Chico State Alumni Association

Wildcat Connect Webinar: How COVID-19 has affected the Entertainment Industry

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Webinar recording

Webinar Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we consume media and entertainment. With people confined to their homes, our social lives have moved online and entertainment consumption has risen notably within the at-home segments of television, online gaming and music. On the other hand, movie theatres, live theatre, theme parks, museums, and other external consumption models are suffering, as physical distancing norms and lockdowns are enforced. Our distinguished panel of experts will discuss these challenges and opportunities as they navigate the future of the industry post COVID-19.

Webinar Host: Dr. Angela Trethewey, Dean, College of Communication and Education

Moderator: Dr. Josh Moss, Professional in Residence, College of Communication and Education. Dr. Moss completed his MFA at New York University, and his doctorate at the University of Southern California. He currently advises students in the media arts, design, and technology department at Chico State.

Panelists: Russ Woody, '78, Tim McDonald, '88, Chekechea Pryor, '06, Rayna Schwartz, '98

russ woodyRuss Woody started his writing career in Hollywood by selling scripts to Benson, Barney Miller and later to Fantasy Island and Webster. He has written episodes of Newhart, St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues and was a writing producer on Murphy Brown, where he won an Emmy in 1990. He won a Golden Globe for his work as Co-Executive Producer and writer of Cybill, with Cybill Shepherd and went on to work on The Jeff Foxworthy Show and then Style & Substance with Jean Smart. Most recently Woody has since and written Notes From The Underbelly, Instant Mom, The Middle and Haters Back Off. While still keeping a hand in television, he is currently working on screenplays and books. Woody graduated from Chico State in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in information and communication studies. 

tim mcdonaldTimMcDonald is an award-winning playwright and adaptor of over 65 musicals. He is also an accomplished director and a leading authority on musical theater education. In 1996, he was recruited by Freddie Gershon to develop Music Theatre International's Education Division, working side-by-side with theatrical greats to create age-appropriate adaptations of musicals. In 1997 McDonald founded iTheatrics to continue and expand the work he began at MTI by developing educational musical theatre adaptations and resources for Tams-Witmark, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Samuel French. McDonald also founded the Junior Theater Festival, the world's largest festival exclusively dedicated to young people performing musical theater. McDonald graduated from Chico State in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in music. 

pryorChekechea Pryor  has worked in the television industry for 14 years, and has a background in both scripted and unscripted genres.  As a freelance post production supervisor, Pryor has produced over 200 hours of television, on such shows as “Castle” for ABC, and “LA Ink” for TLC.  In 2018, Pryor joined the Original Series Comedy team at Netflix, and currently works as a Post Production Executive having overseen such titles as “She’s Gotta Have It”, “Dear White People”, “Dead to Me”, “Space Force”, and “#blackAF” during her tenure. Observing the lack of diversity in television editorial rooms, Pryor has dedicated her career to mentoring emerging talent, and is a participating member of several industry diversity and inclusion groups that foster and create more opportunities for often overlooked diverse candidates. Pryor graduated from Chico State in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in media arts and went on to complete her MFA in Film at Mount Saint Mary’s University in 2018. 

raynaRayna Schwartz is currently the vice president of global publicity for The Walt Disney Studios where she oversees a team of publicists and runs public relations campaigns for more than a dozen series, shorts, and films available concurrently on a wide variety of networks and streaming services. Her areas of responsibility span live action, non-fiction docu-series and animation from Marvel, Lucas Film, Walt Disney Animation Studios and The Walt Disney Studios. Prior to her position at The Walt Disney Studios, Rayna lead the publicity team for a variety of scripted and kids/family entertainment, New Media/digital for Marvel Entertainment.  She also spent five years at MTV where she oversaw publicity campaigns for a variety of scripted and unscripted series. Schwartz completed her bachelor's degree from Chico State in 1998.