Tulane to Hollywood

Hear from Tulane's own about what it takes to
build a successful career in the entertainment industry

Friday, April 22, 2016 at 12:00pm
Qatar Ballroom, Lavin-Bernick Center

*please note this location change*

Moderated by Elyse Luray (BA Art History '89), Trusts & Estates, Heritage Auctions




Curtis Colden

NBCCurtis Colden (MFA Theatre '95)
Consulting Producer, NBC

Curtis Colden is an Emmy Award Winning Producer and Writer of Competition Reality Shows. He received a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on The Amazing Race (CBS), as well as a Prism Award as a Producer on The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC). For eight straight seasons he has run the Live Eviction show for Big Brother (CBS). His other producing credits include: The Biggest Loser (NBC), Rock Star: INXS (CBS), The Island (NBC), Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls (NBC), and recently American Grit (FOX), hosted by John Cena, and the newly revamped Celebrity Apprentice starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Celebrity Host Writing Credits include: Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Cena, Julie Chen, Bear Grylls, Jessica Alba, Tyra Banks, Brooke Burke, Ronald Regan, Jr. and for better or for worse…five years for Donald Trump.

Holly Fleischer

42WestHolly Shakoor Fleischer (BSM Marketing, Information Systems '02)
Publicist, 42West

With more than thirteen years in the industry, Holly Fleischer has earned a reputation as one of the top talent publicists in Hollywood. In addition to managing talents PR, Fleischer is considered an accomplished consultant on celebrity endorsements with a background in marketing. Her clients include some of Hollywood’s most prominent talent including Jennifer Garner, Lady Gaga, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Stone and Sofia Vergara. Fleischer began her career at B|W|R Public Relations in 2012. She was quickly promoted and worked as a Senior Publicist there for seven years. In 2009, Fleischer joined 42West in their Los Angeles office. Fleischer attended Tulane University and graduated with a double major in marketing and ISDS from the A.B. Freeman School of Business in 2012. Native of NJ, she currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Ruben Fleischer and their daughter, Jack Lila.

Andrew Karpen

Andrew Karpen (Tulane Parent)Bleecker Street Media
CEO, Bleecker Street Media

Andrew Karpen currently serves as the CEO of Bleecker Street Media, an independently-financed distribution company based in New York City. Mr. Karpen’s company has released Danny Collins, starring Al Pacino and Annette Bening, I’ll See You in My Dreams starring Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott, Pawn Sacrifice featuring Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber, and Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren, both of which were nominated for a Golden Globe. Upcoming releases include Eye in the Sky starring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul, Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen, and Elvis & Nixon starring Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon. Mr. Karpen was most recently Co-CEO of Focus Features, the specialty film production and distribution arm of NBCUniversal. Mr. Karpen has over 20 years of experience in film and TV. Mr. Karpen joined Focus Features in 2002 as COO and was responsible for the company’s finance, operations, and strategic planning. With his promotion to President in 2006, Mr. Karpen had additional responsibilities including domestic marketing, publicity, and distribution. Further, Mr. Karpen took on management responsibility for Focus Features International, the international sales and distribution arm of Focus Features. In 2012, Mr. Karpen was promoted to Co-CEO. The company’s Academy Award-winning films include Dallas Buyers Club, Brokeback Mountain, Lost in Translation, Atonement and Milk. Prior to joining Focus, Mr. Karpen spent time at Oxygen Media as Senior Vice President, Finance & Planning. Prior to Oxygen, he assisted in the creation of Independent Pictures as their CFO and before that he was CFO and General Manager at Sunbow Entertainment. He began his industry career at Miramax Films where his four-year stint saw him promoted to Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations. Mr. Karpen is on the board of IFP, the nation’s largest non-for-profit dedicated to independent film. In addition, Mr. Karpen is a trustee for BAFTA New York and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.Mr. Karpen holds an MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University’s School of Business. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.

Ben Levine

Link Entertainment Ben Levine (BSM Management '92)
Founding Partner, LINK Entertainment

Ben Levine is a founding partner at LINK Entertainment, a Los Angeles based management and production company. Before partnering with Brian Wilkins and Erik Kritzer to start LINK in 2004, Ben worked as the head of talent management at Evolution Entertainment (“Saw”, “Two and a Half Men”).  At Evolution he was instrumental in packaging the talent of the SAW film franchise, representing 5 clients in the original film.  Ben started his career at The William Morris Agency. Mike Nilon, former CAA agent has since joined the partnership at LINK. LINK talent management division currently has over fifty clients on television shows and clients in a variety of films. The firm has grown to include other partners and employees, growing to a team of 25 employees and counting. The firm has divisions that include talent representation, literary representation, film production, tv production, film and tv packaging, reality production and a book division. LINK's production division is currently producing the Marc Forster-directed Amazon pilot Hand Of God  starring client Ron Perlman and feature film The Trust starring client Nicolas Cage.  Other projects include All I See Is You directed by Marc Forster (“World War Z”, “Monster’s Ball.”) and starring Blake Lively and Jason Clarke, Unbreak My Heart for Lifetime with client Toni Braxton, and Style’s hit series Tia & Tamera with client Tia Mowry.  LINK has been partnering with some of its other clients to produce with them who include:  Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Jason Momoa (“Justice League”), Morris Chestnut (“Rosewood”), Chevy Chase, Mike O’Malley (“Survivor’s Remorse”), Jason Patric, Patricia Heaton (“TheMiddle”),  Stephen Graham (“Boardwalk Empire”), Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm In The Middle”), and Avan Jogia (“Tut”). LINK also has a book division, with titles from clients including Perlman’s memoir Easy Street (The Hard Way) at Da Capo, Cary Elwes’ As You Wish at Simon & Schuster,  Burt Reynolds memoir at Penguin, But Enough About Me, and Ashley Rickards’ A Real Guide To Really Getting It Together Once And For All (Really) at Harlequin. Ben graduated from the A.B. Freeman School of Business in 1992, and he currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Karen, and two boys, Ryan and Justin.

Elyse Luray

Heritage Auctions Elyse Luray (BA Art History '89)
Trusts & Estates, Heritage Auctions

Elyse has over 20 years of expertise appraising pop culture collectibles including 10 years at Christie’s. Elyse is the nationally recognized host of HGTV’s “If Walls Could Talk” and “The Longest Yard Sale,” and a cast member on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” and “History Detectives”; SyFy’s “Collection Intervention”;  STYLE Network's "Clean House NY" and VOOM!’s “Treasure Seeker.  Elyse was correspondent for "The Nate Berkus Show," "Katie Couric Show." and CBS' "The Early Morning Show."  She is also a certified USPAP appraiser,  a member of the Appraiser Association of America, and a licensed NYC auctioneer. 

Jeff Wachtel

NBC-UNIVERSALJeff Wachtel (Tulane Parent)

President and Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment

Jeff Wachtel, veteran television executive and producer, was named President and Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, in September 2013.  In this role, Wachtel oversees development and production of content for the company’s diverse cable portfolio, including Bravo, E!, Esquire Network, Oxygen, Syfy and USA. He also leads two in-house studios: Universal Cable Productions focused on original scripted programming and Wilshire Studios focused on non-scripted.  He reports to Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, and is based in Los Angeles. Wachtel is spearheading the cable portfolio’s newly escalated effort to create and own original content.  He has energized the development slate at Universal Cable Productions and Wilshire Studios, and added star power to a roster of A-list producing talent. Under his leadership, the studios have focused on smart, noisy and search-worthy content, including award-winning series “Mr. Robot” and “Suits” at USA, the critically acclaimed “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” (Bravo’s first scripted series), the new hit series “12 Monkeys” at Syfy, and the irreverent comedy “Difficult People,” an original series for Hulu. Externally, the studios have over 50 projects set up at major networks and digital platforms, including new comedy series “Difficult People” at Hulu. In his previous role as co-president of USA Network, Wachtel oversaw all original programming for the network for over ten years, including seven consecutive years as the number one cable entertainment network.  The unprecedented run of successful series and mini-series launched under his leadership include “Monk,” "Burn Notice," “The 4400,” "Covert Affairs," "Psych," “The Starter Wife,” "Royal Pains," “White Collar” and “Suits.”  Wachtel joined the network in 2001 as executive vice president of series and long-form programming. Prior to joining USA, Wachtel served as president of Canada’s leading program supplier, Alliance Atlantis Television; President of 3 Arts Television; and executive vice president of primetime TV at Columbia Pictures Television, where he developed and supervised a number of long-running hit shows, including “Party of Five” and “Dawson's Creek.”  During earlier stints at Orion Television and Robert Cooper Productions, he developed award-winning series and long-form projects including “Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story” and “Equal Justice.” A graduate of Yale University, Wachtel began his career as a theatre director and producer, producing the first New York productions of David Mamet’s plays “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” and “Duck Variations.” As an avid mentor with a genuine investment in the next generation of talent, he teaches a class in TV show running at the American Film Institute. He is also a founding member of L.A. Works, a community-based volunteer organization, and a member of the President’s Advisory Board of the Zimmer Children’s Museum and a board member of the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.

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