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Education

East Coast Colleges to Ship More Film Students to L.A. -- But Are They Welcome?

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge The Others shall walk among us
  • The Others shall walk among us
Yeah, yeah, we know. There's really no better place in the world to study filmmaking than the glamorous studio sprawl of Los Angeles -- or, as that golden-oldies station puts it, the Entertainment Capital of the World.

Better still, all that studying has the potential to evolve into some actual doing in L.A., as the next movie or commercial set is never more than a stone's throw away.

Two separate East Coast schools are giving into their coastal inferiority in 2011. Syracuse University and Emerson College will both be offering more spots in their cross-country "study abroad"-type programs...

... transporting students from the indie gloom of the New York/Boston entertainment industry to the Golden State's exotic 70-degree alternative.

Not to toot our own horn or anything (too late), but we think that once they get a taste of what L.A. has to offer (you know... jobs, connects, chicks in cutoffs and rollerskates), much like that middle-America ninny who gets a taste of true romance during her Cyprus homestay, all those East Coast wannabes will have a hard time returning to the home base after a dreamy semester in SoCal.

The LA Daily News, on Syracuse's westward ho:

"It seems to me that UCLA and USC are still going to be way ahead because there's going to be a broader contact and more people, over a longer period of time, and I think it would be hard to beat connections that you would have," [Robert Scales, a retired professor of University of Southern California's School of Theatre] said. "(Still,) I think it's a good thing for Syracuse to be interested in exposing their students to the real world." ...

"If you want to do TV and film, why not put yourself out in the place where it's all happening?" said SU senior Sal Neslusan, a recent Sorkin Week participant who wants to be an actress. "It's all become very tangible. When we're in Syracuse, I feel like L.A. is very theoretical." ...

"I think there are more job opportunities out here," said Tara Windley, an SU senior who has decided to move to L.A. to pursue acting. "Coming out here, it was like ... OK, I can do this. I can live out here, if this is what I choose to do." ...

Often, the students use the week to help them decide between moving to L.A. or New York City, which does offer TV and film jobs, but is better known for theater.

click to enlarge Emerson College's massive new haunt, planned for Sunset Boulevard
  • Emerson College's massive new haunt, planned for Sunset Boulevard
Guess that settles it! But the charmed new wave of talent may not be as welcome as they are excited to be here. Curbed LA reported in October that Emerson College's construction of new Hollywood facilities was pissing off the neighbors, bigtime, despite their glowing press releases about the noisy new construction:

Meanwhile, [recording studio EastWest Sounds] head Doug Rogers issued the following statement: "EastWest Studios is a cultural and historic icon, and I will leave no stone unturned in fighting to protect it. That being said, we are also working hard with Emerson to resolve our dispute with them. With the leadership and involvement of Council President Eric Garcetti, I am confident we will get there."

Ah, the joys of elegant density.

As is the case with the LA Film School's own legroom negotiations with longstanding neighbor the Hollywood Farmers Market, Garcetti's special-interested "leadership and involvement" seems to be more a curse than a blessing.

Indeed, a rep for EastWest tells us today that "litigation is still ongoing."

Good luck with that. We've never known the City Council prez to turn down a project featuring pitches like "world-renowned architect" and "housing is provided nearby in a furnished apartment complex with resort amenities." Simply divine!

Syracuse hasn't run into any problems yet, that we know of, but its expanding San Fernando Valley digs are likewise bulging dangerously into an over-saturated part of town.

You tell us: Will you welcome the new wave of Hollywood hopefuls with open arms?

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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