Pitt alumni reflect on finding success in arts and entertainment industry

When Ariana Starkman was an undergrad at Pitt, she couldn’t find a significant that encompassed all of her passions, so she invented her individual, termed theater and social modify. The self-composed big encompassed courses in dancing, performing, political science and record. It also provided two semesters of review overseas at undertaking arts educational institutions in Arezzo, Italy, and Moscow, Russia.

“It was a large important, but 1 that I finished up placing together myself,” Starkman explained. “I did a bunch of theater via Pitt Stages and that was usually genuinely excellent. Pittsburgh — it is a seriously potent theater neighborhood, everybody sort of is aware of what is occurring around town.”

Starkman, a Cleveland native and 2020 Pitt graduate, assumed a lot of roles in remote and in-particular person Pitt Levels productions, such as “She Kills Monsters,” “Suitable” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.” She now life in London in which she is auditioning for a variety of productions and using performing courses. She is also a member of the Alliance for Jewish Theatre, a nonprofit organization devoted to spotlighting Jewish theater all over the world.

Starkman stated she experienced plenty of expertise traveling as a youngster, so she usually knew she would want to reside overseas right after graduating from Pitt.

“I actually lived abroad when I was five, 7 and 14, so I always knew that vacation was tremendous significant to me, aspect of my values — finding to know other cultures and viewing the earth,” Starkman mentioned. “But I’m also this kind of a homebody, so I know I’ll be back.”

Mainly because of the ticket bargains many theaters offer for younger men and women, London is the suitable metropolis to dwell as a theater-lover, Starkman added.

“I appreciate London. I ordinarily stroll to a coffee shop every working day, get the job done there, then go to an performing course or audition,” Starkman mentioned. “Theater is really low-cost for folks underneath 31. So I’ve been in this article about a year and a 50 percent and I’ve been to close to 120 performances. These are under 10 pounds. It is genuinely obtainable below.”

Starkman stated her expertise at Pitt taught her to go exterior of her convenience zone and act as a pioneer for her personal finding out and progress. She mentioned a person of the most effective items she did as a college student was generally adhering to new paths and curiosities.

“I was a serious advocate for my possess discovering and my education and learning at Pitt. It ready me to arrive at out to men and women, to know what I want, to keep in connection with folks,” Starkman said. “Just producing someplace that just feels massive — Pitt is a very major college — to make it appear to be compact, come across a community, hold on to folks that you treatment about and can learn from.”

It is vital for pupils to maintain the connections they make all through undergrad in get to uncover results in the enjoyment field. This is a sentiment Cameron Krause, a 2012 Pitt graduate, shares with Starkman. He at this time acts as manufacturing manager of animation on “Dora” at Nickelodeon’s headquarters in New York City.

As a Pitt university student, Krause was a movie scientific studies and U.S. history main. When he graduated, he pursued a occupation in talent management at Latchkey Recordings in Tarrytown, New York. Right after assuming many various roles in the field, he claimed he sought to do something far more innovative.

Krause mentioned in buy to prosper in the business, he suggests training overall flexibility if students really don’t get their dream job suitable away.

“Give it till you’re 30. I went by means of intervals of my lifestyle where by I was bartending following acquiring experienced the position or waiting to get the job. It is pretty competitive and it takes a although, but if you want it plenty of, you really do not truly feel like it’s accomplished,” Krause explained. 

Right after functioning as a manufacturing coordinator at Passion Images, Krause labored as a freelance creative expert and producer. He afterwards landed a job as a production supervisor at Titmouse, the cartoon corporation behind the cable channel “grownup swim.” He oversaw generation teams on Disney Junior’s “T.O.T.S” and “Pupstruction.” He later on grew to become the creation manager of Nickelodeon’s Paramount+ reboot of “Dora” in 2022.

Krause explained his existing place has many sides, both managerial and imaginative.

“The day-to-working day is actually overseeing the generation workforce and the full production itself. And variety of it all boils down to the timetable and the funds,” Krause reported. “In this market, it does not make any difference what your position is, people today pay attention to your view. So you get to seriously truly feel like you are a portion of the clearly show and producing the glance of the show, which is quite great.”

Krause reported though he had a lengthy journey to get the place he is now, he hopes to middle on underrepresented people in the foreseeable future, as he is undertaking with “Dora.”

“Getting to do what I’m accomplishing on ‘Dora’ was a actually large offer for me. I know the value it holds for young kids that appear from underrepresented backgrounds,” Krause mentioned. “That, to me, is something I genuinely, definitely preferred to target on — a thing that impacts the entire world in a good way for persons who have fewer prospect than I have.”

Alex Kennell, a 2018 Pitt grad, explained she had aspirations to become an writer when she started out her undergraduate profession. She majored in English literature and fiction crafting and turned the lifestyle editor of The Pitt News when she was a junior. She now resides in the Washington DC-Baltimore place, where she is a story producer at Johnny & Iz LLC. The corporation generates content material for YouTuber and online video journalist Johnny Harris, who posts informational movies on a assortment of subjects. The channel at this time has 3.4 million subscribers.

“I preferred to create, and I just went to faculty since that’s what you’re supposed to do. And as I was there, I observed that I desired to do some thing in journalism, but I also understood that I loved flicks, and I felt like I had to choose 1,” Kennell said. “I did not know that this was an choice mainly because this isn’t a occupation that existed a pair yrs back.”

Kennell explained while manufacturing explainer movies isn’t what she imagined herself doing for a residing when she was a college student, she loves her work. Her profession makes it possible for her to take a look at entertaining matters that she did not previously know existed.

“Whatever Johnny, the YouTuber, finds interesting, he’ll just toss my way. Ideal now I’m at present performing on a video about North Korean cinema and how obsessed Kim Jong Il was with cinema. So very random,” Kennell stated. “Kim Jong Il abducted a South Korean director to make a monster film and I imagine that is absurd. We check out to do a lot more journalistic-type points, but it is also entertainment.”

Kennell mentioned simply because of recent breakthroughs in technology, she can incorporate her passions for journalism, education and learning and leisure into one vocation.

“I also have generally preferred to do education and be an English teacher or a thing. But I’m not excellent at community talking,” Kennell explained. “My position is fifty percent producing and investigating, 50 percent art direction. I get to occur up with the colour palettes and the fonts we use and points like that. And so everything is in one position. This is my aspiration occupation, I’m in this article already.”

Kennell extra that students who want work in arts and enjoyment really should acquire as many opportunities as achievable after they graduate. As an individual who originally meant to turn into an author right after graduating, she reported she is pleased with her ventures into a new experienced sphere.

“If options appear about, and you’re not open-minded to them, you will miss anything that you might like, even improved than what you initially went out to do,” Kennell said. “This is a complete other entire world I didn’t know existed.”