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Course Turns Students Into Hollywood Insiders

SOC Caty Borum Chattoo new story

Professor Caty Borum Chattoo.

There’s no business like show business.

Hollywood veteran Caty Borum Chattoo knows this to be true. Through her Entertainment Communication course Chattoo provides her students with an inside look into the business of mass media.

Anchoring the course is an interview series Chattoo shot over a week in LA with a wide variety of subjects who work in television, film, music, documentaries, public relations, promotions and more. In intimate one-on-one settings she discusses with them their work, trends and issues in media and the future of the business.

Some of the speakers interviewed include entertainment power players like Emmy-Award winning producer Norman Lear, film producer Jeffrey Stott (When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men) and top entertainment communication strategist Kevin Gessay.

“The business of entertainment is not like ordinary business – it is its own world of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and talented, smart characters,” says Chattoo. “I felt like it was important to really bring the Hollywood world to life by bringing a little bit of it right into the classroom,” she adds.

For this reason the majority of the footage she uses is unedited, retaining the full sentiments of the speakers. The access Chattoo was given is so unfiltered that the interviews are for use in the classroom only. “The students will learn about the central aspects of the entertainment business and its communication strategies, but hopefully they will also get to experience some of the spirit and the people who work in the industry,” she says.

Though the course might appear specialized, Chattoo argues that many of its lessons are universal. “My underlying premise for this course is that understanding trends in entertainment is important not only for those who plan to work within the ’formal’ entertainment industry, but also for all communications practitioners,” she says.

Midway through of the semester, Chattoo considers the experience to be a success. “I think and hope the class is going very well thus far. Students are really engaged in the subject matter,” she says.

“There are so many ongoing developments in the field – from the business and technology of entertainment to media to new campaigns – that it’s a creative challenge to keep up with all of it.”