Rob Luchow, Television Development Executive
Education Update has launched a new section called Careers to provide insight and guidance to recent college graduates. Several graduates share their responses to the questions below.
1. Can you share both your professional and personal struggles and triumphs? What are you currently doing?
Right now I’m working as a development executive for Disney XD. We do programming for boys ages 8-16. I’m doing live action comedies. My job is to come up with new show ideas, find writers for those shows and then develop those shows into production.
2. Which college did you attend, and what was your major?
Northwestern with a Bachelor’s degree in history.
3. What year did you graduate?
4. What do you think your career goals will be five years from now?
Five years from now in the TV world I’d like to be further up the chain and closer to my goal of running a network.
5. How did your major, if at all, determine the course of your current career?
My major didn’t really determine the course — I had a focus in American cultural history so I did a lot of studying about the arts and entertainment and popular culture so it just further compounded my interest in those subjects and how to work in this medium of television. If anything the major really helped my analytical skills when I’m thinking about new scripts and meeting new writers and figuring out what makes a good story. It didn’t have much to do with selecting this job.
6. Was the career guidance office at your college helpful in your job search?
The truth is I didn’t really go to them. I went to Los Angeles without a job. The connections I made through alumni really helped me get that job.
7. Did you have internships, and were they helpful?
The only internship I had was at Education Update and it was great because I really got to write a lot of articles that helped with my writing skills and editing skills. I also had to come up with article ideas and think creatively which is something that I do on this job. It helped me to think what the audience would like to read, just like what the audience would want to watch on TV.
8. Were there mentors who helped you achieve your goals?
I was an assistant to Chris Von Goetz. He’s an agent at ICM. He’s been a mentor. I was able to work with some talented people at the Mark Gordon Company. They helped me understand TV very well — every facet of it actually I learned through that company.
9. How did the economic situation in the country influence your career decisions?
I took an internship right after college and I wanted to get paid — but I knew I had to get my foot in the door first. I’ve been fortunate to be working since then. I have had a job with steady pay increases. Six weeks ago I took a job because they gave me an excellent offer — in this economy that’s important because you never know when things can change. It’s been a fun career path so I try to balance getting paid a salary that keeps me afloat while actually enjoying my job.
10. What motivated you to pick your current career?
I was part of a student group in college called Maysest. This student group brought big name musicians and comedians to campus. I had wanted to go to all of these shows but then I realized that students were running these shows. I asked how to get involved and they told me I should start crewing (rigging lights, etc.), or do anything that helped promote the show. I realized that if I was going to these shows anyway I might as well get involved. Over time I worked my way up and by my senior year, I was head of the Speakers and Comedians club. I brought Dane Cook and Michael Moore to campus. And then through my team, we would do all the details and then go on to do the actual productions. Then I became the head of the Maysest Organization and in my year I brought The Black Keys. I realized I had a lot of fun with all of this — I loved doing it and I loved working with these people. It became my favorite part of college. I loved producing and being part of projects like this. So when I came out to L.A., I decided to try and marry production and my love for TV. That drove me to do what I’m doing now which is making comedy shows for TV.
The shows I’ve worked with are Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Private Practice and Army Wives. Throughout those times we were working a lot of pilots. It was great to work with actors and writers. I just started working here at Disney XD and we’re shooting a pilot with Jon Heder, who played Napoleon Dynamite.