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By Brooke Bayer and Joseph Foote

Leaving what was becoming a typical January-in-Wisconsin-blizzard-wasteland, 14 of us boarded a plane for sunny Southern California.

The Los Angeles Connection enrichment tour was a unique opportunity for all of us. A lot of the students had never been to Los Angeles and had no idea what to expect. What we knew about LA and the industry is what we had learned in the classroom and through the Radio TV Film department.

We speak for everyone when we say that Los Angeles exceeded our expectations, and seeing the industry first-hand blew our minds. All of this would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of UW Oshkosh Associate Professor Justine Stokes, the RTF department and the collaboration of the most down-to-earth alums. Getting the chance to visit Los Angeles was an opportunity to see many of the gears and wheels of the industry that, up until now, have only been classroom lecture topics.

Meeting and connecting with UW Oshkosh alums was one of the most important aspects of the trip, aside from hiking to the Hollywood sign, of course. With the help of the alums, we were able to see various show tapings, tour production companies of all sizes, hear the true reality of moving to Los Angeles, and how to work your way up the industry totem pole. The experience not only connected us with an incredible network of alumni, but it also helped many of us put our career goals into perspective. Our group was composed of a diverse group of students at different stages in their education with interests in a number of different fields within the industry: from marketing and the business side of production, to scriptwriting and post production.

The Los Angeles Connection opportunity had something to offer everyone in terms of learning about prospective careers.

It truly was an incredible experience to meet some of the most helpful and down-to-earth people who offered great tips and advice to help new graduates make the move to LA.

If we were not busy visiting with production companies and alumni or not on a studio tour, we were busy exploring the culture of Los Angeles. From getting sick riding with crazy Uber drivers, and possibly on the Harry Potter ride at Universal, to getting conned into holding a live snake at Hollywood & Highland Center, there was never a dull moment on the itinerary.

After the trip we had time to reflect and really think about what had just happened. We have come to the conclusion that after what we learned, experienced, and heard from the alumni and industry professionals, we think we could actually “make it” in the industry, one step at a time.

We did not have much interest in moving to LA before the trip, but after speaking with the incredible alums and meeting with successful industry folk, our perceptions changed.

The transition to LA seems like something everyone can do if they work hard, keep a positive attitude, and keep in touch with their connections. Los Angeles is an amazing place full of amazing people and opportunities. This visit reconfirmed why we became RTF Gamers.

We would like to personally thank the alums for taking time out of their schedules to meet with us over the course of the two-week trip:

  • Ralph Berge ‘88
  • Brittney Berna ‘11
  • Paige Bonanno ‘15
  • Kerry Shaw Brown
  • Kristofor Brown ‘88
  • Mike Buck ‘08
  • Brad Carr ‘01
  • Deb Carr ‘00
  • Joe Chitel ‘12
  • Liz D’Alessio ‘13
  • Lisa Donner ’16
  • Adam Haas
  • Lee Haugen ‘04
  • Tosha Herrman ‘09
  • Jenny Hoks ‘13
  • Andrea Kalteux ‘07
  • Luke Kalteux ‘06
  • Brenda Lau ‘83
  • James Lieske ‘12
  • Dana Mark ‘12
  • Sam Mark ‘09
  • Michael Patrick McGill ‘95
  • Callie Mills ‘12
  • Matt Muchka ‘04
  • Tom Pistohl ‘06
  • Jason Scherbert ’02
  • Liz Semenas ‘14
  • Josh Seward ‘09
  • Nic Thorson ‘08
  • Erin Wehrenberg
  • Kevin Wehrenberg ‘93