Professional Development in LA

Today is my last day on the Pitt in LA program, and what an adventure it has been! The Pitt in LA program has truly been a transformative experience for me, both personally and professionally.

Through this program, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the offices of Lionsgate and Warner Music Group, hearing insight from industry professionals. We’ve also had a variety of guest speakers that are Pitt Alumni, ranging from Anomaly Pictures’ Adam Fasullo to Warner Records’ Mike Claricurzio and so many more.

I think the biggest professional takeaway I’ve gained from this trip is that exploring a career in the entertainment industry is possible. Before, it was hard to image what Los Angeles would be like, let alone what roles in this industry could entail. Sitting in the Warner Records office listening to a panel of marketing and business professions speak about their day-to-day experience really solidified the fact that I can do this.

Through this experience, I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with and work with Grover Biery of Slow Down Sounds, which acted as one of my final class projects. Slow Down Sounds is an independent music company and label based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 2016 as a vinyl only reissue label focusing on quality of sound, but SDS has evolved and grown beyond its original mission. The label now releases a variety of music, including original albums, compilations, and live recordings. SDS also offers creative services, specializing in vinyl manufacturing and distribution.

Working with Grover has allowed me to gain greater insights on the label-facing side of the music industry. For several projects, I’ve been able to create one-sheets, which are documents that summarize a product for publicity and sales. I’ve also created art tracks for vinyl promotions which consist of the sound recording and the album art of a song with the purpose of providing a YouTube version of every track on an album. I could not be more grateful for the opportunities I’ve had through this experience, and cannot wait to continue after this trip!

In terms of transferrable skills, this trip has taught me the importance of passion, adaptability, and communication in the music industry, and in marketing overall. I had the opportunity to connect with my summer internship manager, Faiq Malik of The Growth Exchange, a digital marketing agency based in Los Angeles. He stressed how vital it is to be a good communicator as a business professional. Schedules are often not linear, and change is the only constant in this line of work.

You also truly cannot work in entertainment unless you love it, and your passion is what will drive you to do your best work! Most important of all, the little things you do can take you far, from sending a follow-up to providing extra details that could be useful. People will always appreciate good people who are willing to go the extra mile.

I cannot wait to fully reflect on this journey once I am back in Pittsburgh, but for now I am so glad to be soaking in the sun and enjoying the new friendships I have formed on my last day (for now) on the west coast. I’ll be back for you LA!

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