A Story to be Told

Everyone has a story to tell, an experience to share, and a wealth of opportunities to explore. This past week gave twelve lucky Villanova students, two teaching assistants, and four professors the unique opportunity to learn and experience the various facets of the entertainment industry. A behind the scenes look at this industry allowed our cohort to gain greater insight into the beginning, middle, and end of this industry’s story. From the business to creative sides, we absorbed all the stories and information that came our way.

On the final day of our trip, we met with two Villanova alums, Craig Shenkler and Kevin Kramer, both of whom graduated with a BSA from Villanova University in 1993.  Craig Shenkler holds the position of Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Steven Bochco Productions, where he works on both the creative and business side of production. Kevin Kramer works on the financial side of Steven Bochco Productions. Steven Bochco, owner and creator of Steven Bochco Productions, is known for many successful programs, including NYPD Blue, one of the longest running television series. Mr. Bochco is often referred to as “the father of television” and has been awarded ten Emmys. In fact, each member of our cohort was lucky enough to receive the pilot script of NYPD Blue, signed by Steven Bochco himself.

We also had the pleasure of listening to Eric Lodal, showrunner for Steven Bochco Productions’ television series Murder in the First. He detailed his journey and the road that led him to where he is today. Mr. Lodal reminded all of us that writing is a privilege, that it can be very demanding and tiring at times, but that it is also an incredibly invigorating process. He mentioned that scripts are what employ everyone in this business. There are no jobs without scripts; they become the blueprint, the very detailed mission statement, and the purpose fueling production. Eric Lodal also added how amazing it is to see the words in a script come to life on a set. We got to see just what he was talking about when Mr. Shenkler and Mr. Kramer walked us through the Fox Studios lot. We toured various television sets, costume and prop rooms, and even sets that were in the process of being built.

We concluded our trip back at NBC Universal Studios, where a scene from the show State of Affairs was being taped. Watching this filming was a great ending to our story, for it allowed us to put all the pieces of information we had learned about the entertainment industry, together. We saw the collaboration between the actors, writers, director, producers, etc. It enabled us to understand fully all that goes into creating the finished product.