On Becoming a Mentor

By February 17, 2011 No Comments

Being recognized by your peers is humbling because responsibility comes attached.

Recently I was named 2010 Outstanding Instructor in Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts by the University of California, Los Angeles UCLA Extension Department of the Arts, acknowledged by Dean Cathy Sandeen and director of the Arts, Linda Venis.

The honor was received for instruction in the course “Marketing Entertainment, Strategies for the Global Marketplace,” which I have been teaching for 12 years. The course explores every facet of entertainment marketing, from branding strategies, distribution, advertising and public relations to market research, new media, promotion and licensing strategies.

The Department of the Arts is the largest University-related arts department in the country. It hires more than 1,000 artists and art professionals to teach 1,400 courses annually in five major academic divisions: Architecture and Interior Design; Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts; Landscape Architecture, Visual Arts; and the Writer’s Program.

The criteria upon which the instructors were selected for these awards are student evaluations, length of service in which excellence has been maintained, diversity of teaching portfolio, and contributions to their academic program.

Each fall I invite real world, industry experts into the classroom. They are shaman; keynote speakers.

That’s not a new idea. What is, is the power of their candor. It’s real life and real business meeting young minds.

Throughout the course we repeatedly hear overlapping themes about change, consumers, content, context, the collaborative creative process, marketing, messaging and branding…to name but a few.

In the end what we come to know is that we’re in an industry of total self invention and that success is realized by having a long history of brilliant adaptation to crisis. Both serve as lessons for life…because a good idea may come from anywhere.

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