MTV Rep Scouts Potential Screenwriters Among RIC Communication Students
From left, Jordan Duke, executive assistant to the president of Synchronous Media, asks students for their pitches (story lines); students review their storylines before making their presentations; and Tobias Yoshimura (top right), RIC assistant professor of communication, facilitates the discussion.
L.A. media executive Jordan Duke visited the class of Tobias Yoshimura, RIC assistant professor of communication, to listen to students pitch ideas for film and television series.
“Bottom line,” Yoshimura said, “if Jordan likes your concept, it will more than likely be made into a movie or TV series.”
Duke is executive assistant to the president of Synchronous Media. If he finds merit in a film or TV series idea, he works with the writer to put the idea on the path to production and then brings the fully developed concept to MTV Networks for a first look.
Yoshimura’s students were evaluated on the strength and weaknesses of their ideas. Duke questioned their concepts and tried to delve deeper into their narratives to better understand the stories and their characters. His questions forced the students to clarify their ideas and sometimes defend them. The feedback was also meant to help foster originality. “I’ve heard it before,” was the major reason Duke passed on a pitch. “What else have you got?”
Six of Yoshimura’s students made it to Duke’s “I Like It” list. With a bit more tweaking, their story ideas now have the potential to be developed into possible TV series, web series or films.
“It’s unbelievable,” Yoshimura said. “I bring Jordan ideas all the time, and he turns me down. I am very impressed.”
Along with evaluating the students’ story lines, Duke also shared his own experiences about landing a job in Hollywood.
Duke comes from a small town in Ohio and received his MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Following graduation, he moved to L.A. and worked his way up to his current position.
Yoshimura is also a graduate of Columbia College. Before he taught at RIC, he wrote for such high-profile television shows as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Jerry Springer Show” and “The Amazing Race.” He won two Emmy Awards as part of the production team for “The Amazing Race.”
As part of Duke’s visit, Tobias invited a Central Falls High School film class to sit in on another pitch session that was held the following day.