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IPELS Panel Provides Insightful Perspective of Entertainment Industry

On February 11, four seasoned entertainment professionals gathered at the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Society (IPELS) Entertainment Law 360 panel to share their experiences in the field.

IPELS President Jennifer Brown, who plans to become an entertainment lawyer, organized the panel as a joint event for Regent Law and School of Communication and the Arts students.

Sylvia Hutson, Derek Leonidoff, Jennifer Brown, Lou Isakoff, Mark Paladini
“I wanted to host an event that would educate others about the intricacies of the industry and what to expect when going into this field,” she says. “By inviting Regent Law and Communications students, I hope to begin a professional relationship between the two schools.”

The panel included local Talent Agent Sylvia Hutson of Hutson Talent Agency, Regent University and CBN General Counsel Lou Isakoff, Esq., Actor Derek Leonidoff, and Director, Producer, and Regent University School of Communication Professional-in-Residence Mark Paladini. The panelists encouraged students to work hard and work late, take risks, be creative, and be wary of unethical practices.

Attorney Lou Isakoff advised future entertainment lawyers that backgrounds in business law, labor law, international law, and accounting are extremely helpful. Overall, he says experience is the ideal training ground.

With more than 30 years of industry experience, Hutson cautioned students to be wary of “shady” practices. She described her experience with a talent school that invited her to critique students. When she asked to review the video of performances, she learned the company only pretended to record their clients. Huston says similar practices occur regularly, but there are no laws in place to protect aspiring actors.

Professor Paladini offered advice applicable to anyone who has ambitious professional dreams. He remarked that working long hours and doing grunt work are merely a rite of passage to success. His casting credits, which include well-known movies such as The Mask and Mortal Kombat, are a testament to his advice.

Actor Derek Leonidoff used humorous stories to encourage students that creativity opens doors of opportunity. He recounted his three attempts at establishing a relationship with an agent in California. After two rejections, he created an Easter basket that included toys for her dog, his photo, and his reel. He received a call from her, which initiated a relationship that has lasted about two decades.

Student feedback regarding the event has been strong. Brown, a third-year law student, hopes the events marks continued collaboration between Regent Law and the School of Communication.

Click here to view a video of the 360 Panel.

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