Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Establish Professional Outlets for Creatives


An “elevator career,” a term coined by my current screenwriting professor John Glavin, is a career in which success is achieved through a linear progression of promotions. Georgetown University students, many of whom are interested in finance, consulting and investment banking, are not only familiar with these careers but aspire to have them.

A career in the entertainment and media industry, on the other hand, is far less stringent. Most creatives are bound only to gut feelings, impulses and creative itches, which often propel them toward nonlinear career paths. Fueled by passion, creatives make a living from extemporaneous decisions that are often unpredictable and unstable, but that’s part of the contract for those of us who aspire to have careers in Hollywood. Logic and predictability are antithetical to a career in the creative field.

Between Bossier Magazine, The Georgetown Heckler and the WGTB Georgetown Radio, there is no deficit of outlets for creative expression on Georgetown’s campus. Although many of the creative clubs on campus maintain an elusive status and extremely competitive acceptance rates, such as the Georgetown Sketch Comedy Society or Georgetown Improv Association, many campus creatives will opt for a career in a more “stable” field where a trajectory is familiar and defined. 

I myself identify as a creative. I am in a perpetual state of “dabbling” in creative pursuits, trying my hand at journalism, script writing, graphic design, illustration and painting. Although I came to Georgetown with the intention to pursue an “elevator career” in consulting or law or government, I have utilized class registration as an opportunity to follow my creative spirit, joining “Intro to Watercolors” and “Intro to Script Writing.” I am now interested in pursuing screen writing or overlooking policy research for major film studios. As I continue to probe, I notice a lack of streamlined, tangible approaches to entering this industry without external connections or an aimless resume blast.

In order to truly celebrate the accomplishments of creative students, we must forge outlets for students to explore their creative impulses as more than passions or hobbies but as potentially lucrative careers. Although pursuing a career in a creative field should be considered equally legitimate to pursuing another pre-professional track, Georgetown’s career advising continues to amplify traditional routes like pre-med, law and business.

Whereas Georgetown continues to expand its resources and promote job and internship opportunities for students who intend to end up on Wall Street, students who aspire to make it to Hollywood lack the networking opportunities and professional development resources to do so with confidence. 

Georgetown’s only organization dedicated to networking in creative and media fields exists on the graduate level; Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance (GEMA) is an alumni association comprised of 2,000 members representing specialties not limited to film, television, theater, publishing, music, sports, journalism and public relations. GEMA strives to elevate Georgetown’s profile, generate name recognition and legitimacy in the entertainment and media community and strengthen relationships between the university and alumni in the industry by collaborating to develop programming for current students and alumni. GEMA’s past initiatives include launching the undergraduate Film and Media Studies Minor and maintaining a strong presence in the MBA and JD programs. 

As a member of the founding cohort of the undergraduate chapter of GEMA, which is still in the early stages of new club development, we aim to define the role that networking and professional development will play among Georgetown’s undergraduate creative community. As we see it, GEMA should provide students an opportunity to network and build community with other creatives, expanding their circle beyond those who identify within their specialties. Additionally, we hope to support students with an abundance of professional development opportunities and provide understanding of the logistics of a career trajectory within the entertainment and media industry. We also hope to maximize the expertise of GEMA members by establishing mentor relationships and strengthening organizational connections with alumni. 

The first GEMA event will take place Thursday, Dec. 2 as a Zoom webinar with the Founder and Chairman of GEMA Richard Battista, former chief executive officer of Imagine Entertainment, a high-profile content and production company, and former president and chief executive officer of Time Inc. 

With big-name alumni such as John Mulaney (COL ’04), Maria Shriver (COL ’77) and Savannah Guthrie (LAW ’02) as members of GEMA, establishing strong relationships between GEMA and the Georgetown undergraduate creative community will serve as encouragement for students to pursue unconventional paths, embracing their creative impulses and converting skills like humor or artistic ability into legitimate professions.

Ava Stepan is a sophomore in the College.

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    Barb MinarikDec 3, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Outstanding writing and a very important point of view. Challenging one’s creativity would allow interested students to move “outside the box” of traditionally held pre-law, pre-med, etc. careers. Though many fields in the arts may be hard to come by, persistence should be key to pursuing one’s creative passions.