Creatives Meet with Mentors at Creative Career Summit

Q&A with Al Pitrelli at the Creative Career Summit

SPC’s first Creative Career Summit brought successful artists like Al Pitrelli, Esteban Valdez, and Josh Sullivan to the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus to speak to creatives among students and the community.

Head of the team – Al Pitrelli

The Oct. 19 event’s keynote speaker, Pitrelli has served as the musical director for musician Alice Cooper and played with bands like Megadeath and Blue Oyster Cult. He now is the musical musical director and lead guitarist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

As a musical director, Pitrelli brings the whole show together in the studio or on the road. He compared it to being the head coach of a football team. Instead of winning games, he works with band members and the lighting designer to create great albums and shows.

In addition to the keynote, Pitrelli hosted a long Q&A with students. During both, he stressed the importance of hard work, study, practice, and passion.

“You have to love this more than anything else,” Pitrelli said about working in the entertainment and music business. “You have to be a bit selfish, and you have to assume there’s somebody else out there that wants it just as much as you do. Forty years ago when I was 15-years-old, nothing else mattered other than practicing all day and all night. I’d rather be broke than do anything else. My advice to everyone is work like your life depends on it.”

Animation and Esteban Valdez

Esteban Valdez, founder of the award-winning animation studio Echo Bridge, gave a presentation about “5 Tips for Getting Hired.” It focused on the art of the job search and networking. The company changed its internship program over the summer to be more like a traditional apprenticeship with a focus on fundamentals. The goal, he said, is to have each intern produce a short by the end of their internship.

“A couple of students have said, ‘Now that I know that I can do a film, I’m already working on my second one.’ It gets them to keep on making shorts, keep on making animation.” said Valdez.

He is currently working on a short, “Alone”, which had been in production at the studio for the past two years. The film experiments with light, sound, and subliminal messaging. Valdez says it is a tribute to Stanley Kubrick.

From SPC art student to entrepreneur – Josh Sullivan

SPC alum and entrepreneur Josh Sullivan met with students and gave a presentation “From Art Student to Entrepreneur.” Sullivan graduated from SPC in 2015 and now is taking on his own interns from the college. He was nominated for an Ignatz Award in the Outstanding Mini-Comic category and won Best of the Bay: Best Bizarre Sense of Humor from Creative Loafing. His work was most recently shown at the Haus Coffee Shop in Largo.

The night also featured the Arts Conservatory for Teens, the Disney Internship program, Girls Rock St. Pete, J. Thor Productions, and

Interested in programs for creatives at SPC? Learn more online!

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