Communication majors walk the red carpet at Cannes
Jessica Peale and Kayce Smith recently returned from Cannes, France after spending two weeks at the Cannes International Film Festival, the world’s most renowned and publicized film review.
Aspiring to break into the entertainment industry, these May 2012 Texas A&M University graduates were selected as two of 140 candidates for Creative Minds in Cannes, a film program launched by an independent production company called The Creative Mind Group. The program attracted a competitive pool of over a thousand applicants this year.
Peale, who majored in telecommunication media studies and minored in film studies, spent the first eight days of her trip with other group members making and directing a short film that was debuted at the festival. Her coursework and extracurricular activities with the student moviemaking club SWAMP, along with work for 12th Man Productions and television station KAMU, helped her land the Creative Minds internship.
“You should always try to supplement your education with external experiences,” Peale said. “It’s important to get internships and hands-on experience in order to learn and build from them—and they look great on your résumé.”
Smith spent her first days meeting and networking with film industry leaders such as the CEO of IMAX and the president of 20th Century Fox. She then interned for the International Film Finance Forum presented by production agency Winston Baker. There she was able to apply her communication skills in situations similar to what she will encounter in her future career.
“In my journalism courses, Dr. Edward Walraven taught me to be inquisitive in all areas of my life, whether professional or social,” Smith, who graduated with a minor in journalism, said. “In conversations, I found myself asking questions that I would ask as if I were conducting an interview.”
Although Smith and Peale enjoyed the glamour of walking the red carpet alongside Robert Pattinson and sharing seating with Wes Anderson in the premiere of his latest film, they said the true value of the experience was putting the foundational knowledge they gained at Texas A&M into practice.
“I now analyze films with a critical eye,” Peale said. “All the film knowledge I gained in class helped me shape my views because I now have a broader understanding of films and filmmakers and what influences them.”
After four years at Texas A&M, the graduates set their career sights on one of the most difficult industries to break into. Peale will shortly depart for California to pursue her film career, and Smith’s new contacts will help guide her as she pursues a career in the television industry.
“When I was a freshman, I was a complete outsider to the film industry,” Peale said. “Now, four years later, I am headed to LA with a great deal of knowledge and a fair amount of production work on my résumé. I have a great foundation to start my career, and I’m grateful for the A&M education that prepared me.”