Dean "Deeno" Douglas
Tell us about yourself.
Deeno’s Advice – “Don’t be a spectator.” Participate in AEMM courses.I was exposed to music initially through church at a very young age and although at the time I was involved for the love of it, deep down I knew there were opportunities there for me above a pure hobby level. Whether it was through singing, writing, drums, or playing with any piece of production gear I could get my hands on, I kept music very close to the hip all the way through my high school years. When I discovered in high school that there were colleges that married a subject I had always adored with business principles, I knew I had to be a part of this environment… I started out wanting to be an executive in some capacity working directly with talent, and now I'm on a road that’s taken me more than half way through law school with hopes of working in a Business & Legal Affairs department of a major entertainment company.
How did your experience in Columbia’s AEMM department prepare you for your career?
Although AEMM had a multitude of students to look after, I remember just popping into the department office to talk to Kimo or Phyllis about whatever was on my mind. Several other classmates and I had built relationships during school that led to internships and jobs. This is possible for anyone taking classes at Columbia but was especially possible because of AEMM's commitment to providing the student body with faculty that in short "make sense". They hire people who have real world knowledge and invaluable experience…Grammy Award winning producer Donald Lawrence would later become someone I can call not only a friend but also would open the door to his circle of friends in the entertainment industry that make up a good portion of [employers on] my resume!
What are some of Columbia’s strengths?
CCC's strengths are many and broad but I believe it includes putting its money where its mouth is. I made friends in almost every major at Columbia including Dance, Music Performance, Musical Theater, Film & Video and more. I roamed the different school buildings and sometimes my mind would wander on who might the school produce that would later be dancing on a stage somewhere or directing a feature film. The opportunities are there and they are plentiful. It’s up to the student to take advantage of what is available and use the chances given to sharpen, educate, and brand oneself.
Any advice for current students?
At the center of all of it is, "don’t be a spectator". When I look at my fellow alumni that are now working at major labels, publishing companies, productions houses, and singing and performing on major stages, reflecting back, they were all extremely active during their time at school…the school and the department provide students with numerous activities but it’s up to the student to take advantage of it.