Heading West – Global Program Introduction: Benjamin Asciutto

I’m so happy to be back on the Pitt Honors Blog for this summer. Last year, I was a Fellow in the Creative Arts Fellowship and produced my first documentary film on the pandemic’s effect on my hometown and what it means for suburbs across America. This summer, I am sticking with my passion for filmmaking and embarking on a journey West: Los Angeles.

I will be a student in Pitt’s Study Away Program called Pitt in LA: American Film Industry. The reasons for choosing this program align with who I am as a student and who I wish to be after my time at Pitt. I am a rising fourth-year dual-majoring in Film and Media Studies & Business with a minor in Italian. The reason I decided to pursue these two majors trace back to my roots as a kid growing up in New Jersey. My parents bought me my first camera when I was 14 for my first trip to Italy. Immediately, I fell in love with the camera and taking photographs. Combined with my clear love for movies, I felt inspired to pursue it academically in the form of a major in Film & Media Studies. My reason to study Business most logically came from the influence of everyone in my immediately family. My Dad was a corporate salesman, my mom works for a non-profit, and my sister is an account manager and Pitt Business graduate.

During my time at Pitt, I have been very fortunate to have such wonderful experiences. I am the Executive Producer of Pitt Tonight, Pitt’s one-and-only late night talk show on-campus, Creative Arts Fellow at Pitt’s Honors College and recently a recipient of the Summer Undergraduate Research Award for this summer.

This program directly ties into my professional goals here at Pitt. The entertainment industry, an industry I hope to be a part of, requires a network of connections and experience to truly succeed. The Pitt in LA Program is a rare chance to partake in both of those aspects. I will be taking two courses at one of the biggest independent studios in Hollywood, Lionsgate, as well as learning from industry professionals with 25+ guest speaker opportunities. I will also have the general test of seeing if Los Angeles is the right place for me after college.

In addition to all of that, with the Summer Undergraduate Research Award, I will be conducting interviews with Pitt Alumni who have succeeded in the film & entertainment industry as a part of a podcast series I am producing that will be public-facing for Pitt students. I hope to help students realize that a stable and attainable career is possible in humanities/arts-driven industries. Every industry needs its engineers, accountants, marketing directors and so many more. I am grateful that my podcast series will be elevated with the generous support of the Honors College, Career Center and Film & Media Studies Department.

In the meantime, please tune into my Pitt in LA ‘Takeover Series’ on Pitt’s Official Instagram on June 21st as well as my future Pitt Honors Blogs. Talk again soon!

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