SCA and Entertainment Partners to expand partnership

EP will have scholarships, host webinars, and contribute new resources. 

Brenda Goodman, a professor of cinematic arts, said Entertainment Partners is working on bringing in panels and webinars focused on software and moviemaking that would be rolled out in the next few months. (Alia Yee Noll / Daily Trojan)

In a new step of a longstanding partnership, Entertainment Partners will now provide the School of Cinematic Arts with scholarships, training programs and research opportunities, EP wrote.

Before SCA’s relationship with EP began in 2007, students went to Leavey Library to access EP’s software, which gave them a chance to learn and experience industry-standard tools, cinematic arts professor Brenda Goodman said. As the Cinematic Arts Complex was being built, EP gave money to build the Entertainment Partners production management lab, which allowed access to the software for the first time, Goodman said. EP also provides limited remote licenses so students can use the software from home. 

“Students were trying to find alternatives,” Goodman said. “None of them were as robust or worked as well. It’s also not what the industry uses, and we try to provide that opportunity for the students.”

Having access to EP’s software has been very useful, said Duc Anh Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in film production.

“It makes it a whole lot easier for film production students to be able to have this program ready to go and have it included as part of our studies,” Nguyen said. 

Nguyen, who just finished a thesis film, said he relied on Movie Magic Scheduling and Movie Magic Budgeting, both EP programs, throughout his filmmaking process.

“When you’re working as a student production with a tight budget, you do not have a lot of time and space or the money to be able to shoot as many times as you want,” Nguyen said. “You have to be tight and condense, and the ability of Movie Magic Scheduling is its ability to make life easier for you.”

Having access to Movie Magic Scheduling, an industry-standard program, was tremendously helpful, said Max Pearce, a 2022 graduate of the master’s film production program.

“Budgeting you can do in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, but with the Movie Magic Budgeting software, it’s all pre-built in,” Pearce said. “You just choose a template, and you can modify it and customize it as much as you want. It takes a lot of the leg work out.”

Pearce said he’s had to use Google Sheets since he graduated, as he can’t justify the cost of getting Movie Magic software on a subscription-based service, he said. 

“If you’re working as a freelance producer … you’re first starting out, and you don’t know what your workload is going to be, it can be a very hard time to figure out when’s the right time to kind of pull the trigger on getting that subscription because it’s not cheap,” Pearce said. 

There could be some improvements to SCA’s partnership with EP, Nguyen said, particularly in the programs’ accessibility. Having access to the Entertainment Partners production management lab isn’t always enough, and the 24 remote computer stations don’t do the trick either, he said. 

“I run into the situation a lot where it’s cram time … [and] everybody’s just trying to get in and use these computers, and sometimes there’s class going on,” Nguyen said. “Oftentimes, we do have one or two people that are not in the class that we allow them to stay because we know that this is the only room that has scheduling access.”

EP and SCA are working on bringing in tutorials in the form of panels and webinars that would be rolled out in the next few months, Goodman said. The sessions will focus on software and the process of making movies in the real world, such as a lesson on financing a movie and tax incentives, she said.

“Having webinars directly from the creator of the program like EP and being able to have conversation with them actually might be very beneficial for both instructors, the student assistant[s] like me, and even the students themselves on how we can best teach these programs,” Nyguen said.

If EP held seminars on doing production company taxes, that would be the most helpful thing he can envision, Pearce said.

“The one thing that nobody talked about when I was at SC, regardless of any of the producing classes or production classes, [was that] nobody talked about taxes,” Pearce said.

SCA’s relationship with EP allows students to enter the world prepared with an understanding of the tools, which is a huge benefit, Goodman said.

“I would just like to add how grateful we are when someone out in the industry is willing to help us out and the students,” Goodman said. “It’s a win-win for us, for sure.”

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