Semester in LA Students Go Where Entertainment, Media, and Technology Converge

Columbia students participate in annual Los Angeles conference featuring leaders from Warner Bros, Roku, Sony, and Mattel.

On October 4, Columbia College Chicago Seniors Rose Casolari and Luke White enjoyed learning from — and mingling with — leading industry professionals at TheGrill in Los Angeles. TheWrap, a multiplatform media company that covers the entertainment industry, hosts this annual conference, which focuses on the convergence of entertainment, media, and technology. 

Both Cinema and Television Arts students currently participate in Columbia’s Semester in LA. This program, situated in the heart of the entertainment industry, allows networking and educational experiences like those found at TheGrill thanks to Columbia’s close ties with members of the entertainment community. 

This year’s topics at TheGrill included artificial intelligence, mergers and acquisitions, streaming, diversity and inclusion, screenwriting, and guild negotiations. Leaders from Mattel, Warner Bros., Roku, and Sony attended.  

“I enjoyed talking with people who had already found their place in the industry and could share advice with me,” says Rose Casolari, who studies Television Writing and Business. 

Both Casolari and White were particularly excited to hear about the marketing strategy behind last summer’s hit movie, “Barbie.”  

“As a huge fan of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” it was fascinating to hear from Josh Goldstine [president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros.] on how that ad campaign came together as well as hear from the CEO of Mattel Ynon Kreiz about what the development of that project was like,” says White, a Television Writing and Producing major.  

For White, hearing from sectors that interact with the entertainment industry — such as tech, law, marketing, and finance — added new layers of insight. And for Casolari, the event gave her a glimpse into the future.  

“Overall, I feel like I walked away with a good understanding of where the Entertainment industry is going in the next year.”