Many television and media professionals have big Hollywood dreams, and Michael Gaskins (MS Television & Media Management ‘21) is no different. But as Michael’s story demonstrates, the road to Los Angeles is not always a straight path. In fact, his story is a testament that perseverance, a focus on networking, and a dedication to the craft can help turn opportunities into dreams come true.
Michael entered the Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in Television & Media Management in 2018. Before starting the master’s program at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Michael had a lengthy career in the television and media industry that began in 1994. Despite his years of experience working in newsrooms from Memphis to Philadelphia and even leading his own non-profit organization that intertwined his television skills and religious roots by helping Philadelphia-area prisoners and ex-offenders successfully navigate a re-entrance to society, Michael held on to his dreams to be part of a team creating content in LA.
A few months before graduation from the program, Michael connected with another Television & Media Management Master’s Candidate who resides in the LA area and works as a freelance producer on a variety of productions. That connection led Michael to an opportunity in Lexington, Kentucky. He packed his bags and made the ten-hour drive west, where he joined Wrigley Media Group as an Associate Producer working on the launch of “Relative Justice,” an arbitration-based reality court show featuring Judge Rhonda Wills.
Michael came back to Pennsylvania in the summer to receive his master’s degree during Drexel University’s graduation ceremonies, held at Citizens Bank Park in the heart of Philadelphia. His next stop was Culver City, California, where Michael landed a gig on the production team behind “Judy Justice,” a legal show starring Judge Judy Sheindlin. After production wrapped on that show, he landed a gig as a casting associate for the new show, “Judge Steve Harvey,” with production in LA.
Michael says the past few months have been a whirlwind of excitement surrounding a career he never gave up on. “I feel like I am finally living out my professional dreams, and it’s an incredible experience," said Michael. “I’m connecting with creative minds that share the same vision for the future of the television and media industry. It’s just indescribable to be able to pull all the skills I have developed over the years and those I learned in the Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in Television & Media Management together to make this lifelong dream come true,” he added. “When I entered the Television & Media Management Graduate Program, I shared my professional goals with my professors. Not only did they encourage me to continue pursuing those dreams, but they also opened doors and made connections for me that helped make all this possible. The networking aspect of the Television & Media Management Program is a robust feature you do not often find in other graduate programs. That aspect, combined with the carefully planned curriculum and genuinely caring professors are what make this program so special.”
Michael is already lining up professional opportunities after his current show wraps production. His story is testimony to the importance of sticking with your goals, equipping yourself with the knowledge needed to make your dreams come true, and creating the network to open doors to new opportunities.
Watch for Michael's name in the credits as he continues to make an impact on the television industry.