Sunday (First Contact)
Hollywood Trek started off Sunday morning with Pho Brunch, a high-tech mixer with some of L.A.’s media elite. Intrepid Trekkers Matthias Mahr ’02 and Jeff Chochinov ’02 hobnobbed with the media moguls of tomorrow while slurping on some delicious lemon-grass soup.
Later that afternoon, the bulk of the Trekkers began to arrive from across the country. Check-in at the Grafton Hotel right on L.A.’s famous, and sometimes infamous, Sunset Strip. Next door to the hotel was the notoriously difficult-to-get-into Sky Bar which posed no obstacle to the hip-minded Marjorie Brenner ’02. Aman Kapadia ’02 noticed a car rental establishment down the street that catered to the celebrity crowd and contemplated renting a Ferrari convertible for the company visits. However, when it was pointed out that transportation would be provided, Kapadia decided to save his money.
After a kick-off meeting at the hotel led by Trek co-chair Mia Rondinella ’01, the Trekkers were off to the Atlantic for drinks and conversation with PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC) Media and Entertainment Group. At the Atlantic, Amy Reinhard ’02 amazingly recognized the bartender as being the brother of Cher’s former boyfriend (I kid you not!).
With a 7:30 am start, the 60 HBS Trekkers branched out and explored three different tracks: Movie, Television/Music and High-Tech/New Media. Companies visited included Disney, Fox Television (where someone spotted Seven of Nine coming out of her trailer), House of Blues, MGM, Miramax, uMogul and Launch.com. The first day of visits was filled with admonishments of “Hollywood plays by a different set of rules” and “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” The frank discussions on life in Hollywood helped to frame the numerous opportunities that existed in Tinseltown. The takeaway: There’s no business like show business.
Later that night . . . cocktails with HBS L.A. alumni at the Argyle Hotel.
Another day filled with company visits. Companies visited included: NBC, neurotrash.com, Paramount, MTV, LivePlanet, Warner Brothers and George Clooney’s Section 8 Studio, MCA and Z.com. In the evening, the House of Blues treated the rather exhausted Trekkers to a generous buffet of homestyle Southern cooking and the best of L.A.’s local music scene.
January 10 (The Final Encounter)
After two-days of visiting with the creatives in Hollywood, PWC wrapped up the Trek with a sobering panel discussion on the future of Entertainment and Media. PWC pointed out the challenges that were not emphasized during the company visits and helped to give the Trekkers a more balanced view of the industry.
Some second years continued their networking and job search by staying in the City of Angels, while all of the first years hopped on the six-hour flight back to Boston with thoughts of the challenges that lay ahead (Hey . . . pass the German Hyperinflation case!)