Hometown: Powder Springs, GA
Why did you apply for the Johnson Opportunity Grant? I applied because I wanted to take a chance and see if the entertainment business was something that I could see myself doing as a career. So I figured LA, and SB Projects in particular, was the best place to test myself and my career aspirations
How does your work under the grant apply to your studies at W&L?
There is an unremarkable amount of sociology behind marketing in the music industry. My background in sociology gave me a greater understanding of certain cultural aspects involved with creating, cultivating, and captivating a fan base. The marketing and advertising classes I've taken at W&L provided me with the foundation to think creatively about a solution to a problem, while also using the structure required of a liberal arts education.
Favorite W&L Memory: Spring Term Abroad 2012 - Galway
Favorite W&L Event: Homecoming
Favorite Campus Landmark: The Colonnade
Why did you choose your major? Sociology provides a great foundation for understanding people and the world around you, which is useful in any career
Advice for prospective or first-year students? Try new things. If you're the same person when you graduate as you were when you came in, you did something wrong.
Photo: Scooter Braun, Kelton Buchanan and Brad Haugen
Kelton Buchanan is a Sociology major with a minor in women's and gender studies from Powder Springs, Ga. He traveled to Los Angeles, Ca. to complete an entertainment marketing internship at Scooter Braun Projects, which directly manages the entertainment careers of Asher Roth, The Wanted and Justin Bieber.
Coming into this summer I had no idea what to expect of my internship. Everything, from the Johnson Grant to my housing to my course credit approval came together in a very short amount of time. I had never been out to Los Angeles and had only really heard the stereotypical stories about the entertainment industry being full of artificial and self-interested people.
My internship with Scooter Braun Projects changed my mind on day one.
The first day I started work, we had a meeting with the COO (Scott Manson), CMO (Brad Haugen), and the office manager (Victoria Mejia) to outline the internship, in terms of projects and schedule. After the meeting ended, the other intern (John) and I were planning to just go back and start working on some ideas. A few minutes later, we get an e-mail that Scooter was taking the staff to Disneyland to watch Captain EO in remembrance of Michael Jackson. This type of "on-the-fly" excitement would become the standard for my summer in Los Angeles and let me know this wasn't your typical 9-5 internship.
Scooter Braun has risen to the top of the music/entertainment industry in recent years. His company, Scooter Braun Projects, includes SB management, Schoolboy Records, and an emerging media department. Scooter is the man behind the success of Justin Bieber and he and his team also manage the careers of Cody Simpson, Asher Roth, The Wanted and Carly Rae Jepsen. Braun was recently featured on the cover of Billboard magazine's 40 under 40 edition.
SB Projects was moving into new office space, so we spent a lot of time in the beginning putting together various products, like a ping pong table and a grill, and generally helping set up the office. We had no problem doing this because the staff was so cool about the internship and helped us out so much on a day to day basis.
Over the course of my internship I had the opportunity to engage in and observe a wide array of the music/entertainment business. I had the chance to view how day-to-day artist management works with Australian teen singer Cody Simpson and his manager, Matt Graham. Between checking in on dance rehearsals and visiting the set of a clothing commercial shoot, I was able to get an inside look into the daily management of a musician and learn so much about management. The most rewarding part of this was seeing all the hard work that Cody and his manager put into their upcoming tour translate into an amazing sold-out show at the OC State Fair.
John and I were given many projects throughout the summer, and one of our main tasks was marketing for Asher Roth. We got the chance to sit down with him a few times and see how an artist and their vision impact and influence strategy. Asher is coming off a successful album release in 2009 that saw him sell 300,000+ albums, and he's coming out with a new album in the fall. We spent a good amount of time coming up with ideas that will hopefully be seen over the coming months and help Asher Roth reach new heights.
Scooter Braun Projects is also involved in startup companies and investments. I was able to sit in on a meeting with the founders of Stamped (a cool peer recommendation app that you all should check out!) and learn about their strategy. Throughout my time at the internship, I also did some market research on other potential investments as well. The venture capital side of the company was intriguing because most people wouldn't normally associate musicians with startup investments, but what SB Projects is doing is revolutionary, and is changing the industry. Along with the investment opportunities, we were afforded the chance to pitch a marketing strategy and partnership based on our ideas and research for the European band, The Wanted, and a major corporation that has a chance to come through.
When I found out at the beginning of the summer that I would be in Los Angeles, I decided to take the time to reach out to some alums in the area, and a few were able to meet with me. I met Keith Rauch, a marketing director at 20th Century Fox, at the studios for lunch and a discussion that ranged from the marketing of movies to life at W&L. Later in the month, I was able to meet with Matt LaMotte and Greg Castronuovo. LaMotte is a marketing director at Interscope Records and has been involved with acts Nero, LCD Soundsystem and Eva Simons. Castronuovo is the president of OMD West, which is the west coast branch of the biggest media agency in the world. Both were extremely generous with their time, and I can't thank them enough for their advice. The Washington and Lee alumni network is truly amazing, and I can't wait until I graduate so I can help current students.
Overall this summer has given me some of the best experiences of my life, working with some of the most genuine people. Going in, I didn't think that I would be able to work so closely with Brad, Scott and Scooter, but it was quite the opposite. Speaking from someone that is interested in the music/entertainment industry, this internship was invaluable and genuinely the best experience I could have asked for. From the first day of the internship to the last, I felt I was doing valuable work with some really great people, and that's all you can ask for.
Special thanks to Victoria Mejia, Brad Haugen, Scooter Braun, Scott Manson, Matt Graham, Olivia Zaro, John Frank, Zac Cohen, Nano Tissera, Steve Kopec, Kenny Hamilton, Allison K Scarinzi, David Appleton, Asher Roth, and Melissa Victor
Thanks to W&L alums Brad Haugen, Keith Rauch, Matt LaMotte, and Greg Castronuovo