L.A. Film School Alumni Are Doing Big Things this May


May has been a month of incredible achievements for our talented L.A. Film School alumni! From major award wins to blockbuster films and iconic albums, our alums are making their mark on the entertainment industry in a big way. Dive into this month’s alumni highlights and see the incredible projects they’ve been a part of.

2024 Sports Emmy Awards

Maddie Goldberg (Animation 2022) was personally attached to the Outstanding Graphic Design – Event/Show Award for her work on the Mr. Spell animations for ESPN’s Toy Story Funday Football. The game took home three Sports Emmys in total.

Masters of the Air

Zachary Dych (Film 2008) and Brandon Rennick (Film 2018) work at Picture Shop. They are credited on Apple TV’s limited series Masters of the Air—Zachary as a DI Finishing Editor and Brandon as Assistant Colorist.

Zachary’s previous credits include editing work for Shadow and Bone and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. Brandon’s previous credits include Julia, Florida Man, Walker, and Fargo.

Also credited on the show as a Digital Colorist was Mark Farago (Film 2005). He works for post-production house Picture Head as a Finishing Artist. His work can also be seen in the upcoming Marvel film Deadpool & Wolverine and Apple TV’s Dark Matter.

The Plot

The acclaimed Masters of the Air follows 10 men inside an aluminum bomber known as a “Flying Fortress” as they battle antiaircraft fire and unrelenting flocks of German fighters during World War II. Steven Spielberg executive produced the show.Watch the entire series on Apple+.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Keep an eye on Nathan Runyan (Film 2022)! He works for Halon Entertainment and has been credited on several 2024 releases, including Argylle and Atlas. He contributed to Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes as a VFX / Mocap Coordinator.

You’ll see Nathan’s name attached to a few more upcoming major releases in the not-so-distant future, too, including Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two and Minecraft.

The Plot

Many generations after Caesar’s death, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he’s been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. Catch it in theatres now!

The Rebel Moon Franchise

Julia Ruscio (Animation 2023) and Marlon Rivas (Animation 2015) worked as a  Digital Compositor and Visualization Artist, respectively, on Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. Marlon also contributed to Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire as a Postvisualization Artist.

 Julia has contributed to several projects through Mammal Studios since her graduation in 2023, including Lawmen: Bass Reeves and Lioness. Julia was also a participant in the 2023 Academy Gold Rising Program.

Marlon’s career in animation has included dozens of credits, from Avatar: The Way of Water to Stranger Things. In these projects, he combined disciplines such as tracking, animating, lighting, and compositing.

The Plot

In this double-header of movies helmed by writer Kurt Johnstad and director Zack Snyder, a fictional galaxy ruled by the imperialistic Motherworld and its military, the Imperium, threatens a farming colony on the moon of Veldt. A farmer with a mysterious past assembles a group of interplanetary warriors to fight back. Both films are available now to stream on Netflix.

All of Us Strangers

Andrew Haigh (Film 2004) recently received much acclaim for his indie film All of Us Strangers, which was nominated for several BAFTA awards. Paul Mescal won a 2023 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Performance in his role as Harry.

Andrew also signed on to adapt and direct the upcoming Universal Pictures film about Leonardo da Vinci. The film will be based on Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star.

The Plot

A screenwriter drawn back to his childhood home enters into a fledgling relationship with his downstairs neighbor while discovering a mysterious new way to heal from losing his parents 30 years ago. Stream the film now on Hulu.

Warner Bros. Discovery

Colby (CJ) Lindsey (Entertainment Business 2018) is working at Warner Bros. Discovery as the Sr. Manager of Movies and Kids Strategy Max. CJ is the lead on-platform strategist for all movies and documentaries on HBO Max in the U.S., a few of which include DC, Wizarding World, WB, TCM, WB Animation, and Studio Ghibli titles.

CJ’s previous industry work includes serving as Manager, HBO Max Editorial Strategy – Kids and Family, Fandom; Kids Entertainment Media Specialist at Cyberwise / Cyber Civics, where he hosted the “Parents’ Guide to What Kids Watch” podcast. He also served as Manager of Content Strategy – DC Universe.

Mary J. Blige | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Mary J. Blige signed with Uptown Records in 1989, becoming the label’s youngest and first female artist. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 induction ceremony is scheduled for October 19 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Fans can catch the event live on Disney+, with an airing on ABC to follow and availability on Hulu the next day.

Ready to brush up on Blige’s iconic career? Check out some of these projects our alums have worked on:

  • Jaycen Joshua (Recording 2003) contributed to several of Blige’s albums as a Mixer and Assistant Mixer. Some of his album credits include Mixing for My Life II…The Journey ContinuesStronger With Each Tear, Growing Pains, and The Breakthrough. Check out Jaycen’s discography for his complete list of credits!
  • Adam Shattuck (Film 2016) worked as an Assistant Editor on the documentary Mary J. Blige: The Making of Strength of a Woman – An Album Documentary, chronicling Blige’s emotional process of bringing the album to life.
  • Alan Manzo (Film 2012) worked in the Art Department as a Set Dresser on the music video for “Why? ft. Rick Ross.”
  • Charles (Chuck) Bailey (Recording 1999) was an Assistant Engineer on Blige’s 1999 album, Mary.

Merry Hey Day

With a career path that winds through film, music, and photography, Kayla ShaDay (Entertainment Business 2022) is an alum to know. Currently, she serves as Artist Manager for K-Pop band Merry Hey Day, but you should also keep an eye out for her immersive phototherapy book based on her travels throughout South Korea. Read more about Kayla’s career journey in our recent feature.

Industry Round-Up: May 2024 in Review

Independent TV Pilots Are Having a Moment

Amidst a somewhat paradoxical slowdown in the funding of T.V. pitches, might independent filmmakers forge a path to financing their own series? Some filmmakers think so. Read more about the seemingly upward trend of the independent T.V. series here.

Is the Music Business Too Afraid of Big, Bad AI?

Is AI going to kill music? According to some music industry execs, AI might not be the death knell for human creativity we fear. Read more about the future of music in the age of AI.

IATSE, AMPTP Conclude Scheduled Talks on Area Standards Agreement

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) concluded the second of two scheduled weeks of Area Standards Agreement (ASA) negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Saturday. Keep up with the negotiations on IATSE’s site.

The MLC Sues Spotify for Bundling, Cutting Royalties for Publishers and Songwriters

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (the MLC) has filed a lawsuit against Spotify for bundling products in a way that ultimately led to a lower royalty rate for publishers and songwriters. Read more about the MLC’s lawsuit against Spotify.

Billboard’s 2024 International Power Players Revealed

The executives driving music success outside the U.S. have contributed majorly to a ninth consecutive year of growth for the global recorded music business. Learn who’s who in the lineup of music industry execs.

We love learning about what our alums are working on in the entertainment industry. If you’re an L.A. Film School alum with an upcoming project, tell us about it! Connect with us and send your project details!