The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Hollywood hints: Film students reflect on trip to L.A.

Courtesy / Cora Van Houwelingen

Over spring break, 14 Grand Valley State University students traveled to Los Angeles, California for a week of video and illustration exploration in Hollywood. 

The group, all of which were Visual Media Arts students at GVSU, visited multiple production studios in the state. The group had opportunities to speak with experts in the field to learn about the film industry, receive advice about networking and discuss how to find success. 

Students met with notable directors and producers on the trip. The group met with Jeremy Howe, the producer and writer for American sitcoms “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon.” Students also attended an alumni gathering that shared GVSU graduates’ experiences in Hollywood and welcomed the group to the area. 

Courtesy / Suzanne Zack

On Tuesday, March 26, the student group that went to L.A. shared their experiences with the “Fiction 2” class at GVSU. Students in this film and video production class listened to what the group gained from the trip and how it impacted their opinions on the film industry.

Takeaways students had were the importance of reputation and composure in the film industry. Film and Video major Aidan Bunkosky said it was important to earn a reputation as a hard worker and to take every opportunity offered. Bunkosky said this helps build important connections.

“Say yes to everything. Everyone says that, but you (often) don’t realize that you should,” Bunkosky said. “Like, if you’re offered a project that’s unpaid and (the employer will) pay for your gas, take it. Say yes to every opportunity you get because something will come out of it.”

Another key takeaway the group stressed was that L.A. is not the only city that has opportunities in the production industry. Bunkosky said there are plenty of other cities for work in film, such as Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago.

“The biggest thing I took away from this trip was that you don’t need to move to L.A to be successful in film. It took going out there (to Los Angeles) to figure it out,” Bunkosky said. “I’m not saying it’s not an option, but I think a lot of people look at it as the only option, which isn’t true.”

GVSU student Preston Kodet, who was in attendance for the presentation, agreed with Bunkosky that you can find success in film beyond L.A. 

“I think the biggest takeaway (for me) is that there are other industries and other areas you can work in,” Kodet said. “Not just L.A, but Atlanta, Chicago, or you can even stay here in Grand Rapids.”

Courtesy / Thom Bell

GVSU student Jacob Morgan said the presentation inspired him.

“It helps to know that I don’t need to perfect everything, like I don’t know everything about cinematography and about cameras,” Morgan said. “Slowly learning by getting on as many film sets as possible is reassuring, so I’m just excited to get on more projects.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, many students expressed that they would want to move to L.A., New York City and Atlanta. Several attendees credited the trip and GVSU for inspiring them to make decisions for their future. 

“(GVSU)’s given me the means and the community to make projects and work on sets to pursue my passions,” Bunkosky said. “(GVSU has) given me the knowledge to make better and better projects as I move on from the program.”

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