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Alumni Event Recap: The Future of Entertainment in the Post-COVID Market
by Flor M. Cruz, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement

On November 17, the Alumni Engagement Office hosted five alumni who spoke on The Future of Entertainment in the Post-COVID Market. We had an impressive audience of 120 alumni spanning class years 1977-2020 and it was exciting to host an event where alumni, family, and friends could gather in one virtual space from across the country. 

The panel, moderated by Noah Pollack ’95, Media Consultant and Founder of MAP Media comprised of Michael Marshall ’83, President of Motion Picture Business Affairs for Sony Pictures, Cara Dellaverson ’96, Executive Vice President of Drama Programming for NBC Entertainment, Teddy Riley ’05, Co-Creator/Writer/Executive Producer of Fairfax and Larissa Bell ’05, Development Executive for Amazon Studios. They discussed how COVID-19 has impacted the entertainment industry, spanning everything from the distribution of content to the consumer experience and the creatives seeking to sell their works. 

Now more than ever, panelists noted that fresh ideas are the key to successful productions. Bell challenged young creators to consider “Who is telling the story you are pitching and how is it unique?” Dellaverson explained that the financial impacts in the industry appear to be a moving target, so the effects will be felt by both media giants as they seek to be more selective and by creators alike. 

Not everything, however, has been negative. Riley shared that working on an animated show has proven to be shockingly “COVID-proof.” While stay-at-home orders have curtailed meeting in-person, online conference calling has allowed for an expeditious collaboration between artists and facilitated the creative process in many respects. The one thing all panelists agree on is that the “hustle” and everyday work remains. Overcoming the long-term challenges of COVID-19 in the industry will require bright ideas and much cross-collaboration.

Alum attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions. Among them, how can young alumni break into the industry? And how does one seek out mentors? Some of the advice given from extraordinary panelists include: 

  • Trust your voice and have conviction in your work
  • Do your research before pitching your project to make sure your idea is unique
  • Seek out mentors
  • Reach out directly to your network

We’d like to thank Alum Executive Committee member Nikki Tabibian ‘13 for bringing us such an impressive webinar topic and we give our sincere gratitude to all five panelists for taking the time to share their insights with our alumni community! If you are interested in seeing more of these panels or have an idea of your own, please reach out to the Alumni Engagement Office at We can help make it happen! If you’d like to view a copy of this webinar recording, please visit this link


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