“GoT,” “Sopranos” Producer Reflects on Career

Shining a light on the changing tides of the entertainment industry, Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television’s four-part series “The New Storytellers with Katie Ford” began with a discussion with the former president of HBO’s Entertainment Division. “The Beginning of the New” with Carolyn Strauss celebrated her accomplishments during the interview in Mayer Theater on Oct. 3, 2019. Over the hourlong conversation, Ford and Strauss discussed Strauss’s career path at HBO, developments within the entertainment industry, and the making of “Game of Thrones.”

One of the great things about HBO, Strauss said, “was that it wasn’t a fear-based culture in terms of creativity. You had the freedom to fail and I think in any creative endeavor you have to have room to fail. I failed a lot by the way. I learned so much more from the things that hadn’t worked than the things that have.”

Strauss is an executive producer most well known for her work on “The Sopranos,” “Sex in the City,” and “Game of Thrones.” She first found herself interested in HBO after working temp jobs there. She soon applied for several assistant positions and eventually worked her way up to become president of HBO’s Entertainment Division in 2008. Strauss has since left HBO to focus on her career as a producer.

The large crowd was comprised mainly of students from SFTV and others who have an interest in pursuing a career in the film industry. Many asked questions, a considerable number regarding “Game of Thrones.”

“From [Strauss] and [Ford], I took away that the TV and film industry has changed so much,” said Maria Chavarri, a first-year film, TV and media studies major. “It is so approachable and is changing with our generation. It’s not marked with the stereotype that would be the ‘straight white male.’ Now everyone can contribute and make something out of the industry for themselves.”

Ford’s notable writing credits include Miss Congeniality and Desperate Housewives. Ford’s notable writing credits include “Miss Congeniality” and “Desperate Housewives.” In a brief talk that opened the evening, Ford said her hope is that these conversations will help to demystify the entertainment industry as well as reflect on how the industry has changed in treating form, diversity and gender.

Ford also believes that art, even if it is in the form of television, is an act of love, and hopefully creators can do their best to have their love truly reach their audiences.

The event was the first of four weekly talks hosted by Ford in this fall’s SFTV in Conversation series. Click here to learn more about future guests and to RSVP.

Reporter Saffy Laurio is a first-year screenwriting major at LMU School of Film and Television.

Top photo: Host Katie Ford (Desperate Housewives, Miss Congeniality) and guest Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Sex and the City) kicked off the first of four “SFTV in Conversation” weekly talks this fall. Photo by Elli Lauren.