Tonight, after our screening of Marie Antoinette, a female student who had worked with me before in an internship expressed reluctance to contact an alum who now works for a company where this student has applied for summer work. You see, said alum had worked in the same office, but, as I told her, not through our program. Even though this opportunity is something she really wants, she was hoping for that extra level of connection (which I was unable to provide) and felt shy about reaching out otherwise. I told her to do it anyway. She caviled.
So here is my unexpected "teachable moment," courtesy of Lynn Hirschberg's 2002 eye-rolling profile of Sofia Coppola, of all things. While we were talking, I had an epiphany. The other week I invited the students in my Anderson-Coppola class to close read Hirschberg's NYT piece with a jaundiced eye. We had fun noting how often the author used gendered language and invoked Coppola's girlishness and connectedness (read: nepotism) as essential to understanding the success of the director's then-nacent career. (Needless to say, no such thing came up when we were reading about Wes Anderson's career.) I told this student, essentially, What Would Sofia Coppola Do? "If Sofia Coppola wanted Bill Murray to star in her movie, she'd ask Wes Anderson to intervene if that's what it took. Then she'd call and call and call until she got what she wanted."
I hope this kid works her loose connection and lands the gig.