To nourish and educate the next generation of young content creators, the Television Academy Foundation expanded this year's College Television Awards Nominee Summit to include field trips to HBO, Spectrum News 1 and NBC's America's Got Talent. On Friday March 15, students started their day networking over breakfast with College Television Awards alumni and industry professionals, followed by a busy morning of panel discussions with the producers of Outlander and Dancing with the Stars. Then, the nominees split into three groups for three distinctly different afternoon field trips.
HBO welcomed students nominated in the narrative categories: Animation, Drama, Commercial, Nonfiction/Reality & Comedy to their Santa Monica offices. There, they listened closely as Senior Vice President of West Coast Production Janet Graham Borba-Smith and Vice President of Post Production Holly Schiffer gave an exclusive presentation offering an inside look at what goes into producing the popular hit series Game of Thrones. Anthon Chase Johnson, nominated in the commercial category, reflected on his HBO visit: "It was super awesome," he said. "They told us all kinds of cool things... how they run their business, what kind of work they like to do and what we can do to become more qualified professionals." Zachary Morrison, from Columbia University and nominated in the Comedy category, echoed similar sentiments. "We learned a lot about their process," said Morrison, "taking a show from development through production and walking us through the different decisions that factor into how a show gets made."
In El Segundo at Spectrum News 1, students nominated in the News and Sports categories followed Vice President of Spectrum Sports Jared Stacey's lead on a full tour of the network's news telecast facilities and studios. Stacey used the opportunity to share with students how Spectrum Sports works to achieve in-depth nationwide sports coverage. Ahead of their evening sportscast, NBA greats Robert Horry and James Worthy, as well as six-time MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra, broke from their preparation to greet thrilled students and answer questions about their roles as Sports Analysts and Commentators. SportsNet LA Anchor John Hartung joined in to share strategies about how to build a broadcast career and the knowledge he gained during his 20-year-sportscaster journey.
Spectrum News 1 Senior Director Scott Warren discussed the process of assembling a talented and trusted 20+ person team of multimedia journalists to report in-depth and accurate Southern California news. Multimedia journalist Avijah Scarborough and Weekend Beat and Afternoon Beat host Kelvin Washington joined Warren to shed light on their roles. They both addressed how they uphold journalistic integrity in the "fake news" era.
Outside a taping of America's Got Talent at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, show host Terry Crews gave a candid talk about his career journey, inspiring an excited group of College Television Award nominees in the Variety category. In addition to receiving career tips from Crews, students got a behind-the-scenes tour of the show, enjoyed a meet-and-greet with judges Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, Simon Cowell, and Howie Mandel, and also participated in an informative Q&A discussion with producers Jason Raff, Megan McAlduff, and Chase Marbumrung. The producers encouraged students to remember that there is no such thing as overnight success and committing to hard work is paramount. "I knew I wasn't just going to wake up the next morning after I graduated and be a producer," said McAlduff, who told students that no production job is too small and to embrace the process of learning post-graduation.
"I didn't grow up in America watching these types of shows like variety or reality television," said Ellis Cox McAllister who grew up in Thailand and attends Savannah College of Art and Design nominated in the variety category. "So I thought it was very interesting to see this and also to witness all the challenges, hard work and dedication that are required to create a show like this."
All the nominees made great contacts and enjoyed inspiring and provocative conversation at the Nominee Summit field trips! With hands-on experience and meet-and-greets with industry veterans, the Television Academy Foundation will continue providing students with more networking opportunities and learning moments as they forge their paths to their dream careers.
Click here to view all the College Television Award nominees and winners.