Ducks on Film: How 3 University of Oregon Alums Broke Into the Entertainment Business – Industry Bite Highlights

Networking and hard work are essential to landing a role in this competitive field

As a Mohr Career Services Peer Educator, I had the opportunity to moderate an entertainment industry panel discussion for Industry Bite: The Business of Film, Television, and the Creator Economy on November 14.

Meet the Panel

Barbara Blangiardi graduated from UO with a degree in Public Relations. Over her career, she’s been responsible for NBC Sport’s Olympics marketing and launched Sunday Night Football. Now, she’s launched an in-house marketing and communications firm.

Aaron Godfred graduated from UO with a degree in Sports Marketing and was an active member of the Warsaw Sports Business club. He has spent a majority of his career in the online entertainment industry and currently works as a general manager for Donut, an automobile-focused entertainment network.

Joe Wees graduated from UO in 2006 with a Sports Marketing degree. Now, he’s a creative marketing executive with Universal Entertainment. He’s worked on campaigns for the Fast & Furious franchise, the Despicable Me and Minions franchises and a number of director M. Knight Shyamalan’s films.

To learn more about how these professionals broke into this notoriously competitive field, I asked, “What strategies did you use to get to your current positions?”

Barbara: “Networking is everything, and I’ll be honest with you, most of the jobs that I got were from having a connection, but I didn’t realize it was actually networking…When I was in school, I had to work full time…so I just went back and forth between class and work and class and work, and all of the things that were available on campus, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really take advantage of. If I were to do it over, I would take advantage of all of that and start networking then.”

Aaron: “Once you get that door open, just be the hardest worker in the room. Talent will take you so far, learning the hard, technical skills to do your job is really important, but showing up every day with a great attitude and being willing to kind of do everything…is going to set you apart.”

Joe: “Networking is essential, whether you’re doing it on campus or you start to build out from your school…Build a network, take advantage of that network, don’t be shy…Take the time to make mistakes, try things out, learn what you like, learn what you don’t.”

My other key takeaways for students aspiring to succeed in this field include:

  • The importance of working smart. Barbara described it this way, “I would always think ‘what is it that my boss needs to accomplish and what idea can I come up with that would advance the ball for them.’”
  • Create content in the area in which you want to work. As Joe put it, “if you want to work in social, be on social, but don’t just be passive and swiping, create.”
  • In a creative field, it’s crucial to generate ideas. Joe’s advice? “Ideas happen at any moment, and most of the time you don’t know when they’re about to happen, but for me it starts with research…That’s your guide.”

Hearing these Ducks share their professional success stories was inspiring! If you haven’t attended an Industry Bite event yet, I highly recommend it!

The next Industry Bite: Learn Why You’ll Love Working at PAPÉ is coming up on January 16 and will be held in-person, in Lillis 440 at 12pm. We hope to see you there!

By Avery
Avery Career Peer Educator