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The Theatre, Film, and Digital Production (TFDP) department at UC Riverside offers a lot more opportunities than many arts majors are aware of. The entertainment industry is one of the most difficult to establish financially, but the networking connections made at UCR are very important. Yes, the location is not Los Angeles or New York, however, the people you will meet and experiences you will have are some of the most memorable and influential as students.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Not being a fan of theatrical productions is a common issue faced by film students at UCR. It is important (as filmmakers) to appreciate the importance and relevance of theatre arts to your career path. Theatre and film are a combination major, meaning that if you have a focus on one or the other, you will still be responsible for fulfilling requirements in other areas. For example, film students can be enrolled in an Intro to Acting course.

This all seems scary right? Well don’t have doubts. The best advice here is to get out of your comfort zone. Be open-minded to new experiences, as they might help you in understanding the variety of aspects of the industry. This being said, branch out and just go for it. Take some classes you might have never considered to become more well-rounded. Who knows, you might just become incredibly inspired and discover some things you really enjoy!

Always Say “Yes” to Projects/Opportunities

It is highly likely that you will receive emails from the department with information on how to get involved and any upcoming film festivals, plays, or other movie/theatre opportunities. CHECK YOUR EMAILS DAILY. You won’t want to miss the small time frame to reply to emails saying you are interested in being involved in student and staff-run projects.

Networking IS Your New Bestie

Make yourself known. Introduce yourself to your peers. Email faculty and staff. Make visits to your TA’s and professors. In the TFDP, you will meet people who need actors, directors, producers, and prop masters for their small projects. All of the experience you can get is good for building your resumé and your knowledge of the industry.

Realistically, you will be seeing a lot of these people throughout your four years, and will be working with many of them one-on-one to fulfill your production requirements. Get ti know them and build professional connections.

Get Involved in Major Related Activities

There are many ways to do this! To get comfortable and knowledgable on the entertainment industry, do a few or even all of these tips to ensure a successful college experience!

  1. Join some of the many film clubs on campus such as R’shorts, or even make your own with some friends. You can earn production credits this way.
  2. Head over to the career center to find out about internships and workshops specifically geared toward TFDP students.
  3. Develop/act in films to be submitted to the Smart Phone Film Festival.
  4. Sign up to be in cast and/or crew of the quarterly plays put on by the theatre department.
  5. Look locally (in Riverside County) for playhouse/studio productions where you can gain more experience.

Remember, no one ever said going into the entertainment industry is easy. Take your time, and use these tips to help you get comfortable with UCR, your home for the next four years!


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Mina Vazirian

Hey y'all I'm Mina, a current first-year student at the University of California Riverside! I was a Media and Cultural Studies major, but I have switched over to Theatre, Film, and Digital Production to pursue a career as a film producer.


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