The UTLA Experience: Jeremy De Paz
UTLA Alumnus Jeremy De Paz weighs in on his experience interning and learning in Los Angeles
While studying abroad in Barcelona last spring, Jeremy De Paz came across the University of Texas Los Angeles Program. It was the last day of the application, but with dreams of working in the music industry, Jeremy knew that he couldn't let the opportunity pass by. He applied and got accepted into the program, earning two scholarships in the process. However, the hardest part came afterward in his search for an internship.
“We’ve all heard that networking is important, but in Los Angeles, it’s essential,” De Paz said. He quickly learned to live by the advice that it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. He had a friend working as a musician in Los Angeles and decided to reach out to him. His friend then added him to a Facebook group where Jeremy posted that he was looking for a place to intern during the summer. Incredibly, this led to someone finding him and hiring him to work at Dim Mak, a record company owned by artist, Steve Aoki.
At Dim Mak, the director of public relations acted as a mentor for Jeremy by regularly giving him advice and feedback. As a result, Jeremy was able to get work published and gain valuable industry experience by sharing the responsibilities of the PR director. De Paz considers his experience at Dim Mak to be one of his most important internships saying, “Everything I did, my mentor would review it with me. It was amazing feedback, especially since this is what I plan on doing in the future.”
Jeremy’s learning experience wasn’t limited to his internship. “You’re learning everywhere,” he said. “Me and my friends say that just sitting in a coffee shop, you can overhear conversations between people in the industry and learn just from eavesdropping. It sounds crazy, but that’s LA.”
De Paz has studied abroad in Europe twice before but considers Los Angeles to be the place where he grew and learned the most. Thanks to Phil Nemy, the director of the school in LA, Jeremy’s networking opportunities expanded. Nemy is working on documenting all the students that go through the UTLA program. The idea is to build a contact list so that Longhorns wanting to enter the entertainment industry can connect with each other.
Los Angeles is a testament to the importance of networking, so for people who fear they aren’t connected enough to succeed, Jeremy offers some advice:
“Use your professors as a resource, like Phil Nemy, he’s a legend. You learn a lot from him. So if you don’t know anyone in LA, read Phil’s book. He talks all about networking. Everywhere you go, just talk to people. That’s the main thing, just going places and not being shy. Also, so many people have elevator pitches prepared. They're all ready to tell you about what they do, so have your ears ready, your own elevator pitch ready and know what you can offer people right away. Everyone there is scanning the room for someone to give them a break, its crazy. It’s another world over there.”
If you want to to work in the entertainment industry and join the network of Longhorns who went through the UTLA program, start brushing up your resume and send in your application by Dec 3rd for Summer 2019, and Feb 18th for Fall 2019.
Original Content Team