'Annie' director Will Gluck shares career advice

By: Breonna Freeman,  Cornell Chronicle
October 9, 2015

Will Gluck ’93, writer and director of the reimagined “Annie” movie, as well as “Easy A” and “Fired Up,” visited campus Oct. 16 to share career advice with students as this year’s Munschauer Career Series Speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences Career Development Center.

Gluck, who is based in Los Angeles, spoke to students about the challenges and rewards of working in the entertainment industry. 

He encouraged students to run as fast as they can toward their career goals during and after college. He gave an example of two jobs: one a dream job that pays less and the other a job that pays twice as much, but does not have all the interesting aspects that the dream job holds. Many would go for the job that pays more and try for the dream job at another time, but 10 years later, Gluck said, they find themselves stuck in the same boring position. 

Gluck encouraged students to choose the more interesting job, even if it pays less, and be willing to take lower-level jobs first, such as personal assistant, which can open the door for success in many job fields, but especially in the entertainment industry.

“It’s a very harsh world,” Gluck said of Hollywood. “It’s not school. It’s not Cornell.”  

Gluck said his liberal arts education allowed him to “do everything that I wanted to do,” even though he wasn’t sure of his career path while an undergrad.

Gluck’s company, Olive Bridge Entertainment, developed the new television show “Moonbeam City,” which recently premiered on Comedy Central and he is developing the drama “How to Disappear Completely,” for Columbia and Escape Artists, which tells the story of a piano prodigy who attempts to escape the scrutiny of his overprotective parents, a move that allows him to amass a fortune in the stock market and change the lives of those around him.

Gluck told of his start in the entertainment industry, gave tips for networking and encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities offered at Cornell because such experiences will make you stand out when interviewing for a job.

For example, while attending Cornell, Gluck took a course that focused on product branding and imaging. It was not a requirement for his Asian studies major and English minor, but he said it was an interesting course for him.

On job networking, Gluck told students that many people would rather receive a “snail mail letter” than an email, adding that he receives hundreds of emails a day. Gluck closed by answering numerous questions from students about the entertainment industry and the workforce there.

Breonna Freeman ’19 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.


More on Will Gluck:

Will Gluck '93 is a filmmaker with a uniquely authentic voice and an aim to create projects that reflect popular culture and captivate audiences.  Gluck has made a name for himself as a great comedic filmmaker who brings heart and a down-to-earth quality to all of his endeavors. Gluck most recently released the modern-day reimagining of "Annie," which he directed and co-wrote for Columbia Pictures. His company, Olive Bridge Entertainment, is currently preparing for the premiere of "Moonbeam City" for Comedy Central this September. Gluck made his feature directorial debut with 2009’s darkly funny"Fired Up." His second feature, "Easy A," released in September 2010 was a massive critical and financial success winning “Best Comedy Movie” at the Critics Choice Awards. Gluck is currently developing the drama "How to Disappear Completely" for Columbia and Escape Artists, which tells the story of a piano prodigy who attempts to escape the scrutiny of his overprotective parents, a move that allows him to amass a fortune in the stock market and change the lives of those around him. Gluck lives in Los Angeles with his family.

During his time at Cornell, Gluck, an Asian Studies major and English minor, started the theater group Upstage Left, worked as a disc jockey on WVBR, and completed a senior thesis in the form of a play. Following his graduation, he found a job as a production assistant in Hollywood, and later began his television/film career writing for "The John Larroquette Show."

The Munschauer Career Series was endowed by the former director of the Cornell University Career Center, John Munschauer, to provide funds for graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences to return to campus to benefit current students' career education. Past Munschauer speakers have included: Jeff Zalaznick, psychology '05, founder of Major Food Group restaurants; Natalie Bridgeman Fields, government '99, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Counsel and Jeffrey Gettleman, philosophy ’94, East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times.

Related Department or Program

Disciplines and Topics

Other News

View all news