Alumni Spotlight: Marissa Crenwelge
Marissa Crenwelge is a Moody alumni who currently works within the entertainment industry, where she assists in digital marketing. Marissa graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's in Public Relations as well as a Bachelor's in Psychology from the College of Liberal Arts. She then returned to UT to pursue a Master's in Marketing from the McCombs School of Business. I had the opportunity to ask about her many experiences, both academically and professionally, and how they shaped her path.
Marissa originally came to UT as a Psychology major, but an interest in the entertainment industry and enough credits from high school inspired her to take up a degree in Public Relations as well. "I always knew I wanted to work in entertainment, but not necessarily as a film student," she said while recounting her journey. "After researching the industry, I decided to pursue PR." Being a part of different colleges gave her many different experiences and opportunities. She credits the many connections she made as one of her greatest assets after graduation.
One of these many experiences was participating in the UTLA program in 2016. Marissa expressed that the experience made a tremendous impact on her future. Being able to participate in the program eased the stress of entering the entertainment industry. "Having that opportunity to ease into the industry, while still studying as a Longhorn and having that dedicated UT community surrounding you while in LA made the transition less stressful" she explained. But the experience did not come without its challenges either. "When I moved to LA for the UTLA program, I still didn't have an internship lined up, even though I'd been applying to a ton of companies, including the big studios.” She eventually landed her first internship through cold emailing PR firms. After returning to Austin, she took advantage of positions within local entertainment industries. These positions provided an easy transition into Hollywood thanks to the industry experience she gained.
In her professional life, Marissa has worked on campaigns for numerous films as a part of Hearts and Science. Out of the many projects she's been a part of, she noted the most memorable was the
2023 Barbie movie. "It was exciting to see the world's buzz for the movie all year, and to see the reactions to our key beats throughout the spring and summer," Marissa said. "I didn't realize that excitement on social media was going to translate into people dressing in theme to go see it in theaters."
Lastly, I asked Marissa about her thoughts on the future of the entertainment industry and marketing. "Working specifically in theatrical, I think entertainment marketing is going to have to convince consumers that it's worth it to see a film in theaters instead of waiting for it to stream. At the same time, people's attention spans seem to be getting shorter, so we have to make an impact in a shorter amount of time, which is harder to do when you're marketing a movie," she explained. Additionally, she noted that the way entertainment leverages data will soon change due to privacy regulations. These regulations, while beneficial to a consumer, can make things tricker for marketers, and many industries will need to learn to adapt to the fast-changing landscape of social media.
For students interested in pursuing a career within the entertainment industry, Marissa emphasized the many opportunities both within and outside of Hollywood. Students should take advantage of their Longhorn network and opportunities, dedicated websites for entertainment-related positions, and simply reaching out to companies of interest to ask if they might need an intern. The industry may seem intimidating, but there are many opportunities for budding professionals within it.