Bovard Auditorium was packed Wednesday night with students interested in learning how to “make it big.”
Actor Rob Lowe and real estate mogul Tom Barrack came to USC to speak to students and faculty about “Making Movies, Making Deals and Making it Big,” hosted by the Marshall School of Business.
Lowe and Barrack, who is the chairman, CEO and founder of Colony Capital, a private equity real estate company in Los Angeles, have recently acquired Miramax Films, along with USC Trustee Ronald Tutor.
“I love the business as much today as I ever did,” Lowe said. “One of the things I love about Hollywood is that there is a grand tradition of people using the platform to transfer their focus into other areas.”
Lowe said he will not be forgoing his television shows and movies, but Miramax will be able to offer him another opportunity in the movie business.
Miramax has a film library of more than 700 movies, including Kill Bill, Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction.
“Where you go to bust in this business is thinking that to sweeten that film library you need one more movie,” Barrack said. “After 25 years of investment, the extraordinary returns are always the investments no one else wants to make.”
From his own experience, Barrack said he encourages students to leave their comfort zones.
“You have to be willing to take a big risk and you have to be willing to fail. I never knew where I was going and I still don’t know where I’m going,” Barrack said.
Lowe, on the other hand, said he has known since he was 8 years old that he wanted to be an actor.
“I knew what I wanted to do, but I never had a plan,” Lowe said. “There is no plan. All I know is that I said yes whenever anybody asked me to do something.”
Barrack, an alumnus of USC’s class of 1969, understands a student’s goal to graduate school and have an established name for themselves.
“Students say, ‘I want the best job and I want it to happen tomorrow, but that doesn’t happen,’” Barrack said. “You have to lay the foundation stones and practice the little things like listening and being on time.”
Lowe also cautioned students against comparing themselves and their accomplishments with others.
“Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides because you don’t know what that guy has going on in his life,” Lowe said. “I only know what I see on the outside.”
Along the same lines, Barrack impressed upon students to think outside the box.
“You have the clubs in your bag, all of those left-brain tools … What I’m here to tell you, the world of the next decade is not going to be run on that,” Barrack said. “It’s going to be run from your right brain — imagination, vision.”
Lowe said passion is a driving force to love what one does on a day-to-day basis.
“Follow your passion. The problem comes if you don’t know what your passion is,” Lowe said. “Find that and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Students asked questions following the discussion, and the evening ended with a singing performance from Orianthi.
Ryan Park, a junior majoring in public policy, planning and management, said he thought the event’s message was appropriate for students.
“What I enjoyed most about it is that they personify how to be yourself, be nice, be courteous and that whatever good deeds you do will help you in the future,” Park said.