Aaron Sorkin ’83 funds immersion program for SU students to explore West Coast entertainment industry
Aaron Sorkin ’83 funds immersion program for SU students to explore West Coast entertainment industryMarch 08, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Syracuse University alumnus Aaron Sorkin ’83, best known as creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed hit television series “The West Wing,” has endowed a new learning opportunity designed for student actors and film directors in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).
Twelve students will explore the challenges and possibilities of a career in the West Coast entertainment industry during next week’s Spring Break as part of Sorkin Week in Los Angeles, March 11-18. The immersion experience will bring 10 students from VPA’s Department of Drama and two from the film program in the Department of Transmedia to L.A. to spend a week learning how to refine their craft. Sorkin is giving generously of his time to help ensure the maximum benefit for the participants.
“The students who come out to L.A. for the week will have a chance to give general auditions for agents and casting directors, meet with alumni in the industry, and spend time observing on film and television stages,” says Sorkin, who earned a B.F.A. degree at SU before heading to L.A. via New York City. “They will get at least some small sense of what is in store for them if they opt to come here and give this life a try after graduation.”
During the week, students will interact with and learn practical aspects of the West Coast entertainment industry from experienced professionals. Their weeklong stay will feature workshops and meetings with industry experts including professional actors, writers, talent agents, producers and commercial directors;acting workshops with Sorkin at Warner Brothers Studio; a live theatre performance at Geffen Theater with cast discussions after the play; a student film showcase at the Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood; voiceover and telecine sessions; and the chance to network with notable SU alumni in the greater L.A. area.
“Aaron Sorkin is giving our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn what it takes to succeed in the entertainment industry,” says VPA Dean Carole Brzozowski. “That so many of our West Coast alumni and friends joined in this effort shows how strongly the SU community wants our students to succeed and flourish as professional artists.”
The program is similar in scope to SU’s Tepper Semester, which offers undergraduates in acting, musical theater, design and stage management the opportunity to immerse themselves in a semester-long artistic training program in New York City, under the auspices of award-winning Broadway producer Arielle Tepper ’94 .
The weeklong program is coordinated by VPA, SU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Syracuse University Los Angeles, which maintains a multi-service satellite office offering a wide range of social and educational activities engaging alumni, friends, parents and future students.
Writer/producer Sorkin ’83 created “The West Wing” and wrote the show for its first four seasons. It has won more than 20 Emmys, a Golden Globe for Best Television Drama Series, two consecutive Peabody Awards for Broadcast and Cable Excellence, and two Humanitas Prizes and Television Critics Awards. In 2001, Sorkin was named Writer of the Year by the Caucus for TV Producers, Writers and Directors. He received the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding American Playwright for “A Few Good Men,” and his screen adaptation of the play was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes. He has received awards for the films “The American President,” “Malice” and the television series “Sports Night.” In 2001, he was a recipient of SU’s George Arents Pioneer Medal.
For more information on Sorkin Week, contact VPA Alumni Relations Coordinator Amy Patrick at (315) 952-1967or firstname.lastname@example.org.