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    Living the Hollywood life

    October 6, 2015

    SULA studentsCaroline Soss ’16 can’t help but be star-struck by her current surroundings. “You’ll be driving down the street, just going to the grocery store, and you’ll go past Paramount,” says Soss, a television-radio-film major. “And it seems so casual, but you’re like, did I really just drive past Paramount Pictures? It’s just there on the street?”

    Soss is one of 60 students from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Visual and Performing Arts who have flocked to LA this fall to take part in the Syracuse University Los Angeles (SULA) Semester. The program immerses students in the day-to-day operations of one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful hubs. Each student’s semester is built around a 20-hours-per-week internship matched to his or her interests and abilities, in disciplines ranging from animation to television production and music to emerging media.

    Soss, a Philadelphia native, has her sights set on becoming a literary agent and is getting real-world experience interning at the Paradigm Talent Agency. “I’ve always planned to move to LA and work out here, so it’s like that confirmation for me—seeing if I can do it without the risks of actually doing it,” she laughs.

    The SULA Semester program leverages Syracuse University’s vast alumni network, with many industry professionals participating in the program as guest speakers, panelists, and mentors. Robin Forman Howard, director of the Los Angeles Semester, says that the entertainment immersion program has become increasingly popular since its inaugural class of 28 students six years ago. “From the feedback we receive from the students, we know that the combination of an internship, academic study taught by entertainment industry professionals, and the opportunity to connect with alumni based in Los Angeles is providing our students with valuable tools that will enable them to succeed when they enter the workforce,” she says.

    Zack Phillips ’15 is counting on that. With a December graduation looming, he’s doubling down with internships at Imagine Television and The Gersh Agency. “I really just want to try and experience as much out here as I can,” says Phillips, who’s soaking up all facets of the Hollywood life as he explores possible careers as an agent or a producer. “I want to do everything—do all the touristy things, make some great connections, and learn all I can.”