Principia’s "Hollywood Abroad"

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Photo courtesy of David Lovegren

Several times now, David Lovegren (US’73, C’77) has visited the College campus to talk with students about careers in the entertainment industry. And for five years running, he has sponsored a weeklong, spring break externship to introduce current College students and recent alums to the film business and to help them establish connections. This year, four current students and three recent graduates met Lovegren in Los Angeles for what has affectionately been nicknamed the “Hollywood Abroad.”

The group kept a constant schedule with morning, noontime, and afternoon meetings or activities each day. Thanks to Lovegren’s extensive contacts, the group enjoyed access to top entertainment professionals a regular spring break tourist would never have, and he even tailored the itinerary to match students’ interests.

Lovegren designed the “abroad” so that Principia graduates wouldn’t have to start from scratch the way he did. A graduate of the Upper School and College, where he majored in theatre, Lovegren took his degree straight to Los Angeles, hoping to work in the film industry. There was no handbook, no predetermined career path; he simply had to learn on his own. Much to his credit, Lovegren charted his course successfully. After working at Disney Studio and producing a number of animated feature films, he is now the animation consultant for ProSight Specialty Insurance, where he helps films stay on track and within budget, monitoring their progress and troubleshooting when problems arise. His current project, “The Little Prince,” will premiere in Cannes in May and open in theatres in October.

Building Relationships in the Industry

“I enjoy being with these students because they’re excited about the career possibilities in entertainment,” Lovegren says. “I encourage them to start today focusing on the steps they’ll take after they walk across the stage at graduation. And I emphasize that the character and integrity they bring to a job will get them in the door and enable them to build from there. Principia students who are motivated have a real opportunity to succeed in this field.”

All participants walked away from the externship with the phone number, e-mail, and address for everyone they met. “I urged them to stay in touch and build those relationships,” Lovegren remarks.

No surprise, those who act on Lovegren’s advice jumpstart their career. For example, a current senior quickly lined up two interviews by following up with people he’d met. “All the people we met were extremely helpful,” says junior Nick Boyd, a history major and music technology minor. “I was able to connect with people in the audio recording industry and have followed up about summer internship opportunities.”

“This is so important,” Lovegren says. “As alumni, we need to make ourselves available. We should be able to get jobs and internships for alumni and current students. Principians have a lot to offer Hollywood, and I’m happy to help make that happen.”