Day Eight

A few meetings a day keeps the doctor away

By: Jared Brown

Yesterday was a long networking day, but today we did not slow down! Early this morning, we headed out to Edelman, where we were given a thoughtfully executed presentation on the company and projects they have generated. Heidi Espejo, the recruitment manager of the western region, and Marlee Ko, the HR Coordinator, were both there to facilitate this presentation. Additionally, they brought in the mastermind behind the Taco Bell hotel pop-up, Emily Erskine. We learned about how she presented this idea to the client. She stayed authentic to the brand and its fans while conceiving this idea. Her job of pitching, planning, and executing was reliant upon trust between her, the company, and the creative team. For media attention, there were four stages designed to manufacture a social response. Phase one of the process was the  teaser announcement video. Next, they announced their reservation at a hotel in Palm Springs. Then, they widened the network by promoting merchandise associated with the project. The final stage was to open shop, which allowed the brand to blow minds by becoming a lifestyle brand. Attached is an inside look at the hotel, which sold out in 2 minutes. Erskine went above and beyond in describing life at Edelman and how there is collaboration across the industry. 

After a bite at a restaurant and a walk around the infamous Rodeo Drive, we arrived at William Morris Endeavor. Once we walked off the elevator and casually walked past Amber Rose, we had a meeting with Cameron Kadison, who specializes in representing famous clients, writers, producers, and more. Also, a producer, we learned about how shows and movies are pitched around town. Particularly interesting, Kadison is incentified to create agency packages and pitch to different networks and studios. One of his clients is Snooki from the Jersey Shore. He discussed how she has evolved in the marketplace. Kadison has helped her in her rebranding as a lifestyle brand and mom. The people Kadison works with and his company Mortar media’s impressive client list is a depiction of how hard work pays off. 

“You can ring my bell”

By: Joe Gilberto

Today, we had the pleasure of getting to see the inner workings of Edelman, the largest privately owned public relations firm.  The firm was so incredibly welcoming, having set up their monitors to display “Welcome Hofstra University students and faculty” across the lobby.  They talked with us about what behemoth the company is, representing major brands and projects with offices all over the world. The company works hard to represent their brands well and this includes a variety of projects.  We were even fortunate enough to have a senior member talk to us about an entire project she worked on creating a hotel for the chain restaurant, Taco Bell. The hotel, dubbed The Bell after Taco Bell’s infamous logo, went on for five days and was completely sold out in just 2 minutes.  That is even faster than Coachella. At the resort, patrons were served Taco Bell food, provided Taco Bell bathrobes and bedding, and even got to visit a salon where they could get Taco Bell inspired haircuts and nail art. While Taco Bell originally wanted to do a smaller pop up exhibit, Edelman convinced them they needed to go big or go home.  Especially with the wonderful fan base they had, Edelman knew Taco Bell could bring in the customers and press, providing a great amount of publicity. They also talked about an amazing fellowship the company has out in Los Angeles that guarantees employment to those who get it. I know that caught the eye of quite a few of my classmates. Edelman was an amazing company to visit and it taught me so much more about public relations than I knew before.

Learning the ropes

By: Michael Valentino

Getting to talk to Cameron Kadison today was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. He spoke to us about his career and how he got to the point where he is now. What I found most interesting was his work in helping develop talent and bringing together different people to create a successful project. Cameron reinforced the idea that agents and managers really go beyond their titles and act also as producers when creating a project. Truthfully, Cameron wears so many hats in his job: creative and help develop concepts, businesses-oriented when creating the deals, and he must be strategic when developing which specific talent and determining which projects they’re good for.

I learned so much from getting to talk to him and was really interested in understanding what exactly he looks for when determining to represent someone… as I am a famous person (in training), of course. He spoke about the importance of being able to attach a brand behind a personality, so that they aren’t just on television but can also be selling and endorsing products. This is how a lot of celebrities go about making the real amounts of money. Cameron also mentioned the importance of showing a consistent voice on social media and understanding your personal brand/niche.  

Overall, getting to speak with someone who is in Cameron’s position was truly unbelievable and beneficial. Getting to know exactly what someone like him looks for is priceless and can definitely be the catalyst necessary to achieve the unimaginable. I am very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to talk to him. 

Weezer would be proud

By: Kathryn Harley

Today, admittedly, the tiredness has finally caught up to me. For some reason, this morning’s 7 a.m. wake-up call hit me the hardest out of this entire week. Maybe jetlag has finally set in. Regardless, I woke up ready to take on another day in L.A.!

We had the opportunity to hear from some incredible women working at Edelman, a PR firm that I have heard a ton about since coming to Hofstra. It was great to learn more about their projects as well as their internal corporate culture, which seemed to encourage both collaboration and creativity. We were walked through one of their major case studies, the Taco Bell Hotel, by Emily Erskine, a senior account supervisor. 

Hearing about how they created a vision and brought it to life was absolutely amazing, as I could see throughout their work lessons that I’ve learned both in the classroom and in my internship experience. At one point, Emily described Edelman’s ideas as “big in the world, not just in the deck,” which really stood out to me. In PR, it can be easy to get carried away with larger than life ideas that seem great on paper, but aren’t necessarily applicable in reality. This line reads to me as initially focusing on audiences when attempting to deliver messages rather than putting sole attention on the vehicle that is being used to deliver said message. Sometimes, big spectacles can be a great way to communicate with audiences, such as in the case of the Taco Bell Hotel. However, it was amazing to hear Emily speak about how she plans and researches her audiences to be as effective in her messaging as possible.

This trip has given me a brand new perspective on being a PR professional in many aspects. I can’t wait to return to the classroom in a couple of weeks with this reignited passion for PR!

Back to Warner Brothers Animation

By: Julia Farella

After meeting Jay Bastian at Warner Bros. Animation last week, I knew immediately I had to return and learn more. A day or two after we left the Warner Bros. lot, I sent an email asking Mr. Bastian to get connected to one of the animation editors that he works with. Editing has been something that I’m good and have done at my internships but haven’t really explored as a potential career. After sending the email, Mr. Bastian was quick to link me up with one of the editors for the Animaniacs, Philip Malamuth. Mr. Malamuth was quick to invite me back to the Warner Bros. lot so I can ask him questions about being an animation editor. Mr. Malamuth was an editor for four years at Warner Bros. Animation and gave me great advice on what it takes to become an editor. The one thing that really stuck with me was the amount of persistence I will need. Getting into animation editing isn’t an easy path since it is filled with such a small amount of editors. But knowing that if I work hard as a post-production assistant and an assistant editor then one day I can become a full-time editor. But the best part about the visit was just talking about the types of animated shows that we like. It was great to be able to talk to someone about shows like “Ed, Edd, and Eddy” and “Codename: Kids Next Store” and connect on a personal level. The visit not only gave me more hope to work in the animation industry but gave me insight on how to get there. And who knows, maybe I’ll be working on the next big show for Disney or Cartoon Network.

New opportunities?

By: Penelope Lopez

Welcome back, blog! Today, we had an exciting day filled with information about the Taco Bell Hotel, lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, and to top it all off we saw Amber Rose. We started the day at Edelman where we learned about the different marketing strategies used for one of their primary clients, Taco Bell. Interestingly enough, I had knowledge about this PR campaign through an influencers social media account but was not aware that Edelman was behind this venture. To my surprise, Edelman was the company to launch this successful project with a limited budget. It should be noted that as a journalism student, I pitched an idea to a public relations firm and fell in love with this idea of creating a unique space that fans can partake in. 

Moving along, I pitched the concept of using Taco Bell’s frozen drinks and having a pop-up store in New York during the holiday season. Not only is this practical but it combines the frozen drinks red and green colors in a season where most individuals come to NYC to see the tree and other historical landmarks. Whether or not they actually use this idea, it was a great way to market myself in my other interests. Additionally, Edelman gave us insight on their fellowship program that guarantees a position in their company afterwards and vital information regarding the news sector they have been developing in their organization. Needless to say, today was an eye-opening day to see where my interest may lead me to. 

Lastly, I saw Amber Rose once I came out of the elevator at WME Studios which was very interesting and exciting. 

Beverly Hills is where I want to be

By: Paula Chirinos

Major life decisions have been contemplated today. Admittedly, I was on the fence about considering moving to Los Angeles after graduation, since the start of this trip. A majority of the executives we met so far have told the group that 85% of opportunities in the entertainment industry are located in Los Angeles, but I still figured that I’d most likely stay living in New York regardless. After today’s meetings, however, my inclination has leaned farther towards challenging myself and making a new life here in California.  

Edelman is a highly-acclaimed and well-known public relations and marketing consultancy that I have been dreaming of working with since I was a sophomore in college. After meeting Heidi Espejo, manager of recruitment in the western region, and Marlee Ko, human resources coordinator, and hearing about the fellowship program offered to postgraduate students, my mind started immediately picturing myself taking a huge journey across the country to be able to enjoy this opportunity. I had a really strong feeling that the company culture resonated with me and my values, and almost immediately let my mom know about my plans.   

The move shouldn’t be impossible for me. After all, my parents moved to the United States  from Peru in their early 20s with close to no financial resources. This move would further prove that the Chirinos are adventurous risk-takers and will stop at nothing to chase our dreams.  

 Live más at Edelman

By: Jessica Zagacki

Wow! We embarked on our journey and landed in L.A. last Wednesday and it’s already Wednesday again! Time flies when you’re having fun—especially when you’re filling your day meeting professionals in the entertainment industry and exploring the Los Angeles area. 

I was already excited to go to Edelman this morning, but it completely exceeded any expectations I could have possibly had for this leading global public relations and marketing firm. From the moment we stepped out of the elevator, I fell in love with Edelman’s aesthetic. In the lobby, a white neon “Edelman” sign lit up over wooden bleachers with colorful cushions. They even had a message welcoming Hofstra on their office screens—a really sweet and thoughtful touch. I would expect nothing less from these public relations professionals, and this attention to detail definitely made me feel welcome in their space. After we were led into a conference room, they offered us refreshments, such as coffee in branded Edelman mugs and snacks.

Even though the building itself was exciting, it was the people who really brought it to life. Everyone there was so kind, bubbly, and open-minded. During the presentation, I could tell that Edelman is a company that is dedicated to creativity, collaboration, diversity, inclusion, and giving back to communities and social causes. All of these are traits that I look for in a place of employment. One of the most exciting parts about our visit to Edelman was when I found out that they were the geniuses behind the Taco Bell Hotel and Resort campaign for Taco Bell. Like the Taco Bell sauce, this campaign was absolutely “Fire!” It was one of the most iconic recent campaigns I can remember. Over the summer, I remember when news about the Bell Hotel hit. As a huge Taco Bell fan myself, I was immediately interested. When I found out that it was launched all the way in California and sold out/not open anymore, I was immediately crushed. It was so cool to hear more about the behind-the-scenes and all of the planning that led up to the launch. I am definitely interested in learning even more about Edelman and exploring career paths there.

Taco Bell Hotel

By: Emmeline Blaner

Today we met with a few employees of Edelman, a public relations firm based all around the country and the world. Walking into their office was an experience in itself, as it was decorated like a scene straight from a Pinterest board. Over the course of this trip, it has been interesting to see each company’s unique culture and how different work atmospheres are created. The office represented the company’s modernity and fresh marketing perfectly and seemed like the type of place where I would love to work.

We met with Heidi Espejo, recruitment manager for the western region, and Marlee Ko, the human resources coordinator, who guided us through the world of Edelman, their clients, and their other brands. The most interesting part to me was the guest speaker Emily Erskine, a senior account supervisor who works on their campaigns with Taco Bell. She described their work with Taco Bell on various pop-up shops that have been created for marketing, and how the company came to them and others asking for the next big thing—A pop-up hotel. The “Bell Hotel” was huge on social media this past summer, with influencers like make-up mogul Jeffree Star raving about it.

One of my passions is graphic design, so seeing the process of how they developed the hotel and all of the carefully crafted design elements captured my attention. Although I’m a television major, I hope to one day incorporate graphic design into my career. This meeting had me thinking that maybe I won’t stay in the television industry forever. There are so many jobs I would love to do, and in today’s society, people are free to move wherever their heart takes them.

Time is flying

By: Daniella Colletti

Day eight really hit me like a truck.  I truly cannot believe how fast this has all gone by. Before I get all emotional, let’s talk about how visiting Edelman was the highlight of my day. We got to meet Marlee Ko, the HR coordinator, Heidi Espejo, the recruitment manager of the west coast, and Emily Erskine, senior account executive for brands.  

Emily’s presentation blew me away. Reading about new, different PR campaigns has always been something I am a sucker for. That being said, Emily’s presentation about the Taco Bell “The Bell” Hotel in Palm Springs was an incredible campaign to get fans involved and bring to life Taco Bell’s idea of the fans come first. The five-day long standing hotel featured everything a luxurious hotel would have, from Taco Bell robes, sauce packet pillows, and a “bellhop” (get it?). I was constantly writing down questions to ask Emily about what made this campaign so successful. Were there any crisis situations to handle? How did you handle those who were disappointed that the hotel sold out in two minutes? She explained how they were efficiently prepared for any situation and that the best crisis strategies are the ones that “collect dust.” Emily also explained how this campaign was a huge risk, but she said in PR you have to take risks and hope a campaign takes off the way you want it to. As someone who also hopes to create successful PR campaigns, this was a great learning experience.  

Taking on the Taco Hotel

By: Christina Morgana

Today was our PR and agency day, taking on WME and Edelman. Although I have only taken one PR class, I was very fascinated by our trip to Edelman. For some reason, I had always thought the company did more entertainment coverage, but they do quite the opposite, mostly focusing on branding and corporate PR. We met with Marlee Ko, Heidi Espejo and Emily Erskine. Marlee and Heidi gave us a general breakdown of the company, sharing their top clients and sister branches with us. At the moment, their top clients include Petco, Taco Bell, and Shell, among others. Then, Emily, senior account supervisor for Taco Bell, spoke to us about a specific project that she helped propel in the summer of 2018, The Taco Bell Hotel. While I had never heard about this pop-up before, Emily and her team orchestrated a five-day pop-up hotel in Palm Springs that was themed after Taco Bell. Aside from getting press, they wanted to have fans sample new menu items they wanted to put in stores and just satisfy the loyal customers. When the tickets for the hotel went on sale in May 2018, the hotel was booked solid for all five days in a matter of two minutes. Upon arrival, guests were provided Taco Bell-inspired breakfast in bed every morning and a plethora of activities to do every day. For example, there was a synchronized swimming routine one day in which the swimmers were decked out in Fire! Sauce bathing suits. The pop-up was a huge success, but it took an intricate amount of planning over the course of 18 months to avoid any crises during the five-day period. While I do not see myself working in this field, it is important to be informed on all forms of media and be able to work in collaboration with my fellow entertainment enthusiasts. 

Two days to go!

The real Hofstra students of Beverly Hills

By: Kat Holm

Today was a difficult day for me. It began with me heading over to an urgent care facility. Because of this, I had to miss out on the trip to Edelman, which I heard very good things about from my fellow classmates. I also had to miss out on the group photo by the iconic urban lights landmark. Luckily, the urgent care location in Hollywood was good to me, and I was in and out very quickly. I met up with everyone for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory during which I made a very important phone call back home. I wanted to let my significant other know that I’m strongly considering spending the whole summer out in L.A. The call went very well, and he was very encouraging of me following my dreams and that he’ll always support me.

Following lunch, we got to explore a bit of Beverly Hills. Naturally, we went straight towards the famous Beverly Hills Gucci store. Almost immediately, we could tell that the employees knew we didn’t belong there. One of the sales associates even came up to us and asked us where we were from because it seemed like we were from “out of town.” Needless to say, after glancing at some of the products and all of the items we couldn’t afford, we left the store. For our second meeting of the day, we visited the prestigious WME building. Adria warned us before entering that we needed to remain calm even if we saw a celebrity that we knew. Nevertheless, as soon as we got off the elevator, we saw Amber Rose walk right by us in the WME office. I can’t wait to see if we notice any more celebrities tomorrow when we go to Paramount Studios!

Ring the bell!

By: Connie Castilla

What does a hotel, tacos, and 100 degrees have in common? Edelman! Yes, that is the name of the PR firm we visited today. They work with companies to develop campaigns and other promotional initiatives. But what does Edelman have to do with tacos? Well, they developed the coolest campaign of last summer: the Taco Bell Hotel. Yep, a hotel full of your favorite tacos and with all the luxury and fun activities from a real travel experience. If you didn’t know about it, it happened last August in Palm Springs when Edelman launched this awesome campaign for Taco Bell. When the representatives from Edelman were explaining this hotel idea to us, I was thinking that it was only possible in some alternate reality where we can all live out our food fantasies. After watching a promo video of the hotel and listening to their detailed explanations of all the work behind the project, I was convinced working on publicity could be so much fun and exciting, something that I didn’t really see myself doing before. I am grateful to this program for exposing us to new and different types of careers in media that I didn’t quite know before.

The fun time came when we visited the Urban Light Exhibit later. Love to see the very interesting and unique pieces of art and take nice pictures. Highly recommended if you want to “get lost” among rows of streets lights.

Another great day in L.A. 🙂 


By: Joe Unda

There are multiple sides to entertainment, and I’ve heard some say that the more business oriented side doesn’t require or use much creativity. Knowing what I know after today, those people could not be more wrong. 

Edelman is a public relations and marketing firm and was also our first stop for the day. Going into this meeting, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I wanted to make sure I kept my mind open. We were very warmly welcomed by Heidi Espejo and Marlee Ko, who introduced us to the company and told us the basic rundown of all that they do. We, then, got an incredible presentation from Emily Erksine, who brought us through the process of Taco Bell’s “The Bell” hotel. I never thought there could be something so creative, colorful, and fun in such a position, and I regret and am mad at myself for never looking more into it. This seemed like such an amazing project to work on, and definitely opened my mind more to the PR world. 

WME was our next stop, as we met with talent manager Cameron Kadison. He informed us of how he splits his time into looking after people’s careers, developing shows, and finding creative ways to develop projects. This is yet another position I was clueless about. Cameron shared stories of shows he’s thought up and pitched to networks and how he often has a lot of creative control over them. His days seem to be made up of helping his clients and also just thinking up ideas on his own. I was very intrigued by his day-to-day and hope to learn more into this side of the business.

The phrase really is true – you learn something new every day.

Alright day nine, let’s go.

A lot on my mind

By: Aliyah Dinkins

They say that if you are having trouble figuring out what you want to do in this life, it is vital to figure out what you don’t want to do first. I have found this advice to be true, or at the very least useful. I have learned that I’m not interested in producing journalistic news, and therefore, I should stray away from doing work in that section of the industry. I wonder though, what someone would advise a person to do who is unsure if they like a particular field or not. For instance, recently we have been meeting with a number of agencies that represent talent, writers, and companies, and I never thought that I would be anywhere interested in that section of communications (mostly because I truly didn’t know that “counted” as a part of the communications industry). However, as I began hearing about some marketing campaigns, experiences working with talent, and the amount of creative brain power that goes into working for an agency, my mind began to wonder… could this be my career path?

In a previous blog post, I listed all of my interest and the potential fields I want to do work in. What I said before has not changed, but I have begun thinking more practically about working for an agency because I know even more about what potential positions exists and what immediate post graduate opportunities there are. This is a complete shift from my original goals, and maybe, that’s okay. Until we meet again…

Packaging problems

By: Heather Konefsky

I was a little unsure going into today because I didn’t know how much I would really get out of our meetings. We met with Cameron Kadison who is a talent manager. Since I’m more interested in physical production, I didn’t really know what I would learn from him, but our meeting was extremely informative. I didn’t know what packaging was until he explained it. Packaging is when you bring together and attach multiple people to a project. I didn’t think I would be someone who ever wanted a manager, but now I’m seeing the benefit of it. Managers are able to connect you with other people who want to work on the same type of projects as you. They know your strengths and your personality, so they know who you would work well with. 

In classes, we usually learn how to do all of the technical aspects of production, but we don’t usually learn the business side of things. Cameron was able to explain a lot of that to us. He explained that packaging is a way for agents to make more money by bringing together multiple people. He also explained that there is currently an issue with packaging because writers do not want agents to be able to do it anymore. Some writers feel like they would have made more off of their scripts or screenplays, if agents didn’t own part of it. Agents feel like the writers probably made more and made money faster with their help because they are able to connect writers to talent that is more in demand. I’m not quite sure of my opinion on this yet, but I’m really enjoying learning about these issues from people who are actually in the field being affected by them. 

A new discovery

By: Marissa Santorelli

Today, we were on the road bright and early to head over to Edelman and then to the Urban Light Exhibit. Right after the exhibit, we traveled to The Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills. It was a jam-packed morning, but we had some free time after lunch to walk around and explore Rodeo Drive. Let me tell you… the area was incredible. I can’t count how many high-end stores we passed! The area was absolutely gorgeous. I truly felt like I was in a different country. As we were passing a small boutique, we saw paparazzi from “TMZ” track down and interview a celebrity outside the store front. We couldn’t tell who the celebrity was, but it was so cool to see that actually happen in person. We then reconvened to meet with an alumni, Cameron Kadison, at his agency. To start of this story, all you need to know is that Adria told our group, “This agency has clientele that are ​very ​famous, so if you see someone upstairs, do not react. Remain cool and collected.”

We were all so excited and eager to go upstairs to meet Cameron and to see if anyone was there. Sure enough, we went up the elevators in two groups, and when we arrived upstairs we saw Amber Rose and her family. We were all STARSTRUCK. We did as Adria instructed and kept our cool, and I was honestly so shocked that we did. Then, we entered the conference room and had the opportunity to sit down with Cameron, who told us all about his journey in the industry and his path to becoming a top agent. He told us all about the projects he got to work on, all of the celebrities he manages, and all of the shows he was able to pitch and package. The more he told us about what he works on and projects he has been involved in, the more I fell in love with the work that he does. I was so interested in every single thing that he said he partakes in and realized that I may have discovered a new facet of this industry I am passionate for. I left WME with a sense of both confusion and excitement… I was excited about the work that they do at WME but confused about where my heart truly lies.

To be continued…

Jersey California shore

By: Caroline Lea

After an afternoon of window shopping in Beverly Hills, we made our final stop of the day at the agency WME where we met with Hofstra alum Cameron Kadison. He is currently a partner at Mortar Media where he manages personalities, producers, brands, and production companies. He walked us through his employment history: being an assistant, getting work from temp agencies, becoming an agent and a manager, and producer, before landing where he is now. He gave thorough explanations of everything which was very insightful into what all goes into being an agent out in L.A. and in the entertainment industry as a whole. What fascinated me the most about his career was the shows and people he has worked with. My absolute favorite anecdote of his was that he was the one who found not one, but two of the Fab Five on Netflix’s remake of “Queer Eye.” I absolutely love the show and knowing that two of my favorites of the five made it to the show because of a Hofstra alum blew my mind. I also was absolutely losing my mind over all of the work he has done with the network Bravo as well as the show “Jersey Shore.” Hearing his story of how he pitched a version of “Jersey Show” was crazy. It was a great story to learn from hearing how you might pitch a show, but if a network has something similar in the works, they’re going to pass on it. Sometimes, like in his case, you might have the original idea and pitch for a show, but that network that passed you up might use some of your ideas to improve their show and get a hit out of it. Everything in the industry is such a game of making it and having the right idea at the right time, and Cameron Kadison’s stories definitely showed that.

Beverly Hills, rollin’ like a celebrity

By: Kalle Neuman

After spending most of the day in Beverly Hills today, I was once again overwhelmed by the fact that I am actually on this trip and getting to have experiences that I would never have had on my own. The meeting this morning at Edelman was great, and I was fascinated by the story about the Taco Bell Hotel. I also loved the tour of their offices and how modern and inviting their workspace was. It seems like an incredible place to work. It was after that meeting that we headed to Beverly Hills where I was blown away by the classiness of everything, and I felt completely out of place. A group of us walked into the Gucci store, just out of curiosity, and the employees immediately asked where we were from because they could tell we were from out of town. Everything in the neighborhood was so beautiful and modern that it was almost surreal to be there.

The meeting with Cameron Kadison at WME was also great and not just because we saw a celebrity in the lobby (Amber Rose). He gave such great insight into how the agency side of the industry works, and a lot of what he said aligned perfectly with what Bryan Diperstein told us yesterday. He told us about so many amazing shows that he has helped put together and how he is involved with so many different parts of the industry that I can’t help but be interested in being an agent. I would have never considered that before this trip, but now I feel like my options and interests are pretty much infinite. I’m so glad I got to come to L.A. and learn all of these things and open my eyes to parts of the industry that I am so passionate about.