Belmont West: How Belmont Transports Students to the Heart of Hollywood

Los Angeles spelled out in tile on a wall
Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business

Belmont West: How Belmont Transports Students to the Heart of Hollywood

April 1, 2024 | by Cara Davis

For students dreaming of making it big in the entertainment industry, Belmont offers an incredible opportunity to get a head start through its immersive Belmont West and Belmont in Hollywood programs, part of the Belmont USA program offered through Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education (ISGE). 

feature-belmont-west-caleb-pierce-headshot.jpgCaleb Pierce, the onsite program manager for Belmont West, sheds light on how these LA programs prepare students for careers in the competitive world of film, TV, music and more. For prospective students looking to understand what to expect from Belmont’s LA programs, Pierce says the goal “is really to immerse them in the industry and set them up with the experience, training and connections to pursue their dreams after graduation.”

Pierce brings firsthand experience and passion to his role. A Texas native, Caleb graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre from Abilene Christian University before moving to LA to pursue an acting career. Since arriving in Hollywood, he has landed recurring, guest star and co-star roles on popular shows like The Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy, Insecure, Veep and The Fairly OddParents. He is also a proud member of SAG and the voice actor behind Zack Fair in the new Final Fantasy video game reboot. Along with his wife Megan, Caleb is driven by a desire to nurture the next generation of entertainers and help others achieve their biggest dreams in the industry.

By relocating to Los Angeles for a semester, Belmont in Hollywood students can gain valuable real-world experience through internships at major studios, production companies and entertainment businesses. They also get the chance to make vital industry connections and receive mentorship from working professionals.

What is Belmont West and Belmont in Hollywood?

Pierce: Belmont West (semester) and Belmont in Hollywood (summer) are programs where students can come out to Los Angeles and get integrated in the culture by interning at some of the big studios like Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures or smaller studios as well. The goal is to learn what the LA work culture is like. We also introduce our students to a community of Belmont alumni and friends of Belmont so that they have a network of people they know and can trust if they're thinking about moving to LA after graduation.

Can you describe the housing situation for students in the program?

The students stay at Ava Toluca Hills, which is in between Burbank and Hollywood, a very safe neighborhood right in the heart of LA next to major studios. There can be up to four students in a two-bedroom unit, so you'd have a roommate and then two other suitemates. The units are fully furnished, so it's like moving into an extended stay hotel.

What kinds of internship opportunities are available for students?

We have students interning at some really great companies. For example, this semester we have a student interning at Kennedy/Marshall, the company that works with Steven Spielberg on films like Jurassic Park. Another student is working as a PA on a movie with Matthew McConaughey. In the past, we've had students intern at major studios like Warner Brothers and smaller independent production companies.

What kind of support and guidance do students receive in finding internships?

It is the student's responsibility to land an internship, but we have a whole team supporting them. Part of my job is maintaining relationships out here in LA, finding out what companies are looking for interns and when they're accepting applications. I'll send that information to our incoming students and follow up on their behalf with recruiters at their dream companies. We also provide training on how to interview for the companies they're interested in.

Are there any opportunities for students to get acting training or experience while in the program?

Definitely. A lot of students take advantage of acting classes out here that are taught by working professionals and focus specifically on what's trending in the industry right now. We also bring in guest speakers every week, some of whom are just starting their careers and others who are very established like the producer of Stranger Things we had last summer. Students get the chance to network and make connections.

What is the motivation for industry professionals to work with and mentor students in the program?

I think a big part of it is wanting to give back and help the next generation coming into the industry. A lot of our guest speakers and mentors had someone do that for them when they were starting out, so they pay it forward. About half of our mentors are actually Belmont alumni themselves, so they have a connection to the school. People in this industry really want to lend a helping hand to students chasing their dreams.


"Half of our mentors are actually Belmont alumni themselves, so they have a connection to the school. People in this industry really want to lend a helping hand to students chasing their dreams."

Caleb Pierce


What is the typical path that students interested in pursuing a professional career in Hollywood after the program might take?

I love that question! Many start as assistants, which is common. For instance, aspiring screenwriters might assist at an agent's desk representing screenwriters or work in development at a production company. This hands-on experience allows you to witness firsthand how representatives interact with writers, understand development and grasp all the intricacies. Recently, we had a guest speaker who is both a Belmont alum and a film producer. She just released a project on Disney Plus and began her journey as a receptionist at the company she currently produces for. As for actors, they often seek flexible jobs to accommodate auditions. It's typical for an actor to book around 1 out of every 50 auditions, so it's a considerable time investment. Last year, one of our acting students earned her first LA acting credit while still in the program, which was thrilling! My hope is that this program provides them with the resources, connections and direction to truly pursue their dreams post-graduation!

How does the Belmont program help set students up for success in such a competitive industry?

The big advantage is making those key introductions and connections. You can be the most talented actor, but if you don't know the right people, you won't get into the right audition rooms. Our program gives you a foot in the door to meet agents, managers, producers and create relationships. We also have professors and alumni who stay invested in students' careers after graduation, connecting them to job opportunities when possible. Having that support system is huge for riding the emotional rollercoaster of chasing your dreams in LA.

To be eligible for Belmont West, students must have completed at least 64 credit hours and be of junior standing by the program start date. International students may not be eligible due to visa requirements. Interested students should check the website at for the next application deadline and full details on applying to this immersive LA internship experience.

Caleb Pierce gives an overview of Belmont West.

Learn more about Belmont USA programs: