"Many Syracuse University students will spend next week's spring break on the beach.
But 12 drama and film students will spend it on a whirlwind tour of the Los Angeles entertainment industry courtesy of writer and producer Aaron Sorkin, SU plans to announce today. He graduated from SU in 1983 with a bachelor of fine arts degree."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," Sorkin said in a statement. "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."
Sorkin wrote "A Few Good Men" and "The American President" and created NBC's television series "The West Wing." He is paying about $50,000 for the week of activities, including the students' travel and some meals and hotel expenses, said Amy Patrick, alumni relations coordinator for SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The 10 drama majors had to apply for the spots and were selected by a committee of faculty members and alumni in Los Angeles. Two SU faculty members picked the two film majors based on the strength of their senior film project.
During the week the students will meet industry experts, such as professional actors, writers, talent agents, producers and commercial directors. They'll also have face time with Sorkin, who plans to host the students at his home for a barbecue, take them on a tour of the Warner Bros. studios and coach them in acting workshops.
SU officials have also organized alumni activities in the Los Angeles area next week in which the students will participate.
"They really are getting some good exposure, which is how they are going to make it," Patrick said.
SU junior Matt Britten, a 21-year-old acting major, plans to make as many contacts as possible during "Sorkin Week."
"I hope that my envelope of head shots and resumes will be empty," Britten said. "It'd be nice if I came away with a lead on a future possible job, whether it was an acting job or an internship for the summer.""