Lights, Camera, L.A. Film Studies!

Olivet communication students take advantage of L.A. semester opportunity

Each year, Olivet Nazarene University students have the opportunity to study in Los Angeles, California, for a semester. After two years of the program being on hold, 12 Olivet students flew to the Hollywood Hills this spring for the return of the program.

While in Los Angeles, students have attended the Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC). With this partnership through Council for the Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) GlobalEd program, students are able to experience real-world scenarios, while also gaining knowledge from professionals within the film industry.

In the program, students learn through classwork and on-the-job training. Through professional projects and class discussion, students walk away with various credentials to add to their resume. Senior film major Kelli Neal, describes her experience in L.A.

“I will leave the semester having written a feature-length script and worked on several short films. I will also have a writing credit and a directing credit on two separate festival eligible short films, each with a production budget of $7000.”

Not only do students learn in the classroom, but they also work with industry professionals on the job. 

“I am working for a film producer who keeps offices on the Warner Brothers lot,” she said. “When I'm not reading potential movie scripts and putting together possible cast and director lists, I get to walk around the lot and see the sets where some of my favorite shows and movies were filmed. I've even seen a couple of celebrities.”

While helping students prepare for the experience, Dr. Heather McLaughlin, chair of the Communication Department expressed why this program is beneficial for students. 

“This program has allowed our students to see what the film industry is really like and jump right into the thick of it,” she said. “By living in Los Angeles and interning with studios and companies that are producing media, they are getting a taste of what a career in film and television would realistically be like.”

Kelli emphasizes that her Olivet professors were supportive through the process and she was continuously encouraged to follow her dreams.

“My professors were so encouraging; I always felt empowered to pursue my passions and work on my craft. Dr. McLaughlin in particular has been by my side to cheer me and the other ONU students on as we go through the LAFSC.”

By participating in this program, Kelli is equipped for her future within the industry.

“I think the LAFSC alumni network is strong, connected and supportive," Dr. McLaughlin emphasized. "Networking is especially important in this industry, so the LAFSC program provides an instant professional support network.”

As the semester comes to close, with the program ending on April 29, Kelli is excited for what’s to come within her professional journey. 

“It is everything I expected it to be and more. I am loving every second out here and this program has given me a much better idea of what I want to pursue within filmmaking and what my strengths are. I can really see a future for myself out here after graduation.”

For more information about film studies and other areas of studies in the Department of Communications, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

4/25/2022
MC