They say Hollywood is the land of dreams. And, thanks to the generosity of Tulane alumnus and parent Larry Sibley (A&S’80), that dream will come a little closer to reality for two lucky undergraduates.
For the fourth summer in a row, the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University has been able to offer students the opportunity to learn firsthand about the movie industry both in Los Angeles and in New Orleans.
“I’ve often said that this is the single-most valuable experience for students who want to get into the film and television industry that I’ve ever been associated with,” says Mary Blue, senior professor of practice and director of Tulane’s popular digital media production program.
The experience begins on Tulane’s campus in late May. In the first portion of the program, students learn about the Louisiana entertainment industry by going to a studio, a production company, a post-production house and a set.
They then travel to the heart of the entertainment business – Hollywood. There students spend a week meeting with studio heads, writers, producers, actors and agents. They tour film studios and production facilities. The program taps into the growing cadre of Tulane alumni in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. It provides students the chance to make connections with industry leaders who can launch the students’ careers.
“I keep the students busy learning about the film and television industry from 9 am-10 pm most of the days we’re there,” Blue remarks.
Last year, for example, the group was in the audience of a multi-camera sitcom remake of “One Day at a Time” and met Norman Lear, a well-known television producer and writer of such classics as “All in the Family” and “Sanford and Son.” They attended a taping of “The Voice” and “The Chelsea Handler Show” and also visited William Morris Endeavor talent agency.
Larry Sibley, Managing Director at Credit Suisse, directly experienced the positive impact the experience has on students. His son Ben was a participant last year. Realizing the value of the program, Sibley established a scholarship fund that will provide summer tuition for two students who share Ben's passion for the entertainment industry.
“I think students should have every opportunity to pursue their passion,” says Sibley. “For these two people, the only thing I would hope is they are passionate about this pursuit and if they are then I’m thrilled that I can in some small way help them achieve it.”
“I was absolutely thrilled about Mr. Sibley’s gift,” Blue said. “I’ve had several students tell me they wished they could go but they couldn’t afford it because there is no financial aid in the summer. I’ve wanted to be able to provide this great experience to them, and thanks to Mr. Sibley, I can.”