Duke is no stranger to recruitment season, with each fall marked by visits from major banks, tech companies and consulting firms. But for students interested in the creative and entertainment industries, the traditional recruitment offerings give little opportunity to establish solid connections.
Whether their entertainment interests lie in theater or sports, DEMAN was founded in 2009 to help students network, find jobs or internships and discover important resources in the arts. DEMAN, short for Duke Entertainment, Media and Arts Network, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The event, traditionally a one-weekend event in the fall semester connecting students with alumni in creative industries, has quickly grown into a vital community for students intent on finding an entertainment-related career.
When Duke shifted to remote learning in the spring, DEMAN Live premiered due to “an immediate need to help Dukies find jobs, internships, helpful humans and creative industry resources during these unprecedented times,” according to Amy Unell, senior director of arts engagement & partnerships at Duke.
The first iteration of DEMAN Live, referred to as “season one,” featured a series of conversations hosted over Zoom with Duke alumni working in creative industries. DEMAN Live will continue after the first season’s success, with the season two premiere on August 27th featuring the Duke alumni creatives behind the Beats By Dre commercial and Guilty By Association Studios.
Students can attest to DEMAN’s value, with the event providing exposure to what can seem like a mysterious, inaccessible industry.
“Growing up as a son of immigrants, career paths in Tinseltown weren’t discussed in conversations,” senior Harrison Yue said. “Not because of a lack of support, but primarily due to the lack of exposure and understanding of the industry in [my] close circles.”
For many, DEMAN helps foster creativity and initiative while also providing important networking connections.
“DEMAN is the reason why I was able to obtain my first internship in freshman year at Brand Assembly. I met the founder, Hillary France, at DEMAN weekend. She offered me a marketing internship where I had an incredible amount of freedom to pursue any project I wanted,” junior Lydia Wang said. “As a highly ambitious and self-driven person, I took full advantage of that flexibility and started my own beauty industry market research project…I have met many other amazing people through DEMAN and Duke Arts who have really helped guide me in my career choices as well as encouraged my creativity.”
Following the same format as in the spring, season two of DEMAN offers a fresh drop of Zoom conversations. On Sept. 16, DEMAN will host a special screening of “Miss Juneteenth,” which had its premiere at Sundance 2020. Afterwards, writer and director Channing Godfrey Peoples and producer Neil Creque Williams (Trinity ’06) will join for a filmmaker Q+A.
Sept. 17 will introduce Delta Rae, a Durham band with two Duke alumni brothers that gained significant traction after a Kickstarter funding project. Further unannounced DEMAN Live episodes are also in the works.
Although in-person contact has been lost, DEMAN Live has found invaluable benefit in their online format. Alumni who previously were unable to travel to Durham due to personal and professional commitments can now participate in episodes, and the program’s success has displayed DEMAN’s strong support for one another despite the challenges.
Nicole Schlegal (Trinity ’02), Digital Marketing Director at Universal Pictures, was not able to attend DEMAN last year but collaborated with DukeCreate and DEMAN Live during the first season to discuss Universal’s marketing strategies. Connecting with potential alumni speakers involves both DEMAN organizers reaching out and interested alumni offering themselves, resulting in broad industry representation. Season one offerings, which ran from April 15 to July 30, included episodes ranging from late night comedy to entertainment law.
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More details are forthcoming on future DEMAN Live season two episodes, and the roster for upcoming and past episodes can be found at https://arts.duke.edu/deman-live/.