Now that I am back in Pittsburgh, I have a lot to reflect on and a lot to be thankful for. If I were asked about my most transformative college experience so far, I would speak about my experience on the Pitt in LA program. Growing up on the east coast in Lancaster, PA I could have never imagined what the west coast would be like. From the culture and atmosphere to it being the epicenter of entertainment, I was shocked by how quickly Los Angeles became somewhere I could see myself calling home. The music industry has always been something I could see myself being a part of, I was just never sure as to what capacity. Being a student in Pittsburgh with few connections here, I was even more unsure of how I could manage to pull it off. Throughout my college career, I’ve had the clear goal of combining music and marketing, and this program really put it all into perspective for me. It showed me that achieving this dream is much closer than I realized.
During the Pitt in LA program, I had the opportunity to work on two incredible projects focusing on the intersection of business and creativity in the industries of both film and music.
Having never taken a film class prior to this program, I was able to learn a lot about the film industry in just one short month. Alongside our studio visits and coursework, my experience working with the independent film Above the Clouds served as a crash course into the realm of cinema. The film is a unique blend of grief and comedy, and was meaningful to be involved with since it was created with so many Pitt alumni. After seeing it twice at different screenings, and meeting the Writer and Director, Jon Hill, I knew I wanted to be involved. I took on the role of Director of Marketing for our Marketing and Distribution project, comprised of a team of 8 students. I led the promotional strategy and took charge of communication, organization, and account setup.
This project showed me the intricacies of managing a marketing team and how critical good team dynamics are in the entertainment industry. Working with different organizational styles and identifying individuals I could potentially work with in the future were important in this learning experience. The complexity of handling multiple tasks, combined with the responsibility of leading a team, offered valuable insights into the role of a Marketing Manager or Director of Marketing, positions I aspire to hold in the music industry.
For my second project, I worked with our prior class speaker Grover Biery, through his record label Slow Down Sounds. I helped with various projects such as creating strategy for the rerelease of an album on vinyl as well as creating promotional items like one-sheets and art tracks. Since social media marketing is something I am particularly interested in as well, I created a content strategy and calendar for Slow Down Sounds to improve their reach and support sales.
I truly learned so much from this experience. Before this, I had only known the live entertainment side of the music business, so it was fantastic to get an introduction to the label-facing side. Grover showed me several key industry platforms such as Discogs, Disco, and Foundee, laying the foundation for future projects. It was so special getting to leverage my past marketing experience into music-based projects. This experience also acted as a test-run for how Grover and I could work together, and I am incredibly excited to continue working with him throughout the academic year.
Every music business aspect of the Pitt in LA experience impacted me far more than I could begin to describe. Working with Grover only further proved to me that passion can take you where you want to go, as long as you are willing to put in the work that goes along with it. In the past, and throughout the program’s courses, I had often felt nervous while giving presentations. However, presenting my marketing projects was a different experience altogether. I found a sense of natural confidence and passion speaking about the work that I had led and the strategies we had crafted. This was a clear confirmation for me that marketing is truly the path I want to pursue in this industry.
Overall, 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 imagine what Los Angeles would be like, let alone what roles in this industry could entail. Listening to all of our guest speakers talk about their paths and experiences, and working on projects with Grover truly solidified the fact that I can do this. Until next time LA!
Pitt in LA 2023 Class with Above the Clouds Writer and Director Jon Hill
Pitt in LA 2023 Class with at Pitt-Alumni Networking Event