March 21, 2017
Photo by Gracey Evans | The Globe
The Center for Media Innovation (CMI) hosted 1988 alumnus David Perozzi last Wednesday afternoon for an open discussion about his career as a producer for shows including ABC News, Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time, Scam of the Century: Bernie Madoff’s Crime & Punishment and more.
Andrew Conte, director of the CMI, introduced Perozzi as an accomplished Point Park graduate with tips for current students to follow in the path of success.
“This is a good reminder of both where you are, and where you want to be,” Conte said.
Perozzi’s presentation began with encouragement for journalism hopefuls.
“I know jobs are in the forefront of your mind right now,” Perozzi said. “I’m telling you that you will connect with what you are supposed to do when you are finished.”
Perozzi gave some background information regarding his time as a student and how he managed to work up to an executive producer position.
“I went to high school at Bellevue and I wasn’t exceptional, I was an average student,” Perozzi said. “I knew from the beginning I would have to work hard, being from a middle class working family.”
Not only did Perozzi work diligently in his studies at Point Park, but also held jobs in the restaurant industry to cover his rent for a row house apartment in the Southside.
He involved himself in two separate internships during his senior year, both at KDKA. One internship was in their Public Relations Department while the other was in Human Resources.
“You have to hustle in this industry, you have to have your game on,” Perozzi said. “Working in the restaurant industry allowed me to connect with all different kinds of people and taught me to work hard.”
Before moving to New York, Perozzi explored Europe for a few weeks. Following the trip, he applied for summer housing on New York University’s campus. Despite not being a student, he was able to take advantage of their career placement center, where he continued to hunt for opportunities until he entered a graduate program in journalism at Columbia University.
“I’ve been waitlisted most of my adult life,” Perozzi said. “You just have to keep going back at it, even if you’re told no.”
Even though Perozzi struggled through the nepotism and connections involved with Ivy League Schools, he was able to work his way up in the industry through hard work and dedication.
“You’ll eventually find that person willing to give you a break,” Perozzi said. “Honor them in your work.”
Perozzi worked in both administrative, logistical and writing positions through ABC.
“You have to ask questions about yourself, like where you want to be, to determine your opportunities,” Perozzi said. “Take full advantage of different options, even if it may feel a little off.”
Perozzi also gave students hypothetical ethical dilemmas that they may come across in the field. He also expressed the importance of learning to write well. Tips for resumes, cover letters, interviews and connecting on social media were highlighted in his speech.
“Find great stories to tell, always answer questions directly and talk very specifically about what you’ve done,” Perozzi said.
Perozzi just finished his story “Greatest Love Stories” for People Magazine and “As The World Watched.”
Reception of Perozzi’s talk was positive from students. Many had questions regarding their career paths and tips for how to enter a competitive market. Perozzi welcomed the extended Q&A section.
Blaine King, senior broadcast reporting major and UView station manager, said he thought it was a great opportunity to hear from a successful alumnus.
“It was a very interesting, educational experience,” King said. “We don’t often get to see the production side of things, especially from a major producer of a production company.”
Perozzi left students with a few thoughts to keep in mind.
“Journalists should read all day, everything – even if you don’t agree with it,” Perozzi said. “Not everyone comes into this world on the same level. If you can’t listen and help people along the way, why are we here?”