Vandy in Hollywood

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Vanderbilt-in-Hollywood is funded entirely through your tax deductible donations. You may donate via the link on this page, or you may simply indicate that your regular donations to Vanderbilt be directed to ViH. Your contributions create ViH resources for Vanderbilt students and further the students’ education through special events with VU alumni and other industry professionals. Just as importantly, many students struggle to pay the high costs associated with living in Los Angeles or New York for their summer internships, and ViH is committed to helping mitigate those costs.

Please donate today.


Dear Friends of Vandy-in-Hollywood:

I’m Paul Young, the director of the Film Studies Program at Vanderbilt.

As you know, Vanderbilt alums Chad Gervich and Rich Hull first collaborated with the Vanderbilt Career Center years ago to create a unique alumni network known as Vandy-in-Hollywood (ViH). Today, ViH connects Vanderbilt alumni who live and work in the media and entertainment  industries closer to each other and to their alma mater.

Now you, our current students, our graduates, and the Film Studies Program are reaping the benefits.

The Film Studies Program was founded in 2004 as a Vanderbilt degree program that teaches the criticism, history, and production of film and digital video within a broad-based liberal arts curriculum. Some of our students concentrate on film history and criticism, and take their writing and analytical skills with them to pursue careers in law, the traditional arts, medicine, finance, and higher education. However, a significant portion of our students strive to become entertainment professionals: producers, studio and network executives, writers, directors, agents and managers, entertainment attorneys, music executives, and well beyond. And here’s where Vandy-in-Hollywood comes in.

Each year, Rich, Chad and ViH coordinate both student and alumni events in Los Angeles and Nashville ranging from discussions with major filmmakers and professional workshops, to pre-release film screenings and meet-and-greet events.

But that’s far from all they do. In particular, each year, they put their backs and their phenomenal professional relationships into the work of arranging unpaid summer internships for our current undergraduate and Owen MBA students. They (and an all-important network of Vanderbilt alumni working in the entertainment industry) even personally interview the applicants, and in the process, teach our students to discover and articulate what they most want to do in the entertainment and media industries. Perhaps best of all, any student in any program or college at Vanderbilt is invited to apply.

This incredible program is known as the Vandy-in-Hollywood Summer Internship Program—call it ViH-SIP—and it is presently co-managed by Rich, Chad, and the Vandy-in-Hollywood Board in Los Angeles, as well as the Film Studies Program and the Vanderbilt Career Center here on the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville.

Judging from our overwhelming number of applications, and a jammed packed lecture hall of students at a campus organizational meeting in early December led by Rich, interest in ViH-SIP could not be at a higher pitch.

And the enthusiasm for it doesn’t end with our students. When I visit Rich and Chad in LA each summer and tour our students’ workplaces, again and again I hear the chorus from employers: Vanderbilt students are some of the best-trained, sharpest, and most creative interns they’ve ever engaged. I also get to meet with much-missed, graduated students who have scored paying jobs in the industry, either with the very companies for which they worked unpaid or because of connections they made during their summer internships.

All of this is good. Very good. Our students think analytically, they are perfectionists, they work like dogs to achieve what they want to achieve, and they don’t settle for what satisfies everybody else. If you know Chad, Rich or the members of the Vandy-in-Hollywood Board, and I hope you do, you know the level of potential our students possess. Thanks to ViH-SIP, they now have the ultimate delivery system, if you will, to realize that potential.

You must be wondering by now: Why is this guy writing this inspiring, but rather lengthy missive? Because we need your help.

Vandy-in-Hollywood is now funded exclusively by the Film Studies Program. That means we foot the bill for the great calendar of professional and social events that ViH offers in LA and Nashville (which, in particular, help spread the good word about ViH-SIP), and it means that we cover all the expenses for alumni and industry volunteers arranged by ViH to make appearances in Nashville a couple of times per year to meet collectively and one-on-one with our students, to counsel them personally regarding their ViH-SIP applications and their interests, and to get them ready to interview directly with potential employers.

To do these things takes funds that are difficult to come by in this recession—a recession that has already taken a harsh toll on the operating budgets of even the best universities. Film Studies is growing just as ViH and ViH-SIP are, enthusiastically and rapidly, but our budgets will not grow along with us for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of present donors, Film Studies has been able to sustain ViH’s and particularly ViH-SIP’s needs in collaboration with the Career Center. Whether we can successfully continue this growth over the next few years depends on our ability to keep creating opportunities for VU students to learn about and connect with the inner workings of Hollywood.

When you donate to Vanderbilt this year, we hope you’ll consider specifically indicating that it be used for ViH and ViH-SIP so that we can continue to nurture our students into ambassadors in the entertainment field around the world. If you don’t direct it to ViH, it won’t get to us.  And when you do donate, please drop me a line at (or call at 615-322-2327) and tell me how you want us to use your gift, and so I may thank you personally for helping to sustain and expand these important initiatives.

If I haven’t said it already, I’ve felt it throughout this note: Thank you for your interest, your goodwill, and your many services to Vanderbilt and its students. We couldn’t do such good work without you.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Young

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The Vandy-in-Hollywood program is great. The program is really a huge asset to both students and employers alike.

~ Michael Valeo, Valeo Entertainment

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