Launching Your Career Panel - August 28, 2023

Launching Your Career Panel

When: Monday, August 28, 2023 - 5:00-6:15 pm CT

Please join us for a Q&A session where recent grads Ben Harizman (Executive Assistant to the CEO, OBB Media), Zachary Smith (Line Producer's Assistant, 20th Television), Hemrani Vyas (Assistant Manager of Programming, TCM), and Rachel Wang (Associate Producer, Up Entertainment) discuss their careers, the scope of their work, and their views on the media industries.

To RSVP, please fill out this form & we will send out the Zoom link day-of. 

Speaker Biographies 

Ben Harizman (Executive Assistant to the CEO, OBB Media)

Born in New York City and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Ben’s passion for film and television eventually led him to the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated in 2021 with a major from Moody College in Radio, Television & Film (RTF) and a minor from McCombs in Business. Outside of producing student short films, Ben’s first exposure to branded content and commercial production came when he interned as an Account Manager for Satellite Films in 2021, a small commercial production company based in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, Ben began in the mailroom at William Morris Endeavor (WME Agency) where he worked for two years. At WME, Ben began as an assistant in the Physical Production department supporting department heads on film, television, music video, and commercial sets. He later moved to the Scripted Television group where he worked with some of the industry’s most high-profile writers, producers, and directors.

Some of Ben’s favorite filmmakers include Richard Linklater, Noah Baumbach, and Cameron Crowe. In his free time, you might find Ben petting a random dog on the street, watching and playing golf, or supporting the New York Giants and Texas Longhorns football teams.

Zachary Smith (Line Producer's Assistant, 20th Television)

Zachary Smith (He/Him), is a black, southern writer and producer. After completing degrees in filmmaking and economics from the University of Texas, he staked that what was his passion could be his livelihood, and moved to Los Angeles, California where he resides. Balancing his independent endeavors with a career in the industry proper, he currently serves as the Line-Producer's Assistant for 9-1-1: Lone Star, a procedural drama at Fox.

Hemrani Vyas (Assistant Manager of Programming, TCM)

Hemrani Vyas is the assistant programming manager for Turner Classic Movies based in Atlanta. She is responsible for creating and maintaining both the US and Canadian network schedules as well as content curation and programming strategy. She completed her Masters of Arts in Communications from Georgia State University (2015) with a focus on Film and Television where she also taught courses on Film History, American Film History, and Television Analysis. Her interests include classic film history, feminist humor, and their intersection in digital culture.

Rachel Wang (Associate Producer, Up Entertainment)

Rachel Wang graduated from UT with a degree in RTF in 2021. Shortly after graduation, she worked as an Office PA on Max’s Love and Death in Austin, TX. To further her career in film, she decided to move to Atlanta, GA in 2022 and worked on Apple Studios’ Project Artemis until 2023. She began working as a Stunt PA on Marvel’s Thunderbolts before it got shut down due to the WGA strike. She just started a new position as an Associate Producer with Up Entertainment and is looking forward to pursuing her career goals of becoming a Film/TV Producer.

Spring 2024 MIC Speakers

Feb 16. - Austin Animation Panel

Guests include Carrye Glazar (Executive Producer, Austin Community College Television), Brad Graeber (CEO, Powerhouse Animation Studios), Austin Harper (Supervising Producer, Rooster Teeth), Evan Narcisse (Senior Writer, Brass Lion Entertainment), and Craig Staggs (CEO, Minnow Mountain).
4:00 - 5:15 pm CT

Feb 20. - Scot Cru

Independent International Television & Media Consultant
12:30–1:45 pm CT

March 21 - Austin-Based Film Festivals Panel

Guests include Neha Aziz (Artistic Director, Austin Asian American Film Festival), Alka Bhanot (Co-Founder, Indie Meme), David Finkel (Director, Austin Jewish Film Festival), Todd Hogan (President, aGLIFF), and Gabriel Ornelas (Executive Director, Cine Las Americas).
4:00–5:15 pm CT

Apr. 1 - Patrick Schumacker

EP and Co-Showrunner of Abbott Elementary, Delicious Non Sequitur Productions and WB Television
5–6:15 pm CT

Apr. 9 - Amanda Harrell

Former EVP, Business and Legal Affairs, Alternative and Specials, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
12:30–1:45 pm CT

Apr. 23 - Lee Solomon

Partner, Apollo Global Management LLC
12:30–1:45 pm CT

Fall 2023 MIC Speakers

Aug. 28 - Launching Your Career Panel

Guests include Ben Harizman (Executive Assistant to the CEO, OBB Media), Zachary Smith (Line Producer's Assistant, 20th Television), Hemrani Vyas (Assistant Manager of Programming, TCM), and Rachel Wang (Associate Producer, Up Entertainment).
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 11 - Launching Your Career, Screenwriter & Agent

Guests: Davia Carter (Tulsa King), Jim Ehrich (literary agent, Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston) & Cindy McCreery (RTF Interim Chair, Honey Girls)
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 18 - Brent Weinstein

Chief Development Officer, Candle Media
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Sept. 25 - Gail MacKinnon

Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy & Government Affairs, Motion Picture Association
5:00-6:15pm CT

Oct. 2 - Dr. Thomas Schatz

Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 9 - Business of Music Panel

Guests include Wofford Denius (Attorney, Eisner, LLP), Jonathan Eshak (Co-President, Mick Music), Margaret Galton (Promoter, C3 Presents), Dan Goscombe (Managing Director, Cal Financial Group), and Kevin Shivers (Partner, WME).
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Oct. 16 - Amanda Barclay

Director, Comedy Series, Netflix
5:00-6:15pm CT

Oct. 23 - Christopher Casanova

Vice President, Film & Television, Black Bear Pictures
5:00-6:15pm CT

Oct 25 - Emerald Fennell

Writer, Director, Actress and Author
Promising Young Woman, Saltburn
6:00-7:15pm CT

Oct. 30 - Pastor Alvarado III

Executive Producer and Creative Director, Riverside Entertainment
5:00-6:15pm CT

Nov. 6 - Lucy Huang

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

Nov. 9 - Bob Berney

CEO, Picturehouse
9:30-10:45am CT

Nov. 13 - Entertainment Law Panel

PJ Shapiro & Greg Slewett (lawyers and partners, Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole)
5:00–6:15 pm CT

Nov. 27 - David Tran

VP, Distribution Strategy and Analysis, Lionsgate
5:00-6:15pm CT

Dec. 4 - Austin Entertainment Industry

Guests include Alfred Gomez (Director, Programming & Development, Blind Nil), Jennifer Hutchins (Producer), Laura Kincaid (Director of Operations, ATX TV), Attia Rasul (Content Hub Editor, Atmosphere TV), and Vince Robinette (Controller, Amazon Studios and 20th Century Fox/Disney).
5:00–6:15 pm CT