SDA launches new Career Center

Students listen to Danny Strong speak at Spotlight@SDA

Dramatic Arts students listen to advice about the entertainment industry. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

The USC School of Dramatic Arts to offer management-style services for graduating actors with launch of an innovative new Career Center. Enhanced opportunities and resources for the School’s graduating playwrights, designers, technical directors and stage managers will also be housed in the center.

“One of our core responsibilities is to train our students in preparation for productive, fulfilling lives beyond the university,” said USC Provost Michael Quick. “SDA’s initiative will help our actors, writers, and designers start out quickly on promising careers in fields that can sometimes be unstable. We owe our students as much support as possible and we are committed to seeing them through graduation and into their chosen fields.”

The new management-style services for actors will be available for School of Dramatic Arts graduates for one year upon completion of their degree.

“The first year following graduation can often be a challenging one for artists as they transition from the embrace of a conservatory environment into the professional sphere,” says David Bridel, dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts and holder of the Braverman Family Dean’s Chair. “This new Career Center will help ease that progression and will offer a more holistic, developmental approach to career building.”

The Career Center represents a natural evolution in dramatic arts training at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. While maintaining the rigorous foundational training that has been a hallmark of the School for over 70 years, the faculty and administration, led by Dean Bridel, have begun to reimagine and redefine what it means to train dramatic artists in the 21st Century. This flexible and contemporary approach responds to today’s rapidly changing media climate, and provides the versatile and cutting-edge skills essential to the contemporary actor, writer, stage manager and designer.

The programming offered by the Career Center will be an integration and enrichment of the already strong professional development opportunities the School provides students to help them establish and sustain successful careers as creators, performers and cultural innovators. Continuing services will include career counseling, workshops, visiting artists, information sessions, the School’s robust Career Month offerings and its thriving internship program. New services will include job postings and referrals, submissions and follow up on appropriate projects for actors that do not have other representation, mentorship opportunities, coaching services for auditions and production of self-tapes, consultation on demo reels and websites, guidance and support in choosing headshot photographers and resume advice and counsel.

“The Center will be a crucial bridge between being a student and being an active member of the acting and film community,” said Denise Chamian, noted casting director and member of the School’s Board of Councilors. “It will give students and alums important information and tools to help start their careers. It will be exactly what they need to be prepared for the rigors ahead.”

The Career Center at the USC School of Dramatic Arts was made possible thanks to seed funding from the Office of the Provost.