General Education

A DreamWorks VP Explains: How to Launch a Career in Entertainment

A DreamWorks VP Explains: How to Launch a Career in Entertainment
A career in the entertainment business will inevitably be a collaborative one. Image from Unsplash
Neal Pollack profile
Neal Pollack June 18, 2019

DreamWorks VP Greg Goldin's advice for students: Make a lot of art. Keep reading for a Q+A with this Ithaca College grad.

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As an executive at DreamWorks (yes, that DreamWorks), Gregg Goldin oversees a number of animated series, including “She-Ra" and the “Princesses of Power; Dragons: Race to the Edge," the upcoming “Fast & Furious", and a few more he can't yet talk about. He was previously an executive at Cartoon Network overseeing numerous movie events and TV series, and at MTV Films, a successful movie division that produced over 25 movies during his time there.

A career in the entertainment business, Gregg learned early on, will inevitably be a collaborative one. He’s candid when saying that no TV show or movie gets made by a single person.

By its nature, he says, college will open your eyes to a variety of experiences and perspectives, and you should pay attention to whoever and whatever you encounter. Because you never know who’s going to end up working alongside you in Hollywood, or what that project might entail.

Where did you go to college? I braved the cold and snow of Ithaca College in upstate New York.

Where else did you apply? I applied to Boston University. And yes, I got in. But Ithaca was my first choice.

Why did you decide on Ithaca? Ithaca had (and has) a fantastic film school. Plus, it was a small school in a small town. I found huge campuses to be intimidating.

How has your education helped you in your career (or not)?
Immensely. From studying obscure independent films to blockbusters, my education opened my eyes to different types of storytelling. I also minored in psychology, which has helped me navigate and collaborate with the many different types of personalities I’ve encountered along the way. And most importantly, the contacts I made out of my college internship (Ithaca has an internship program in Los Angeles) directly led to my first paid job in the industry.

When it comes to college, what would you have done differently? I would round out my education a little bit more. Knowing what I know now, it would have been helpful to take a few business and law classes. The entertainment industry is creative, but it’s still a profit-fueled business with deals and contracts.

What advice do you have for students who might want to go to your alma mater? Soak up all of the knowledge you can while your there. Use the tools there and the technology that’s available and create something. Make a lot of art. And don’t forget to balance it all out with a healthy dose of fun. And when you’re entering the workforce, reach out to alumni. Everyone needs a little help when starting out.

What advice do you have for college students who want a career like yours? If you’re going to get into the entertainment industry, you need to love it. Because it can be as hard and competitive as you think. But it’s not impossible to have a career in entertainment. It takes some skill, some perseverance, and some luck. Be open to opportunities, even if they don’t lead you directly to your goal. Sometimes you can gain unexpected skills that pay dividends down the line.

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