Two years after leading TV producer Aaron Kaplan launched First Jobs with the goal of helping recent USC Cinematic Arts graduates get their start in the entertainment industry, the program has provided more than 200 paid entry-level jobs to alumni within five years of their graduation. Over 20 of the USC graduates have been promoted by the company that hired them.
More than 300 SCA recent alumni from all seven divisions (production, writing, animation, games, cinema and media studies, media arts and practice, and producing) as well as graduates of the Business of Cinematic Arts Program, have registered in the program since its 2017 launch. While registration does not guarantee a hire, the program’s goal is to reach 100% placement of its participants (It is now at over 66% and climbing).
Kaplan, a graduate from USC’s Marshall School of Business, who as an agent at WMA taught at the School Of Cinematic Arts and helped it secure a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hatched the idea for First Jobs during a lunch with the school’s dean Elizabeth M. Daley. Kaplan, a member of the School’s Alumni Development Council, then reached out to SCA alumni, who in turn recruited others. Kaplan was joined in the initial launch of the program by Nahnatchka Khan, Josh Schwartz, the late John Singleton and Tim Story.
Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment has employed more than 30 USC alums to date. Other companies that have had repeat hires from the program include Gersh, Paradigm, CAA, UTA, All3Media, Scott & Co, AGBO Films, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Iwerks & Co. and Inkitt Publishing.
While launched by USC alums, First Jobs is open to any industry companies and over the last two years has expanded to include over 180 participating companies.
New companies who have joined the program since its inception are: WME, ICM, Abrams Artists, Anchor Entertainment, Endemol Shine, Hyde Park Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Good Story Entertainment, Scott Stone, Jennifer Todd/Pearl Street Films, Suzanne Todd, Joe Nussbaum, VOX inc., Funny or Die among other companies.
First Jobs is housed within the Industry Relations Office at the School of Cinematic Arts and overseen by Lisa Fox, Media Talent Development. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org