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TV insiders tell all at SCA class

Howard Rosenberg’s symposium offers everything students need to know for a career in Hollywood

by Cinematic Arts staff
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner
Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy discuss Mad Men at USC. (Photo/Carell Augustus)

For anyone interested in learning how the best television shows work — how they are conceived, produced, sold and even marketed — there are perhaps two options: 1: Get a full-time job on an award-winning show (that’s basically impossible if you’re still a student) or 2: Take Howard Rosenberg’s CTCS 467 Television Symposium at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA).

As the Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic for the Los Angeles Times for more than 25 years, Rosenberg gained valuable insight into the creation of great American television. Couple that with access to SCA alumni working in every aspect of the field and you get a course that examines the history, theory and business of television, and how the industry has evolved over the years. The class could easily be subtitled “everything you need to know to have a career in television.”

“The philosophy of 467 is to impart to students information about television that they wouldn’t get anywhere else,” Rosenberg said. “It’s insight from people who are intimately involved in the industry, and what’s always amazing to me is that the guests end up sharing things they never would have said to me as a journalist. There are so many alumni that have made it in the business and are so generous with their time — people that produce the shows. That’s what makes it very amazing.”

The stars shine on stage

The symposium features a lecture from Rosenberg followed by a Q&A in which guests discuss television projects that have been analyzed by the class.

Past guests include David Simon (The Wire), Alan Ball (True Blood), Shonda Rhimes MFA ’94 (Grey’s Anatomy), Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue), Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost), Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl), Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Matthew Weiner MFA ’90, Erin Levy ’05 and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), David Shore (House), Phil Rosenthal (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy).

“Given the privileged access that the USC School of Cinematic Arts has to top writers, producers and talent in the television industry, students are given intimate weekly access to many of the most powerful, creative and prolific individuals working in television,” said Alex Ago, director of programming at SCA. “In many cases the guests are also USC alumni. Anyone with an interest in quality television or who just happens to love TV should take this class.”

Schedule of Classes: https://classes.usc.edu/term-20141/course/ctcs-467

Class description: http://cinema.usc.edu/degrees/nonmajor/criticalstudies.cfm

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