Columbia College Chicago

Semester in LA

Semester in LA

Semester in LA (SiLA) is an opportunity for Columbia College Chicago students to gain hands-on experience in entertainment, media, and communication fields by immersing themselves as active participants in these industries. Held on the Raleigh Studio lot, SiLA is a one-semester, career-oriented program for Columbia’s most driven, motivated juniors and seniors.

At the heart of the immersive experience is a part-time internship, which students schedule around industry-related academic courses for full-time tuition status (minimum 12 credit hours).

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Raleigh Studios

The longest continuously operating studio in the country, Raleigh Studios began in 1915 as Famous Players Fiction Studios, with a Mary Pickford production as one of the first features to be filmed on this historic Hollywood lot. Although the silent era was still in full swing, an early owner had the vision to build one of the world's first soundstages—complete with a glass top so light could enter without disrupting sound recording. This kind of innovation has marked Raleigh Studios throughout its history.

The studio passed through a number of hands and operated under several different names during its colorful history. Some of the industry's most influential leaders have called the lot home, including Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Walt Disney, Bette Davis (the cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was filmed at the lot), and Jim Henson and the Henson Companies.

As television swept the industry in the 1950s and 1960s, many of the original film studios faded. On the Raleigh Studios lot, however, television was not viewed as a threat, but rather as an opportunity. The studio adapted to the new technology of television shoots and became a popular venue for top television producers. Over its long history, some of televisions' most famous early shows and pilots were filmed at the studio, including Superman, Gunsmoke, and Perry Mason.

News and Announcements

Variety Magazine Writeup

Semester in LA received some much-deserved recognition from Variety magazine. Writer Dan Doperalski highlights the benefits students receive from being in the center of the entertainment industry.

According to the article, students "have always flocked to Los Angeles to make their careers," dreaming of the Hollywood lifestyle. "Those who enroll in Southern California-based film schools are at a distinct advantage, often benefiting from proximity to local internships and professional lecturers."

Schools across the United States realize this geographical advantage. "To narrow the gap, out-of-state schools have followed their grad's 'go-west' impulse. Columbia College Chicago was one of the first to establish a L.A.-based extension program, and the school now maintains a permanent presence on the Raleigh Studios lot, where program head Jon Katzman arranges for working pros to teach classes."

Read the full article on Variety's website.

Black List’s SiLA Alum Returns with Advice

Eddie O'Keefe

Semester in LA was proud to invite back Columbia College Chicago and SiLA alum Eddie O’Keefe '09 as a guest speaker for our Screenwriting and Producing courses. O’Keefe gained notice in the industry with his short film The Ghosts, a supernatural, nostalgic foray into the suburban teenage existence. The film premiered at Brooklyn International Film Festival and went on to screen at the 47th annual Chicago International Film Festival.

O'Keefe's first feature script When the Street Lights Go On, landed him second on 2012’s prestigious Black List (Hollywood’s esteemed list of the years best unproduced screenplays) as well as third on TB’s “Hit List.” When the Street Lights Go On was optioned by Imagine Entertainment this year.

Like our Facebook page for updates about SiLA.

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