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                Please note that for the Winter 2024 term, MItchell Scholar Sydney Sweeney is studying abroad in London, England. 


On Thursday, January 25, 2024, Mitchell Scholars (pictured above L to R) Lily Price, Daniela Castillo, and Juan Morales met with LSA Opportunity Hub’s Assistant Director of Coaching and Outreach, Kate Silbert for a specially curated coaching session about post-graduate life. During the session, Kate shared LSA Hub resources, helped the group set both short-term and long-term goals regarding their future job pursuits, and discussed how to reach out to hiring managers to discuss potential job opportunities.

“The meeting was incredibly helpful, and the joint session with Juan and Lily made me feel really supported. We left knowing a lot more about what resources we can use to secure a job by graduation, and we're holding each other accountable in our goals.”

                                                                                    Daniela Castillo


On Thursday, February 1, 2024, Mitchell Scholars (L to R) Johannes Pardi (Mitchell Scholar 21-22) Lauren Horne (Mitchell Scholar 22-23), Daniela Castillo, Juan Morales, and Lily Price gather with Senior Vice President of the Black List, Megan Halpern, in FTVM’s Donald Hall Collection. Joined by Director of Screenwriting, Professor Jim Burnstein (not pictured), Megan led a candid discussion about the emotional and financial difficulty of breaking into the industry as a writer; offered inspirational, personal stories about the benefits of working in a creative community; and gave sincerre advice about how to “stay the course” despite the challenges. 


"Having great material is the absolutely best thing you can do."

                                                                               -- Megan Halpern        


On Thursday, February 8, 2024, the current Mitchell Scholar cohort met with FTVM Professors Hsu and Valadez for an engaging, two-hour discussion about how to successfully navigate the industry outside of the Hollywood mainstream. Hsu and Valadez discussed how one might decide what to write/produce – and when – emphasizing that one’s vision needs to be “several years out” to meet the demands of streaming platforms; they gave advice regarding creating a balance between a “money” job and a career path - and suggested how to surpass roadblocks by continually evaluating the importance of one’s mission; and they gave specific networking tips when searching for a job and/or presenting one’s work: network over time, ask specific questions; and take the time to make a connection. 


"When you are thinking about creating work, look at what’s NOT there; absence is an opportunity.” -- Professor John Valadez 


On Friday, February 9, 2024, Mitchell Scholars Lily Price and Juan Morales met with FTVM Professor Melissa Phruksachart for a discussion on diverse representation when writing characters for the screen. Much of their discussion centered around the question, “How do we portray different kinds of people in our scripts with respect to those being portrayed?” Professor Phruksachart challenged Lily and Juan to think about the effects of colorblind casting; the difference between being color blind and color mute; and the idea that “we are all entangled in this world, so whose story is it?” At the end of the session Phruksachart encouraged the scholars to consider that "each of their characters, regardless of who it is, deserves a full life and a full history.” 


On Friday, March 15, 2024, Mitchell Scholars (L to R) Daniela Castillo, Lauren Horne, Juan Morales, Johannes Pardi, and Nora Pasche met with Television Director Mark Cendrowski. Joined by Professor Jim Burnstein, Mark led a thoughtful discussion on the continually changing state of the television industry and streaming and the potential impact of AI on the future of actors and writers. Mark closed the session by addressing questions, giving advice on how to construct a successful pitch, and sharing tips on how to view television and film with a critical eye. 

Pictured (from L to R, front) Juan Morales, Professor Burnstein, Lauren Horne (Mitchell Scholar 22-23), (at back, L to R) Lily Price, Sydney Sweeney, Daniela Castillo, Jim Patterson, and Johannes Pardi (Mitchell Scholar 21-22). Nora Pasche (Mitchell Scholar 22-23, not pictured) was also in attendance. 


Writer/Producer Jim Patterson (Two and a Half Men/Call Me Kat) conducted an open session with the FTVM Mitchell Scholars on Friday, September 15, 2023, wherein he opened the floor to questions about how to navigate a career in a writers' room. Interspersed with personal anecdotes and several doses of laughter, Patterson left the scholars with excellent advice on breaking into the industry - and on making oneself an invaluable asset.


On Thursday, October 5, 2023, (pictured above, L to R) Dean Curzan gathers with Mitchell Scholars Juan Morales, Sydney Sweeney, Lily Price, Daniela Castillo, and Associate Professor Colin Gunckel for a group photo after joining them for a special welcome lunch in the LSA building. During the event, the scholars conversed with Dean Curzan and Professor Gunckel about their classes, their lives in the world of screenwriting and production, and the current state of the industry. 


On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, (pictured above, L to R) Mitchell Scholars Lily Price, Daniela Castillo, Sydney Sweeney, Johannes Pardi, and Nora Pasche gather with Writer and Actor Matt Price (at center) in the FTVM conference room for an engaging conversation about what to expect during a pitch session, how to best receive and interpret notes, and the impact of AI on writers in the industry. Professor Jim Burnstein (not pictured) organized the event and was also in attendance. 


On Thursday, November 2, 2023, Writer/Producer Doug Miro (at center) met with the Mitchell Scholars to share his journey from growing up in Metro Detroit to becoming a Hollywood screenwriter and television writer/creator. He then engaged with the scholars about the individual paths in entertainment they were hoping to follow.


Lecturer and Screenwriter Cindy Davis met with the 2023-24 Mitchell Scholars on Friday, October 27, 2023, in the FTVM conference room. In an enthusiastic and heartfelt session filled with personal stories and experiences, Davis shared a plethora of screenwriting tips regarding how to navigate the business, the best way to build a portfolio, and how they might prepare for future pitch sessions. 


Hosted by Department Chair Johannes von Moltke (at right), our 2023 John H. Mitchell Visiting Professor, Scholar and Author Miranda Banks (second from left), met with the Mitchell Scholars on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, to discuss the various approaches to landing a career in the industry. Focusing on the importance of continual questioning and reflection, Banks assured the scholars that "there is no one path" to one's ultimate career and that "every job is important" in building a career portfolio. 


Immediately following their meeting with Professor Banks, the cohort gathered in the Rackham Amphitheater to participate in the John H. Mitchell Critical Conversations Symposium "Finding Your Way: Creative Careers in an Era of Streamers, Studios & AI."


Engaging in a conversation about career paths related to contemporary transformations in the entertainment industry with Professor Miranda Banks were Writer Robb Chavis; CMO of Fantom Foundation, Joseph Epstein; and Writer/Director/Producer Gail Lerner.


On Friday, November 17, 2023, (pictured above, L to R) Mitchell Scholars Lauren Freeman (22-23), Sydney Sweeney, Daniela Castillo, Juan Morales, and Lily Price gather with Writer and Producer Phonz Williams (at center) in the FTVM conference room for a playful pose after an engaging conversation about how to proceed in the industry. Phonz shared invaluable advice about forward thinking, the power of visualization, and how to "give as much as you ask" to those around you. Professor Jim Burnstein (not pictured) organized the event and was also in attendance.