Bush began planning this trip in the fall and accompanied the students.
“The goal of this trip was for students to get a sense of how to pray for Hollywood,” Barreiro said, “because if they are in the industry, they are going to be related somehow to Hollywood.”
The students had the opportunity to pray for the city when they went to the Griffith Observatory that overlooks the Los Angeles Basin and Hollywood sign. They also attended Reality LA, a church of believers who work in the industry.
Their final night in LA, the students watched the matinee of “Lend Me a Tenor” by the Actor’s Co-op, a Christian-based acting company. The play has received critical acclaim.
Many of the students feel that this trip has made their dreams seem more realistic. For MMI junior Ian Harrup, this was his first time to LA.
“It was amazing to see what it’s like to be there where all the films are made and to discover that this is the place that I want to go to pursue my career and make films in the most professional place possible,” Harrup said.