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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Professor attends television seminar in Hollywood

Only 20 faculty members across the country are selected annually for a trip to Hollywood per the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.

This year, Kristen Warner, assistant professor of telecommunication and film at the University, received an invitation to be one of the few to attend the foundation’s annual Faculty Seminar on Nov. 8-12.

“By bringing top-level insights directly to those who are guiding young minds, the Television Academy Foundation’s Faculty Seminar serves as an invaluable resource for carrying television studies forward,” Norma Provencio Pichardo, executive director of the foundation, said in a press release.

The foundation is the charitable arm of the Television Academy, which votes for the Primetime Emmys, according to their website.

The seminar, in its 24th year, seeks to inspire the next generation of television leaders starting within the classroom.

Seminar fellows interacted with top programming and production executives including David A. Goodman from “Family Guy” and Bertram van Munster from “The Amazing Race,” according to the press release.

Nancy Robinson, manager of education programs for the foundation, put the program together. She said about 61 faculty members applied for the seminar.

Robinson said the selection committee chose the 20 applicants and two alternates based on what kind of courses the professors taught, the size of their departments, and how many students they would reach, among other qualities.

The select faculty members received up to $1,000 of airfare and lodging expenses, funded internally from the Television Academy, she said. But there’s a catch.

“Once a school is represented, they have to sit out for two years,” Robinson said.

Warner said she applied for the seminar after hearing about it from other professors. She received her selection call in her first year of applying.

“It was like winning the lottery,” she said.

Faculty members stayed in a hotel in the heart of Hollywood and rode a “schmoozing bus,” Warner said.

She said the program is geared towards both teaching and research. By engaging with filmmakers, Warner has formed closer connections with students than professors with PhDs, she said.

Beyond enabling her teaching skills, the seminar also helped Warner in her personal research. However, that wasn’t the highlight of her trip.

“I think my favorite part was, well, outside of going to ‘The Price is Right,’ the last day we got to go to the NBC/Universal Studio,” she said.

Seminar fellows spoke with programmers of the top five networks. They also visited the Warner Brothers and CBS back lots, she said.

Additionally, they saw multiple filming areas for shows such as “Two and a Half Men” – while catching a glimpse of Ashton Kutcher – and “CSI: New York.”

“It’s, like, a real place,” she said of the latter. “It’s not a set.”

Warner said the area was complete with a ballistics lab with guns, offices and a morgue.

“One of my colleagues actually got in the cold fridge, and we pulled him out,” she said.

Warner said a Betty White sighting gained the most excitement, but the “Price is Right” attendance came in as a close second.

“We looked like we didn’t belong,” she said. “It was noticeable.”

Unlike other “Right” goers, Warner said her group lacked the laid-back clothing and matching t-shirts. They were even asked to show more enthusiasm, she said.

Warner said the experience has provided a jumping board for several teaching opportunities.

“I can tell my students, ‘This is what the future looks like,’” she said.

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