Campus club nurtures Hollywood hopefuls

Penn students with a yen for the film business have created a club where they can meet each other, with an eye towards giving each other a boost when they get out to the Left Coast after graduation.

Hello, it’s the Hollywood Club, now in its second year on campus.

“I thought it was a shame that we had a lot of people going out there [to Hollywood], and didn’t know there were people from Penn who were already there,” said club founder Josh Rosenberg (C’01), who is applying to screenwriting graduate programs in Los Angeles for the fall.

More than 80 members later, the Hollywood Club has expanded its scope beyond simple networking. Club activities now include visits from Penn alums working in the entertainment industry, support for student film projects and assistance with internships.

Marc Brunswick (C’02) is spearheading the internship effort. He has sent letters to the human resources departments of studios and productions companies, asking them to make room for a Penn intern or two. “If we can just get one or two people out there who represent the Hollywood Club and U Penn well this summer, hopefully next year they’ll be willing to take even more people,” he said.

But the Hollywood Club’s concerns aren’t limited to Hollywood. The members make the club work for them here too. Film students frequently use the club’s e-mail list to solicit actors and crew for their class projects. Budding screenwriters find ready readers, supporters and critics in the screenwriters’ group.

And some members hope to produce a group film project this semester. Nothing is nailed down, but in keeping with the current trend of reality programming, the club is considering making a documentary on “what really happens during Spring Fling,” Brunswick said. But the Penn enterprising spirit may prove more an obstacle than a boon. “It’s a little hard to get it together, because a lot of people want to be directors, but you can’t have one project with eight directors.”

For all these activities, the Hollywood Club’s most important function may simply be encouraging students to follow their dreams. “The cool thing about the club is to show kids that even at Penn, there are kids who come here and don’t do banking, so they can tell their parents they want to go into [movies] and that there’s a pretty big community,” Rosenberg said.

Aspiring screenwriter Andrew Samson (C’01), for one, isn’t about to stop thinking about tomorrow. “[The club] will be most useful in three years, when we all get out there and run into people who we met through this. As long as you have this one thing in common, this one bond, you can form an important connection.”


Originally published on February 1, 2001