Michael Price, a 1981 alumnus of Montclair State University, best known for his nearly 20 years of work as an executive producer and scriptwriter for “The Simpsons,” came to the School of Communication and Media (SCM) 2.0 speaker event to discuss with students the importance of streaming media and how it can make or break their careers, as well as how scriptwriting has changed over the past decade.
Price began his discussion at the SCM Presentation Hall by giving some insight into his other works, while also sharing many laughs with the audience.
His first piece of advice to students was to use their social media platforms to their advantage while still in college because once they’re looking for a professional career, it’ll be a lot harder.
“There are people who have big followings and big Twitter feeds, and because of that, will get contacted for mainstream things,” Price said. “Whatever gets you engagement is great.”
Throughout the one-hour time slot of the event, Price repeated similar statements about following one’s dreams and how it will eventually lead them to success. Various students left the conversation feeling refreshed after gaining a new sense of inspiration to take with them.
Tiffany Rivera, a senior communication studies major, has recently been struggling to envision her success in the media world after she graduates next spring.
“Right now I’m a little lost,” Rivera said. “So, it gave me hope to hear him [say] that maybe one day I can be like him and work for a major company.”
Price also acknowledged that being a student in media today is much harder than ever before, mainly because you can do so many things that lead in different directions.
“It’s a lot of trial and error,” Price said. “I eventually was able to perform and develop in New York. And eventually, it gained attention and I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I can do this.'”
Sara Smolock is a sophomore animation and illustration major who, after listening to Price, is starting to discover where she wants to invest time in for her major.
“I learned a lot [from this] about how to get into the industry,” Smolock said. “He talked about how to invest in new ways to get involved that are different from what he did to get to where he is. When he said, ‘get invested in different things,’ I remembered that a lot.”
Students also had the opportunity to ask Price about his time working within a writers’ room before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how it all changed for him last March.
“We went from having eight people in a writers’ room to everyone working at home, just like that,” Price said. “They told us that hopefully by next year we will be able to fully come back, but who knows? We may be like this for a while.”
Students nodded along in agreement as Price went into further detail about what a writers’ room looks like under normal conditions.
This especially stood out to Gianna Daginis, a freshman film and television major.
“[I] enjoyed hearing him talk about the creative process,” Daginis said. “Hearing him talk about what goes on in the writers’ room was really insightful for me.”
This event is a part of a new initiative to bring popular media professionals closer to the undergraduates not only at SCM, but the university as a whole. Price is just one of many who will come to Montclair State to discuss their role in their respected media field and give hope to future media professionals who’ve spent the past year and a half online.