Columbia College Hollywood Starts New Entertainment Business Curriculum

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The Gail Patrick film soundstage, constructed in 2009 and funded by Gail Patrick, former executive producer of the longtime CBS television show “Perry Mason.”

Not every film student is down with the starving artist thing. Most film students strive to find their voice and express it through their work, but for those undergraduates who don’t think the freelance life is for them there is an alternative.

Columbia College Hollywood, a film school in Tarzana, has begun a program for the business end of producing. Beginning this fall students will be able to earn a BFA in Film & Video Production with an emphasis in Entertainment Business – in other words, the business part of the film and television business or jobs that offer more of a traditional 9-6 work schedule.

“Our students have been emphasizing producing for years,” said Alan L. Gansberg, CCH Dean of the College. “We’ve been very successful in training them to be so-called creative producers – those who conceive, sell and develop property, and as line producers, who run the set and see to the nuts and bolts of the film through to the final edit. But many of our producing students have had opportunities through our internship programs to work for talent agents, studios and on the business side of film and television and they liked it. We need to address their aspirations. We then discovered that it is extremely rare to find an undergraduate program in entertainment business for film, TV and new media.”

Professor John Cones, an entertainment attorney who specializes in film financing, will be the faculty advisor for the new emphasis.

Instructor Sean Mulcahy, former assistant director of “Friends,” “Seinfeld” and “How I Met Your Mother,” supervises a 3-camera TV shoot in the CCH television soundstage.

“The idea is to give people the tools to create their own career, to not be at the mercy of people whose jobs they don’t understand,” Cones said. “We want to empower our graduates in the real world.

“There will be courses in film financing. We will teach students the different ways to structure a deal, talk about ways to raise money and how to sell themselves as well as their films.”

Richard Kobritz is the president and CEO of CCH, producer of several feature films and television movies, and the former Senior Vice President of Warner Brothers Television.

“At most film schools the overwhelming majority of students train to become directors and/or writers. Certainly, that’s the case here at CCH,” he said. “We also train many excellent cinematographers, editors and screenwriters. It’s also heartening to know that we’ll be turning out future producers, executive producers and studio executives. The head honchos have to start somewhere and Columbia College Hollywood is that place.”

Columbia College Hollywood, founded in 1952, confers Bachelor of Fine Arts as well as Associates degrees. Located in Tarzana, the campus is just a few miles from all the major studios and their historical job placement post graduation averages over 90 percent. Upcoming Open Houses are scheduled for both Saturday, Oct. 16 and again on Saturday, Nov. 20.

For more information, go to www.columbiacollege.edu or call (818) 345-8414.

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