The Victors like show business
There’s an old cliché that it’s not what
you know, but who you know. In entertainment careers, plenty of
people have the know-how and the ambition, so personal connections
can provide a powerful leg up. To forge those connections, U-M
alums and students have organized to maximize their clout and
increase their school’s visibility in show business.
More than 60 alums have formed the U-M Entertainment Coalition
(UMEC), with chapters in the show biz centers of LA and New York
City, and Michigan Business School students several years ago
organized the Entertainment, Media & Sports Club (EM&S)
for BBA, MBA and master of accounting students interested in the
business side of the entertainment world.
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
The U-M Entertainment Coalition has issued a call
for entries for its first Short Film Festival. The
festival is intended to promote the interests of U-M
alumni in the entertainment industry by showcasing
the broad production talents of Michigan alumni and
students, and raising their profile within the entertainment
film under 30 minutes in length that had a current
or former Michigan student serve in a key creative
capacity is eligible for consideration.
Short Film Festival is planned for May 2004 in Los
Angeles. All entries must be received by March 1,
2004. Selected films will be announced in April.
information about UMEC, visit the web site:
call (818) 439-3042, or e-mail at
The EM&S club held its annual reception in New York in November
at NBC headquarters for 150 attendees. Alums with degrees in business,
law, music, film, theatre and other fields, who now are at companies
ranging from Yahoo to Araca Group, from Warner Music to Disney,
took part in the two-day Forum.
Two graduates, Howard Handler ’83, ’85 MBA, and John
Lyons ’77, spoke briefly about their careers. Handler, who
has worked at MTV and the NFL and now is chief marketing officer
for Virgin Mobile USA, said that throughout his music, television
and sports careers “a lot of Michigan people have really
helped me; never underestimate the power of that network.”
Lyons, an art major, now president of production at Focus Features,
a specialty division of Universal, joked about having to break
it to his parents that he wasn’t going to law school but
instead would pursue a nontraditional career in New York City.
When he arrived, he knew no U-M alums, Lyons continued, and had
“no sense of how to reach them or how they could potentially
help me.” Now, with other members of UMEC, he hopes to help
young alums benefit from a strong U-M network.
The day after the NBC reception, 30 students visited a wide range
of companies to learn more about job responsibilities and opportunities.
Many of the professionals who met with the club were alumni, including
Raymond Pettit ’72 at Momentum Group and Robert Roth ’79
MBA, executive vice president and chief financial officer at HBO.
UMEC has also been active on the West Coast. In September it
premiered its speaker series in Los Angeles at Hollywood’s
L.A. Film School. UMEC has established a mentoring program and
has issued a call for the Short Film Festival described in the
box accompanying this article. MEC.
More than 100 persons attended Wolverines: Clawing to the Top,
a panel discussion featuring Heather Kadin '94, (vice president
of drama series, ABC TV), Jonathan Glickman ’91, (president
of production, Spyglass Entertainment) and screenwriter Richard
Friedenberg ’67 (Dying Young, A River Runs Through It),
all of whom offered tips for success and reminisced about their
Kadin, who is responsible for the development and execution of
ABC TV’s new drama shows, told of how what appeared to be
only a lateral career move became one of the biggest upward moves
of her career.
Glickman, who has supervised the production of such films as
Seabiscuit, Bruce Almighty, Shanghai Noon and The Recruit, recalled
how speaking up during a meeting soon after he had become an intern
at Caravan pictures in 1993 led to producing his first film—while
still an intern. In four years, he was president of the company.
Friedenberg’s adaptation of A River Runs Through It earned
him an Oscar nomination.
For more information about UMEC, and how to join, please call
818.439.3042 or e-mail UMEC at email@example.com.
By Christopher Derrick of UMEC and Colleen Newvine, an MBA student
and president of the Entertainment Media & Sports Club.