Teaching specialist meets top network producers


When Amol Pavangadkar, a teaching specialist and senior producer for the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, was selected for an exclusive weeklong program, he had no idea he would talk to some of the biggest names in television production.

Last week, the Television Academy Foundation, the charitable arm of the TV Academy, hosted a five-day seminar series that welcomed high-level industry professionals from countless shows, including “American Horror Story” and “Breaking Bad.” Twenty participants were chosen from the applicants and accepted into the weeklong class, including Pavangadkar.

“I was told that I was the first one from MSU to get selected in the 25 years that the program has been going on,” Pavangadkar said. “It was pretty exciting, but not as exciting as once I reached there and met with the other fellows, because everyone has really impressive resumes.”

Pavangadkar said one of his favorite parts of the program was getting to see television production firsthand.

“They took us to the new YouTube studios that they are creating — a YouTube hangar,” he said. “It’s their way of basically creating their own niche. That was one of the two coolest things. The other was the event on set of ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ at the Warner Brothers Studios. … That was the coolest thing.”

In addition to on-location seminars, the program also brought in representatives from CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and The CW. He said the team even got to meet R.J. Cutler, the producer of ABC’s hit series “Nashville.”

“We met with all the network executives — the same guys who took out Charlie Sheen and put in Ashton Kutcher,” Pavangadkar said. “They gave us a behind-the-scenes look. It was basically how they programmed the network channels.”

Pavangadkar said there were three main things he took away from the week.

“In a way, it gave me the latest information in what’s going on out there so I could see how television and film are sort of blending into each other,” he said. “Secondly, the whole diversity of the people who were made available for conversations was really impressive. The third front was just the diversity among the participants. There were 20 of us, and a lot of them were teaching about film, so the production end was only five or six of us.”

Journalism and advertising freshman Sierra Resovsky said these types of programs are important to experience because of television’s relevance to many people.

“I think it’s important because it gets the message out quickly and efficiently toward a specific target market. It is also convenient combining visually appealing images with sound.”

Communication junior Kelsey Mansel said Pavangadkar’s participation in the program says a lot about MSU.

“It just makes me really proud to go here, knowing that our professors are respected in their fields around the world,” Mansel said.

Pavangadkar said the importance of the program really comes not from the presentations, but from what the participants take from the week and do with the knowledge they have gained.

“I gained more knowledge about how the industry really works,” he said. “We kind of have the exterior knowledge being from the outside, but they brought us in and we learned more about how it really functions. Hopefully now we can impart this knowledge on students to help them prepare that much better for their futures.”

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