On Wednesday night, June 26th, the four LAdies (yes!) of the bridge program went to the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball game against the San Francisco Giants. We went to the game with our program directors Brittany, Jen, Adam, and J, as well as a bunch of J’s friends, Braelinn’s boyfriend Nick, and Brittany’s father too. As soon as we got to the game Justine, Sarah, and I bought LA Dodger baseball hats so that we could fit in with the crowd. One of the highlights of my night was being able to talk with Brittany’s dad about what it was like growing up in California. His demeanor was so welcoming and I learned a lot about the Dodgers that night thanks to him. Once the game got started I ordered my Dodger Dog and went to sit in my seat along with everyone else. From that point on there was a lot of cotton candy, cheering, participating in the wave, discarding peanut shells all over the ground, and laughing at the different things going on all around us. Another highlight was seeing two Elon undergrads on the Kiss Cam, watching the guy try and go in for it just for fun, and seeing him get denied by the Elon girl. It was entertaining to say the least! I am really glad I participated in this Elon Event and I can’t wait to go back again soon with some of my other friends living in Los Angeles.
Elon Bridges and our under-grad program got our weekly fill of culture on Saturday when we all went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). There was featured a Stanley Kubrick Exhibit, an East Asian Art Exhibit, modern art exhibits and much more. We arrived just in time to see an amazing exhibit, the Metropolis II, come to life.
We later headed to the Stanley Kubrick Exhibit, which as a cinema lover, I found it great fun to see his movies really come to life in the exhibit. They had scripts from his most famous movies with his own handwriting editing it, costumes, props, and much more to look at. It was a great day at the museum.
An Elon alumni reached out to our group asking if we could help volunteer for a fundraising event she was holding to support the non-profit she started, Malaika for Life. Founded in 2009 by malaria survivor Kristen Kenney, Malaika For Life is a grassroots movement to fight malaria through medical relief, advocacy, education and supporting social enterprise in Africa. The Bridges LAdies were more than happy to step up and volunteer. Directors J, Adam and Jen, came along as well to support. We sold many of the bracelets created by the Tanzanian women to support the cause and met some great people in the process.
Los Angeles has so many great events, you almost have to choose between events because you can’t go to everything. Also with the Bridges program, they schedule awesome networking events and experiences that you’re never for want to do something. The more events you go to, the more you get to know Los Angeles and all its different sleepy suburbs or bustling downtown areas. This program has been great in helping us acclimate to the area. I’ve now been to Culver City, Van Nuys, Santa Monica, and downtown Burbank, and it’s only been two weeks!
We had a great meeting with Elon alumni that are also living and working out here. Half of them had done the Bridges program before either as undergrad, or grads, like us. It was so helpful talking to them about their trials and tribulations and how they made it through. It was definitely reassuring for some of us that don’t have jobs/internships yet. Some of the best advice they gave is to be open to new experiences and stay positive, it’ll help your attitude and employers love people enthusiastic about the job.
On Wednesday, I nerd-ed out and went to the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. It’s so amazing how many things there are to do in Los Angeles. There really is something for everyone. Like me, a video game nerd, can find a symphony that is devoted to playing music composed to accompany their favorite video game franchise. I love the feeling of shared community here even though the city is packed to the brim with people and diversity. The traffic might be a nightmare, but it’s well worth it.
Last night, a few of our bridges students joined us at the LA Film Festival to see one of the festival’s showcases, “Brothers Hypnotic.” A heartfelt story about eight brothers raised by anti-establishment jazz legend, Phil Cohran. As children, they were raised on a “strict diet of jazz, funk and Black Consciousness.”
The film follows the brothers as they make their way on the streets of New York and beyond, while attempting to break into the music business. They struggle with the creation of their own burgeoning stardom, while also trying to stay true to their father’s differing ideals against fame and fortune.
I was about four years old when I started watching the iconic show, “I Love Lucy.” When I saw Lucille Ball always getting herself in crazy situations and willing to do anything to get into Ricyk’s shows, I knew I wanted to go to Hollywood. And now I’m here! My name is Devarrick Turner and I am a participant in Elon University’s Bridges to LA program.
This experience and opportunity is one that I have waited for my entire life. I’m only 23 years old, but I’ve waited a long time. I’m born and raised in Burlington, NC and trust me, there’s not much happening in Burlington. Burlington is a small town directly beside the even smaller college town of Elon. It was so close that I even lived at home during my four years of college (It was much cheaper). So, this is my first time away from home and living in a big city.
Like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” I’m not in Burlington anymore. There are a lot of things that I’m going to have to adapt to. Driving is one of them. In Burlington, everyone typically drives slowly with no urgency to get to their destination. I pass these people. However, in LA, I’m the one getting passed (and beeped at)! My journey is never complete without at least one honked horn.
LA moves at a much faster pace than I’m accustomed to and I’ve gotten a little a taste of it. The eight Elon alums have been bonding with each other and we’ve gone out to explore Hollywood’s night life. I’ve also gone out with a few of the current Elon students participating in the Elon in LA program. I also had the opportunity to go the 43rd annual LA Pride parade celebrating the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) communities.
Living in LA is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone. I’m gearing up for the challenge and I’m excited for what’s to come next. The best thing about being in the Bridges program is that I’m surrounded by my Elon family. We are here for each other and we’re walking side-by-side on this great adventure.
I’m living my dream right now and although sometimes it scares me, I plan to make the most of it as long as I’m here. I’ve been humming a song for the past few days and I didn’t know why. I listened to it while writing this post and I think it explains how I feel right now and what most newcomers to Hollywood must feel. Dreams do come true and they’re happening everyday.
This morning, some of our bridges students explored nearby Warner Bros. Studios. We explored live sets of the Big Bang Theory and Hearts of Dixie and got to visit the iconic Central Perk set from Friends. We were glad to have faculty, Rosemary Haskell and Jeffrey Coker, visiting us this week from Elon.
Greetings from Los Angeles! Let me introduce myself. My name is Justine Vadini. I am an Elon Alum (that still feels weird to say!) and member of the 2013 Bridges program. Week one has been so many things—overwhelming, exciting, and exhilarating (literally just hiked a mountain and still a bit out of breath) to name a few.
But more than anything, my first week in Los Angeles has been downright hilarious. In the midst of all the fear that comes with graduating from college and moving to a new city, humor has been my constant companion.
My first night here I had the opportunity to see some really great Improv at The Groundlings Theatre. Then, a few days later, the Bridges crew supported Elon Alum Jay Light as he performed stand up at the world famous Laugh Factory. The next day I ran into Elon Alum and stand up comedian Grace Baldridge at a coffee shop in Hollywood—(she had me laughing so hard I was in tears). To top all this off, I was invited to go to The Comedy Store and see an incredible line up of 16 comedians perform from 9 PM to 2 AM on Friday night.
So, why am I telling you all of this? I promise it is not just to brag or say, ‘I’m having more fun than you!’
No, I am telling you because having a sense of humor, being able to laugh at yourself, and being able to stand up in front of people and talk about your dreams directly relates to something our panelists , Renee Faia, Monica Mancini and Kevin Knoblock stressed on Thursday evening: Fear is pointless.
Yes, we want to take our careers and ourselves seriously. We always want to be professional. But, if I have learned anything in my first week here, it’s that humor breeds resilience, and if we know we can get back up, we won’t be afraid to try.
To get you seriously laughing this week, here’s a piece from Tim Baltz of Second City. He’s one of Improv’s Top Ten Rising Stars:
Oh, and always remember the wise words of my personal favorite comedian, Bill Murray: “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”
Yesterday, we had the privilege to speak with some versatile leaders in the entertainment industry. Our panel discussion, moderated by Audra Platz from Marymount College, gave us the chance to talk to our panelists about how to break into the entertainment industry. Panelists included Kevin Knoblock, a writer, producer and director, known for his significant contributions to Paramount Television, specifically “Entertainment Tonight;” Monica Mancini, double-Grammy nominee and daughter of famed film composer Henry Mancini, and Renee Faia, an accomplished film and television actor, professional singer/songwriter, fashion designer and all around creative force. As you can imagine, these individuals had invaluable advice to pass on to us. By drawing from countless examples of successes and challenges in their diverse careers, we were really able to get an idea about how to start our own careers in the entertainment industry.