Kristen V. Carter
Kristen V. Carter, ’06, says rising to the creative challenges posed by her Hofstra professors helped build her confidence and make her the success she is today.
What are you doing now?
I am an entrepreneur, screenwriter and freelance television writer/producer. I own a company called JazziDreamer Entertainment, and through that I write music specials, reality shows and documentaries. When I graduated from Hofstra, my first job was as a show writer for an entertainment news show on BET. I also did other writing projects there, including speechwriting for the CEO. Then I transitioned to MTV, where among other things, I wrote the finale for “Making the Band 4”, which starred Sean “Diddy” Combs. Most recently, I worked as a story producer for an upcoming show on the OWN Network called “My Mom and Me,” and also as a story editor for a dance competition reality series that’s airing now called “Born to Dance”.
How did you choose Hofstra for your education?
I wanted to go into television, and when my mom and I came to the Open House, it just felt right. I passed up a full ride to Temple University, and it was well worth it. At the School of Communication, I always felt our professors treated us as young colleagues. They’re passionate about their work and they care about us, and it speaks volumes that I’m still in touch with them. I hold my senior year especially dear to my heart because I feel professors such as Randy Hillebrand and Dr. G [Peter Gershon] really challenged me. For AVF165, which is essentially like a senior thesis class where we have to produce a final show, we had to go out and ask for donations from local venues to pay for our sets. Part of my job now involves handling logistics like going to a store and asking if we can shoot there, so building that confidence and understanding how production works were things I learned at Hofstra.
So how did a game show seal your career path?
I love Wheel of Fortune, and applied at least five times a year for six years, and finally got the call to audition and then tape a show last Dec. 9 in Los Angeles. On Dec. 8, the director for the Cosby Fellowship (for screenwriters), which is also based in L.A., called to interview me and I told them I would be in town the very next day. A day after the show taping, a friend arranged an informational meeting for me with a reputable film company, and another acquaintance referred me to someone who was looking for a roommate. So, in a matter of three days in L.A., I had a fellowship, a job offer, and an apartment. That changes how you think about what you want to do because it was on my mind for a while to move out here, and the fact that the universe would align it so that I was in L.A. to receive it was amazing. I truly feel I’m meant to be here. (And I won $2000 on Wheel too!)
What’s your long-term goal?
I have so many! My overall goal is to connect communities through communication, and inspire people to activate their goals. For example, I want to develop a nation-wide arts enrichment program, starting first in my hometown, Newark, NJ, where kids would learn every aspect of creating shows for stage and television – much like what I did in AVF165. I also plan to write & produce feature films that will entertain and educate, and hopefully inspire a generation to do something positive in their respective communities. I’m living my dream, so I’m hoping to inspire others to go out on a limb to make theirs happen.