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Founded in 2018 by Co-Directors Dr. Alisa Perren and Dr. Wenhong Chen, the Center for Entertainment & Media Industries (CEMI) was created to serve as the nexus point between industry and academy in the Moody College of Communication. CEMI actively fosters strong and symbiotic connections between the University, the Austin community, the UT student body, and industry leaders in media and technology. Through CEMI, students meet with and learn from industry leaders via speaker series; expand their on-the-job training via internships with distinguished corporate partners; liaise with innovative entertainment and media companies; and hear from top researchers on the latest developments in the global media industries. CEMI bridges college-to-career by placing students at the forefront of ever-evolving industries and offering the connections, experiences, and literacies that will further elevate their job preparedness and diversify their skill sets.

Speakers

In conjunction with the Department of Radio-Television-Film, our Global Media Industries Speaker Series (GMISS) and Media Industry Conversations (MIC) speaker series welcome both researchers and professionals from the media, entertainment, and technology industries. Visiting speakers are invited to participate in our initiatives, give talks, answer attendees’ questions, and meet with students. Organized by Dr. Wenhong Chen, GMISS attracts top media and technology researchers from around the world to discuss the latest developments in the global media industries. Since fall 2017, GMISS has celebrated the work of 20+ world-class researchers. We are looking toward expanding our reach through developing a researcher-in-residence program. 

Dr. Alisa Perren and Associate Professor Cynthia McCreery also provide students the chance to engage with a wide range of industry professionals and to learn about the rapidly changing media landscape through their MIC speaker series. Since its inception in fall 2015, MIC has hosted 75+ speaker sessions with over 80 professionals from Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and everywhere in between. These speakers have shared their knowledge, insights, and experiences with countless students, enhancing their understanding of and interest in a broader range of career paths and companies. Through these two speaker series, students have also made pivotal industry connections that have led to mentorship, internship, and job opportunities. 

The work of CEMI will allow us to further build on the success of these existing programs and create new opportunities for our students. Through these initiatives, we are able to introduce UT students to new researchers, professionals, and industries each year, and vice versa. Given the importance of these connections, we are also broadening our reach beyond UT, making these invaluable resources available through our podcast and an upcoming textbook.

Students

In addition to MIC and GMISS, we expand students’ understanding of how the media and technology industries operate through our popular Media and Entertainment Industries minor. The fastest growing minor in the Moody College of Communication—serving 150+ students and counting—we offer deep-dive courses on specific industries and technologies as well as survey courses that showcase the breadth and diversity of work and workers in the media industries. 

After developing a comprehensive and current foundation through these courses, students can put their industrial knowledge into practice through our internship program. The first of its kind in the Austin area, CEMI’s Texas-focused internship program serves 50+ students each year and strengthens the Austin media and technology scene. In addition to advising students throughout their internship and instructing them on portfolios and professionalism, the CEMI internship program builds relationships with and introduces students to Austin-based media companies. 

Between our speaker series, minor courses, and internship opportunities, CEMI provides UT students with all of the tools they need to enter the industry when they graduate—a truth evidenced by our graduates now returning to give their own GMISS and MIC presentations!

Projects

Work-in-Progress Textbook: Drawing from and expanding on interviews conducted through the Media Industry Conversation (MIC) speaker series, Work-In-Progress sheds light on the rapidly evolving nature of work in Hollywood, Texas, New York, and beyond. Quotes from a variety of creatives and executives—including producers, development executives, talent agents, distribution executives, brand managers, festival organizers, and much more—are synthesized, analyzed, and contextualized in order to provide a snapshot of how people at varied ranks and from diverse industry sectors navigate a rapidly transforming industry. Among the topics explored in the book include how and why people have followed distinct career trajectories, the ways that professional identities and work roles have changed in an age of digitization, conglomeration, and globalization, and how larger technological, cultural, economic, and industrial forces are impacting both business considerations and creative practices. Under contract with Routledge, Work-In-Progress is designed to complement existing media textbooks with in-depth interviews and guided analysis, walking students through the process and practice of unpacking industry discourse. This book mobilizes our resources for use by faculty, students, and industry personnel throughout the world—making UT's alums and their observations available, accessible, and teachable for as many different constituencies as possible.

Ethical Internships Project: As a key driver of labor pipelines and bellwether of labor conditions, internships play a significant role in the media and tech industries. In this time of change, as both industries rebound and restructure in the wake of COVID-19, CEMI is embarking on a large-scale, multi-year research project into the state of media industry internships: what courses and experiences most benefit students as they move into the industry; what literacies and skills are most needed within those industries and sectors; what outcomes students and companies routinely experience as a result of ethical and mutually beneficial internship programs, etc. Addressing all tenets of our mission (convergence, access, and location), this project connects and mobilizes all of our current research, outreach, educational, and experiential initiatives in Moody College, in Austin, and in Texas.

Affiliates & Fellows

As a research center, we are focused on exploring the topics of convergence, location, and access in the media, entertainment, and technology industries. We are engaging in partnerships with faculty members and graduate students across the university to develop and promote a research agenda consistent with our mission. We also regularly appoint CEMI research fellows and affiliates to assist with the development and expansion of CEMI’s initiatives. If you are interested in becoming involved  as a fellow or affiliate, locating a subject matter expert, and/or engaging our affiliates and fellows on a research project, please contact our Program Director at cemi@austin.utexas.edu.

Partners

To advance our education, service, and research aims, we are partnering with media companies and professionals in the Austin area and beyond. These partners help us:

  • to fund and facilitate initiatives to diversify student internship experiences;
  • to develop and sponsor strategic engagements with Austin-based media industries; and
  • to support industry-focused graduate research and professionalization opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about the internship program and/or partnering with us to place interns, please contact our Internship Director at RTFinternships@austin.utexas.edu. Also, if you are interested in partnering with and/or donating to CEMI, please contact our Program Director at cemi@austin.utexas.edu.

convergence

Convergence

exploring past, present, & future connections between the technology & media industries

location

Location

contributing to growing Austin—and Texas —as a vital hub for media & technology companies

education

Access

diversifying the media industries through experiences with & access to professionals

cemi

Education

training the next generation of media creators, executives, & industry researchers

Fall 2021 General Events

Oct. 15 - Spring 2022 Internship Info Session

Zoom Q&A for RTF Majors & Minors
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 12 - Post-Production for TV

Zoom webinar
12:30–2:00 pm CT

Fall 2021 MIC Speakers

Aug. 30 - Launching Your Career, Corporate Side (Panel)

Guests include Caterina Nasr (Senior Manager, A&R, Elektra Music), Vance Nguyen (Assistant to VP & Executive Director of Development, 20th Century Animation), Lauren Zimmer (Television Scripted Assistant at Creative Artists Agency), and Hemrani Vyas (Assistant Manager of Programming, TCM).
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 13 - Launching Your Career, Screenwriters & Agents (Panel)

Guests include Davia Carter (executive story editor, Debris), Jim Ehrich (literary agent, Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston), Kim Tran (staff writer, Space Force), Cindy McCreery (RTF faculty member, Honey Girls)
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 20 - Mark Hoffman

Chairman, CNBC
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 27 - Ginny Morris

Chair/CEO, Hubbard Radio, LLC
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 4 - Mindy Kaling

Actress, writer, producer
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 11 - Tahirah Gooden

Manager of Original Studio Films, Netflix
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 18 - Kevin Jarzynski

Senior Development Executive, Amazon Studios
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 25 - Colby Gaines

Executive Producer and Founder, Back Roads Entertainment
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 1 - Lucy Huang

Production Executive, Amazon Studios
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 8 - Brandt Joel

Agent & Partner, WME/Endeavor
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 15 - Maru Buendia-Senties

Senior Post Production Executive, Amazon Studios
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 22 - PJ Shapiro

Entertainment Attorney & Managing Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 29 - Kyle Davies

Distribution and Exhibition Executive
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Dec. 6 - Jordan Levin

General Manager, Rooster Teeth
5:00–6:15 pm CT