NYC Immersion Trip – A Once In A Lifetime Experience

NYC Immersion Trip – A Once In A Lifetime Experience

In the beginning of January, while most of my TRF master’s cohort spent the days eating tacos and wearing shorts in sunny LA, I took another trip.

I went to chilly New York City with about a dozen of my other classmates and participated in the NYC Immersion Trip with Professor Andy Robinson–and I couldn’t be happier.

It was the perfect blend of work and play and I tell everyone I can about the things I learned, the things I did, and how much I would encourage them to take future trips if they have the chance.

Here’s a brief recap of my experience:

We arrived on Sunday, at the Roger Hotel in Manhattan.  It was a beautiful space – and completely paid for (many thanks to our benefactor, Ed Bleier).

On Monday, we went to the Fisher Center across the street (the hub for SU’s NYC Abroad program) for breakfast and Skype chatted with Gary Lico.  All of our speakers (with the exception of one or two) were SU alumni. They are passionate about helping SU students and recent grads break into the entertainment field.

Over the course of the week, we met with about 20 different speakers whose career fields ranged from finance to screenwriting, to digital marketing and television distribution.  The wealth of knowledge we were able to pull from was vast.  Many of the speakers came to the Fisher Center and some hosted us at their offices.

A few examples – Ed Bleier hosted us for lunch and chatted at Warner Bros, David Brewer brought us to 30 Rock and his Bravo office, and Vin Nucatola showed us around the modern office of Thrillist.

Each discussion lasted about an hour and ranged from how to impress prospective employers to in-depth looks at some of the works they’ve created and how they made them so powerful.

One of the things that almost all of the speakers mentioned was the power of a handwritten thank-you note.  It goes a very, very long way to getting your name in the head of a prospective employer.

However, this trip wasn’t only about introducing us to incredible industry professionals (although it would have been more than enough).  The trip, masterfully planned by Professor Robinson, was also a detailed study of New York City for soon-to-be graduates looking to move there in the near future.

Oh, yeah – we also met Hasan Minhaj during a tour of the Patriot Act studios, orchestrated by SU grad Laquin Alexander.

On Monday night, we went to a magnificent restaurant (ilili) to enjoy a delicious meal and sit with recent Newhouse grads.

On Tuesday, we went to a taping of a little show you may have heard of – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert! SU grad, Chris Licht is the show runner for The Late Show, and got us second row seats.  Oh yeah, he also introduced us to Colbert after the show (who was a delight).

On Wednesday, we saw Come From Away on Broadway.  A truly moving and powerful show – not a dry eye in the house.

Thursday night was a much less formal time – so many of us went out and explored Manhattan’s East Village until the wee hours of the morning.

Friday was the saddest day of all – after a trip to HBO’s office, we had to pack up, call it quits and leave the beautiful city for a quick weekend before the spring semester began.

All this is to say that the NYC Immersion Trip was an experience I’ll never forget, something I’ll take with me every time I have an interview or a meeting with an industry individual.  We learned practical industry practices that will inform evert decision I make in my professional career, and I couldn’t be more thankful to Professor Robinson, Mr. Bleier, Newhouse, our speakers and the many other people who made this trip possible.

I hope it exists for a long time – it certainly helped me in ways that will continue to pay off in the future.

Nicholas Fathergill
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