Education Guide — Spring 2014
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Entertaining Education

TWO L.A. SCHOOLS OFFER CREATIVE OUTLET AND OPPORTUNITY

An entertainment education can be a gateway to a gratifying hobby, a part-time second income or even an exciting full-time career. We spoke to two Los Angeles schools famed for maximizing students’ creativity while offering flexible programs to suit the schedules of working adults.

THE SECOND CITY HOLLYWOOD

The Second City is a comedy institution first opened in Chicago in 1959, which now also operates Training Centers and theatres in Hollywood and Toronto. Its unique “Second City method” uses improvisation as a tool to create scripted comedy.

The list of successful Second City alumni – which includes Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Mike Myers – speaks for itself. As well as performers, Second City students have gone on to thrive as comedy writers, directors and producers.

“The Second City background of being able to get in a room with a group of people and work together as an ensemble – because everything at Second City is ensemblebased – is really a helpful skill and great tools to have to work in these other mediums,” said Marc Warzecha, Associate Artistic Director at The Second City Hollywood.The Second City offers a variety of performance arts programs for students at any level of experience.These normally consist of one 3½- hour class weekly for seven weeks.Classes range in size from 8 to 16 students, with a single teacher. But Second City learners spend as much type interacting with each other as they do receiving formal instruction.

“A lot of what you’re doing at Second City is physical; it’s active – the class is up and moving,” said Warzecha. “Playing improvisational games – kind of the stuff you see on [TV show] Whose Line is it Anyway?”

An average seven-week term at The Second City Hollywood costs around $370 (or $340 during early-bird registration).With mostly evening and weekend classes, its programs are geared towards actors and working adults.

The Second City is focused on keeping students connected to the real world of performing and working in show business, with instructors who are industry professionals themselves and performance components in all of its programs.

For the last half-hour of each Second City class, students perform for members of other classes - what the school calls “Lab”. There are also open-to-the-public shows at the Second City Studio Theatre, in which students can participate.

As well as preparing enrollees for a diverse range of entertainment industry careers, improvisational skills are also pertinent to everyday life, said Warzecha.

“They translate to almost any job; they translate to dealing with friends and family and co-workers,” he said. “Because the core skills of improvisation are about working together with other people; being able to function well in a group … [to] brainstorm together; embrace other peoples’ ideas and make the most of them.” Warzecha recalls an elementary school teacher who attended The Second City to gain more confidence in front of his class; a NASA rocket scientist who was exploring comedy in his spare time; and a bank vice president who, after taking Second City classes, eventually quit his job to become a full-time cast member at its theatre.Regardless of a student’s ambitions, The Second City’s social element only enhances its student experience.“The class not only becomes a group of classmates, but a group of friends,” said Warzecha. “I think that’s part of what keeps people coming back to it and enjoying it so much.” SecondCity.com

MUSICIANS INSTITUTE

Founded in 1977 and occupying an impressive campus in the heart of Hollywood, Musicians Institute is a college of contemporary music which boasts alumni including 2013 Latin Grammy Award winner Gaby Moreno; members of Red Hot Chili Peppers; and Grammy Award-winning producer John Shanks.

Musicians Institute (M.I.) offers multiple programs, including Bachelor of Music degrees and Associate of Arts (certificate and non-certificate) programs. As well as performance programs in bass, guitar, keyboard technology, vocals and drums, MI includes industry programs in audio engineering, guitar craft, the music business and a course called Independent Artist which provides the technical knowledge and marketing skills required to survive as a contemporary independent music-maker.

M. I. stands out from other music programs in having faculty who are working music industry professionals and providing state-of-the-art technology, said Jessica Sullivan, the school’s Director of Marketing.

“So you get real-world experience that you just don’t get from other places,” Sullivan explained. “And also … the technology you’re going to use in your classes and courses at M.I. is the same technology you’re going to use when you go out into the professional world, so the learning curve is smaller.”

Musicians Institute also offers an invaluable networking resource to its students and alumni, by keeping them informed of audition opportunities presented by the pro bands and managers who consistently contact the school seeking players to hire.

With programs such as Music Business being offered parttime and at night, working adults can pursue their dreams of an entertainment industry career at M.I. without neglecting their current job or family commitments.

“We also have short-term programs – five-week and tenweek – which are called Encore and Encore Express,” said Sullivan. “[These] are like a samples platter – you get to take a little bit of everything … You customize your own schedule, that includes private lessons with instructors, so you can really use that time to explore what you want to focus on.”

As well as training its students to make music, M.I. can teach them to actually make musical instruments in its Guitar Craft program (alumni from which have worked for majorname manufacturers including Gibson and Fender) and prepare them for multiple roles within the music industry – from artist representation to starting and running a record label or working in digital media – in its Music Business program.

“We’re not all going to be the next Bruno Mars,” said Sullivan.“But to work in an industry that you love and to keep playing and to be surrounded in the culture of music – I don’t know if that’s something that, you know, dentists feel!” Many

M.I. alumni go on to be successful music teachers themselves. For example, class of 2000 guitar graduate Kirk Nebel now owns the multi-location Hollywood Academy of Music.

Musicians Institute programs start below $8,000 (for the non-certificate Encore Program) and the college is committed to helping students with every available financial aid opportunity.

“Our motto is: ‘Don’t let financial barriers stop you’,” said Sullivan. “We will always work with you to get you to have your dream come true.”MI. Edu

JOB APP(LICATION)S

THESE APPS ARE AMMO IN TODAY’S JOB HUNT

written by Paul rogers

The search for a new job used to begin with a phone call; nowadays, it often begins with a phone app (ironically, an abbreviation of “application”). Today, one in three job searches is conducted on a mobile device.

We looked at some of the best boosts for your job hunt, right in the palm of your hand.

INDEED JOBS (Android & iOS, free) Metasearch engine Indeed.com overtook Monster.com in 2010 to become the most visited job site in the U.S., and early last year topped 100 million unique monthly visitors. Indeed’s Jobs app offers access to millions of vacancies searchable by job title, company and location (using your device’s GPS). Searches are simple and fast-loading, plus you can view jobs added since your previous search. You can also upload or import a resume; personalize a message for each application; see how many employers have viewed your resume; and apply for any job directly.

SIMPLYHIRED (Android & iOS, free) With over five million jobs listed, SimplyHired, like Indeed, is a prime place to start your job search. The SimplyHired app puts the prodigious power of its sister site’s advanced job search engine and jobmatching technology right onto your phone. Upload your resume to receive personalized job search results tailored to your experience and apply to jobs from anywhere. Users can now also keep a record of their job-search activity across all their devices and access recent searches, saved jobs and customized email alerts on-the-go.

MONSTER.COM (Android & iOS, free) Once almost synonymous with Internet job hunting, the million-plus job postings of employment website Monster.com can now be viewed, searched and applied for from your Android or iOS phone with the site’s sister job search apps. These allow access to a user’s Monster account (including resumes, cover letters, job applications etc.); can send email alerts when suitable new jobs become available; save job searches; and, using built-in GPS, search for vacancies in a given area. Cover letters can even be edited in the app itself.

THELADDERS (Android & iOS, free) Launched in 2003 as a service for $100k-plus job hunters, TheLadders expanded to reach all full-time, salaried professional positions in 2011. Having launched its native “Job Search by TheLadders” iPhone app last summer, TheLadders added an Android-specific app in January. In contrast to the keyword-search function that most job-search apps use, TheLadders delivers jobs in a streamlined, tailored experience by asking users three simple questions (existing TheLadders users need not re-enter this information) – meaning that you can receive relevant jobs without the bother of searching.

JOBRIO (Android, free) Supporting single queries across 13 of the most popular job search engines (LinkUp, Beyond, Careerjet, Monster, Dice, JobServe, GitHub, Careers 2.0, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, Indeed, NRD.gov and CareerBuilder) Jobrio aims to be one job-hunting Android app to rule them all. Essentially a fresh take on the popular HireADroid app (a legacy version of which is still available), Jobrio can sort results by relevance or date; rate jobs and make them viewable in one handy list; and offer new job notifications.

LINKEDIN (Android & iOS, free) LinkedIn (which is detailed elsewhere in this section) is a social networking site designed for the business community, rather than a dedicated job-search site. Likewise LinkedIn’s free app is all about professional connections – staying in touch with former colleagues who know and appreciate your workplace skills; making potential future employers aware of these; and keeping abreast of job opportunities on the horizon. Remember that, according to US Labor Department statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.

TWEETMYJOBS (Android & iOS, free) Declared “Best Mobile App” in About.com’s 2013 Job Search Readers’ Choice Awards, TweetMy- Jobs connects job seekers with hiring employers. By integrating their Twitter and Facebook profiles, users can receive finely-targeted job matches and select where (email, text or social media) and when (immediately, daily, weekly etc.) these are delivered. Burbank-based TweetMyJobs pushes Jobs into thousands of Twitter-based channels (segmented by type, industry and geography) and leverages augmented reality and GPS technologies to help users better-locate local opportunities.

JOBAWARE (iOS, free) Synced with the website of the same name, the JobAware app enables tailored searches of a huge selection of available jobs plus learning tools which could boost your chances of landing one.Jobs can be tracked by priority and, for users who’re willing to relocate for that perfect position, JobAware will locate top cities for an entered search term or company name. This iPhone and iPad-specific app’s learning tools include help with resume and cover letter writing; company research; interview prep; and even pay negotiation.

MOKRIYA CRAIGSLIST (Android & iOS, free) Though it lists everything from lost dogs to executive jobs, classified advertisements website Craigslist is yet to release an app. But officially-licensed Craigslist app Mokriya lets users peruse CL content – which includes job categories from “accouting+finance” to “writing / editing” – on the go. This easy-to-use, ad-free app offers comprehensive search filters, saved searches and GPS-based searching. At the time of writing, premium features (such as alerts and posting), which normally costs $0.99, are available free for a limited time.

PROVEN (Android & iOS, free) Proven offers location- and title-based searches of the latest SimplyHired and Beyond job listings (Craigslist integration was recently removed). Users can get notified when new jobs are available, then “favorite” a job listing, send it to a friend, view it on the web, or even apply for the position directly through the app. Job Search users can also import their resume and/or cover letter, or create and edit these within the app.

JOBCOMPASS (iOS, free) JobCompass locates and plots maps of jobs in relation to a given address or zip code, with userset search radii of 1 to 100 miles - handy not only for finding available positions close to home, but also to get an idea of the job market for your profession in your dream city or even country (millions of jobs in over 55 countries can be perused). Once you find a gig that takes your fancy, you can apply online or email it to yourself (or to a friend). Invaluable if you wish to avoid a long commute or have a pang to relocate.

LINKEDIN

LOVE IT OR LOSE IT?

WRITTEN BY PAuL ROGERS

LinkedIn, the ubiquitous social networking website for professionals, seems to polarize opinion.Users either swear by it, citing numerous LinkedIn-linked success stories, or are bemused by it, having had not so much as a whiff of a job or contract through the site even after years of use.

Yet LinkedIn must be doing something right: last year it reported 259 million acquired users; it is now available in 20 languages; and its net profit has been growing by a staggering average of 139 percent annually.

Maybe it’s all about how you “work” LinkedIn? Perhaps, like most social media, the more you put in, the more you’ll likely get out?

We spoke to four professionals, each an avid networker, to shed some light on why some LinkedIn users are winning, while others are whining.

On our panel were:

Michael Sherrill, a Partner in boutique consulting firm Concept32, Web Development Manager for leading automation design company Synopsys, Inc., and an “advanced regular user” of LinkedIn.

Abesi Manyando, owner of boutique public relations and branding firm Abesi PR, and a regular LinkedIn user.

Hussein Yahfoufi, VP of Technology at solar financing and fulfillment provider OneRoof Energy, who uses LinkedIn chiefly for “recruiting and communicating with potential candidates

Gaea Honeycutt, Chief Creative Officer of boutique consulting firm Brazen Maven(SM), who describes LinkedIn as one of her “favorite networks

Photo Credit: Raymond Henderson of Henderson Photo Group

LAW: Can you share any personal LinkedIn success stories?

HY: “I connected with a project manager after we worked on a quick project together. Six months later when I was looking for help at a different company, I was able to reach this person via LinkedIn and work together again. Without LinkedIn I would probably have not been able to find this person, contact them and bring them on that easily.”

AB: “I feel like LinkedIn was sent from heaven. I can’t imagine how much more difficult my work would be without a medium that allows me to cut through all the barriers and directly connect to journalists, editors, producers and other key professionals in my field and outside of PR and Media.”

LAW: What do you think are the secrets to getting the most and best out of LinkedIn?

MS: “First and foremost, have a complete profile. This includes testimonials (more personable than endorsements), a presentable and perhaps memorable profile photo, and well proofread and concise employment and education sections.”

GH: “Just as in face-to-face networking, it’s all about adding value - build the relationships first, share useful content, take advantage of tools such as endorsements to reconnect with contacts, and become a thought leader within a group. Start small and expand from there.”

LAW: Do you think certain professions are more apt to LinkedIn than others?

GH: “LinkedIn has evolved so much from when I began using it in 2005 and the network was dominated by the tech crowd. Today, all types of people are on LinkedIn from a broad range of professions.”

MS: “Clearly, technology professionals were the early-adopters, but I think that sales and marketing are close behind.”

LAW: Is LinkedIn useful for self-employed people?

HY: “Absolutely … there are several uses for LinkedIn other than just finding a new job. If you are looking for potential clients, partnerships, mentors etc., you can do so on LinkedIn.”

AM: “It’s very useful for entrepreneurs, people who are self employed and freelancers looking

LAW: What are your tips for building and populating a LinkedIn profile?

MS: “Start with the basic foundation elements – summary, education, experience, but think about how different types or users will react to what you present. Some roles/industries are better served by pushing boundaries than others – keep that in mind and in sync with your personal brand and presentation.”

AM: “List your accomplishments, your background and your strengths … Show people your work by publishing examples of what you have done, provide links, list awards. Request your former employers or colleagues to recommend you. “

LAW: What should a user never mention or do on LinkedIn?

HY: “Don’t talk about your latest weekend adventure, what you cooked for dinner last night or how hung over you are.

MS: “Keep marital and relationship details off of LinkedIn, unless you’re a relationship counselor recounting case studies. Personal information like birth-dates, etc., or anything unnecessarily dramatic (politics, religion) and not business-related is best left to your personal accounts elsewhere unless you know it will help you.”

LAW: Is it important to include a photo with your profile, and why?

GH: “Unless there’s a personal reason to hide, a picture is essential. Most LinkedIn users don’t accept invitations from people without photos. Take the time to invest in a headshot from a professional photographer. You won’t regret it.”

HY: “Use a professional picture; don’t use one of you holding up a drink, one of you obviously standing next to someone else that has been cropped out. Sunglasses are not a good idea either.”

LAW: What can we all do to improve our LinkedIn profiles and increase the response to these?

MS: “Look at keyword data related to your industry and re-build your summary around that.

Then gradually revise each section to align with your summary. Keep things concise, and leverage the in-built metrics Linkedin offers to review how you are trending over the course of a few weeks.”

HY: “Review and complete your profile, LinkedIn has great tips on doing that. Decide what you want out of LinkedIn and make sure your profile is targeted to fill that need. Add a profile picture, a quick summary, your experience and school. Manage and ask for recommendations and endorsements.”
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