Join the Club of College Television Award Winners

  by Kate Spalla.

Julian, Sophie and Shirlyn jumpstarted their careers after their big wins.

When House M.D. director Greg Yaitanes announced Julian Higgins as the winner for “Best Directing” at the 32nd College Television Awards, they were strangers. Julian didn’t know that two years later, they would practically be texting buddies – Julian often texts Greg for career advice — and he certainly didn’t know he’d have the opportunity to direct an episode of House M.D. himself.

Julian is just one of the student honorees who started his career at the top. Joining the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences family has translated to industry recognition and strong relationships with experienced mentors for many College Television Award winners.

House M.D. director Greg Yaitanes (left) with Julian Higgins at the 32nd College Television Awards (Photo by Vince Bucci/PictureGroup)

From Thief to House M.D.
When Julian walked up to the stage, Greg was already familiar with his masters thesis film, Thief. Backstage, Greg and Julian shook hands and Greg started to ask Julian about his professional goals. The conversation ended with an invite to Greg’s office.

Over the following months, Greg gave Julian access to production meetings, location scouting, casting and on-set direction as Julian shadowed him. Julian’s persistence led to the ultimate offer from Greg. In January 2012, Julian directed an episode of House M.D. that aired in April.

“Winning a CTA doesn’t guarantee you what happened… the fact that I got hired was the result of the relationship that we built over a very long time, but without the CTAs we never would have made that connection,” Julian said. “The opportunities that were afforded to me by the College Television Award experience — I’m still just stunned by how they’re continuing to pay off.”

Student winner Sophie Schillaci at the 31st College Television Awards

360 degrees on the Red Carpet
On the night of the 31st College Television Awards, Sophie Schillaci walked the red carpet among celebrities, but she was mostly unrecognized going into the ceremony. She spotted staff from her former Access Hollywood internship working press, and did a quick interview with them as her star struck parents tagged along.

After the ceremony, Sophie was holding an Emmy and the cameras were on her. Just three years later, she’s on the other side of the red carpet shooting coverage for The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s definitely progressed a lot faster than I ever expected, and the CTAs certainly helps that.” Sophie said about her career. “People are always very impressed when you tell them that you’re a College Television Award winner.”

Sophie said although she found her job at The Hollywood Reporter through separate means, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences helped her make connections and meet with agents for advice after the College Television Awards.

Student winner Shirlyn Cesar at the 31st College Television Awards

Working it out, networking style
Shirlyn Cesar has kept in touch with contacts at the Academy of Television Art and Sciences since her win in 2010, and she still name drops the College Television Awards at networking events.

“Being able to put this on my resume is outstanding… you need that little bit that’s going to say, ‘hey, I worked really hard on this and got recognized for it early, before I even quote unquote, hit the industry,’” Shirlyn said.

Like Julian and Sophie, Shirlyn has soaked in mentors’ invaluable knowledge through opportunities made possible by the College Television Awards.

Do you want to join the club of CTA winners? You can apply for the 34th Annual College Television Awards before submissions close on January 29th. Submit your masterpiece now!