Students hear from Hollywood insiders

April 25, 2014 11:30 AM

Mary Sparacello

To find success in the entertainment industry, students should be passionate, get experience and take risks, a panel of successful Tulane University alumni and parents told over 400 undergraduates on Thursday (April 24).

Tulane to Hollywood panel

Entertainment attorney Matt Rosengart, a 1984 Tulane University graduate, moderates a panel of alumni and parents who give advice to undergraduates in the Lavin-Bernick Center on the uptown campus. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

“Get as much experience as you can,” said Jack Sussman, a Tulane parent and executive vice president of specials, music and live events for CBS.  

“When I hire someone … I look for someone who’s hard-working and has charisma,” said Meryl Poster, a 1986 Newcomb College graduate and president of television at The Weinstein Company. 

Sussman and Poster were two of seven panelists at “Tulane to Hollywood,” one of the many Career Wave events that Newcomb-Tulane College offers to undergraduates throughout the year. 

The panel was moderated by entertainment attorney Matt Rosengart, a 1984 graduate. “We don’t have an expectation that at 21 years old or 25 years old you’re going to be an expert,” he said. “It’s important to be interested and interesting.”

Panelists said that taking risks benefitted them. 

“No risk. No reward,” said David Lonner, a 1984 alumnus who worked for 25 years as a talent agent at agencies before starting his own management and production company, Oasis Media Group. 

David Wisnia, a 1999 Law School graduate and executive vice president of business development at CBS, advised students not to limit themselves. “I’ve constantly put myself in a position to be open to new opportunities.”

Though panelists had to pay their dues at the start of their careers, they told students that they love their jobs — and the entertainment industry.

“The day-to-day of what I do is never the same,” said Chris Petrikin, a 1988 graduate and chief communications officer at 20th Century Fox.

Rick Roskin, a 1987 graduate and music agent at Creative Artists Agency, represents mainly touring musicians. “I get to represent my heroes,” he said. “And I still get goose bumps when the lights go up.”

Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000