Photo credit:  Jake Ross, Quixote Studios

“YBA gives us more experience with the industry, so we get more insight into how to create a movie or write a script. We can look up the basics online, but we need to be taught the details by industry professionals,” shared Babak Rownaghi, a Roybal High School Film & Television Magnet 10th grader. Babak was one of 17 students that attended an in-person field trip to Quixote, one of Los Angeles’ premier media production studios. Quixote’s Wendy Ramirez, Bailey LaFlam and YBA collaborated to plan a day of demonstrations and presentations to educate and inspire the students as they think ahead to their professional journey.

  • Mikel Elliott, CEO and Co-Founder of Quixote Studios, kicked off the day with a tour of Quixote’s sprawling North Valley Film Studio Campus.  He shared his upbringing as the son of a union grip which led to his interest in a career in the entertainment business.  Mikel’s entrepreneurial spirit ultimately led to a significant leadership role in the film business. Mikel shared, “The best entry point for breaking into the production business is either a Stage Manager or a Production Assistant. Both positions offer lots of opportunities to make important connections. I wish I had these insights when I was your age about how to get into the film business.” 

Photo credit:  Jake Ross, Quixote Studios

Other presenters during the half-day field trip included:

  • Steve Gainer, Cinematographer, Director, and Producer who shared his career story and gave a tutorial on how to shoot two and three person conversations.
  • Olivia Elvestad, Quixote Rental Agent, who talked about the required work ethic to enter the field at a young age and the attention to detail and safety needed to be a valuable part of the production team.
  • Shaun Garcia, Quixote Stage Manager, who talked about working with the teams filming at the studio space to ensure a successful production.

All of the presentations impressed the Roybal students. “Steve Gainer’s rise in the business from sweeping and mopping a film producer’s house to becoming a Cinematographer on huge films really inspired me. It made me think, ‘that could be me’,” shared Roybal High School 10th grader Anibal Mendes.

The Roybal High School Film & Television Magnet came on board with YBA in January 2022, making it one of YBA’s most recent additions to its school roster. Gregory Smith, Roybal’s Film & Television teacher, has already seen the benefits YBA brings to his class. “We challenged YBA to help us deliver insights and connections into the entertainment industry and they absolutely have. YBA is truly open to anything, and that’s something that’s deeply appreciated.”

“These field trips give students exposure to each company, showing that they’re accessible and that it’s possible for them to pursue a career in film and television production themselves,” shared Betsy Blanchard, YBA’s Executive Director.

The field trip concluded with students taking photos with presenters and reflecting upon what was shared. Most notable was a bit of advice from Steve Gainer. He said, “Networking is crucial. Every job I get is because I know someone on the production team. The odds are that someone in this class will make it in the entertainment business – so stay friends!”

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