College Students Express Need for More Conversations on Arts & Entertainment

_DSC0728-Edit-Edit-2On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, I produced my very first panel on arts and entertainment at Montclair State University, which included a last-minute adjustment to the speakers’ list, the talented actor-producer-writer-director Adrian Martinez  who was game to join the conversation a day before the event after one of the panelists canceled due to film shooting commitments. If you want to produce, you have to ready for such changes and be quick to reach out to your contacts to ensure the production continues on track. Adrian, whom can be seen on so many films, TV shows and commercials that I feel remiss mentioning  just one, has supported me before when he sat with me in a studio to record an interview for LatinSlate, a podcast I hosted and produced when I was the public relations chair for the New York Chapter of NALIP. In addition, I am in deep gratitude for all who participated in this event: moderator Courtney A. Fitzgibbons who recently joined MSU’s College of the Arts as the Director of Career Services; percussionist-drummer-singer Karina Colis, Grammy-Award winning music producer Steve Pageot;  music producer Roman Rojas, engineer on the 2015 Grammy nominated record, “Chino y Nacho for Babies” (Chino y Nacho); and of course Memorial Auditorium’s manager and crew who ensured the event flowed without a glitch, Gene Lotito, Michael J. Aquino and the amazing team.

Slide1But we were all gathered to connect and motivate students who joined us to hear how they can prepare for careers in the competitive world of arts and entertainment. As an independent multimedia producer, I have been working with college students on various of my projects, bringing them on to gain hands-on experience and college credit, including my most recent intern, Parker Robinson who works with me on a HourGlass, a podcast I host and produce with acclaimed choreographer, director Maria Torres, who is  currently on the creative team of the Broadway Musical On Your Feet. This experience has inspired me more than I can ever contribute to a student’s industry skills. Each student has brought passion, talent and an unwavering commitment to their craft, which continues to awe me with each experience. I learn more from them than I can share. It is truly one of the most rewarding professional experiences I’ve had, and on the personal level it has touched me to continue work that in some way helps me pay it forward, or serve as a mentor type.

After Courtney Fitzgibbons concluded the panel discussion, we all had the opportunity to meet with students who expressed deep interest in attending more of these types of discussions to help them connect with working artists across disciplines. Apparently, this was also the first time MSU hosted this type of event – a panel discussion with professional artists discussing Arts & Entertainment matters at Memorial Auditorium, a 988-seat multi-cultural presentation/performance venue.

Arts & Entertainment Panel on 9/30 at Montclair State University Distinguished Entertainment Industry Professionals

Arts and Entertainment Panel Coming to Montclair State University on 9/30

Distinguished Entertainment Industry Professionals to Share Experiences with College Students

I’d like to thank Julia Siegel, a talented college student at MSU, for crafting a press release of the upcoming event I’m producing at Montclair State University.

– Giovanna



News Release

September 15, 2015


Contact Information:

Julia Siegel

Montclair State University

Phone: 973-525-9834



MONTCLAIR, NJ – Montclair State University’s CART Career Services is teaming up with Giovanna Aguilar to present the first ever Arts and Entertainment Panel on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. The panel will be held at Montclair State University’s Memorial Auditorium from 3-5pm and will include four entertainment industry professionals*: Grammy Award winning artist Steve Pageot, world-renowned choreographer Maria Torres, producer/musician Roman Rojas, and Latin American musician Karina Colis. Each panelist will share their personal journeys to success and give keen insight on how to advance one’s career in the entertainment and arts industries. The panel is free and open to students of all majors.

Co-producer Giovanna Aguilar has helped to construct the panel by inviting a few of her colleagues to speak about what she calls “one of the most competitive fields in the arts” – the music industry. She hopes that the panel will illustrate key concepts of success for students, such as how professionals put their best foot forward, being resourceful, continuing to follow one’s dreams even when times are tough, coping with rejection when applying for jobs, how to market and network one’s self, and being proactive in one’s field. Aguilar says that these are all “transferable experiences that are applicable to any field,” which is why she is inviting students of all majors to attend. She said, “All majors can benefit from hearing real-life experiences of what it means to follow a passion and build a career around it.”

Aguilar says she created the panel because “working with college students has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me both personally and professionally.” She wants students to have the experience in college that she never had – having a professional contribute as mentors. She wants college students to understand what the future will hold and what “the real world” is truly like. She says that “education is the key to success,” which is why she hopes the panel will inspire students to follow their dreams. The most intriguing part of the panel should be when the audience gets to ask questions to the panelists. Aguilar hopes that this will help “to draw a bridge between the dream of being an artist and the reality of what it takes to be a working-professional artist in the entertainment industry, and that through the conversation students can be inspired to build their path to success with these shared experiences – knowledge.”

Aguilar is a writer, producer, and director of films. She runs Candesco Productions, a multimedia content production company. According to her website,, she is a versatile writer who has developed content for print and digital media. She is currently producing the multi grant-awarded documentary “DreamTown,” which can be seen in short form on PBS’s “Frontline World Rough Cut.” Aguilar is also currently writing a feature-length film script.

According to, Steve Pageot won a Grammy Award for his engineering work on Aretha Franklin’s “Wonderful.” He is a music composer, producer, engineer and mixer. Steve worked under famed producer Ron Lawrence, whose clients include Diddy, B.I.G., and LL Cool J, which led him to earn a platinum plaque for Krayzie Bone’s “Thug Mentality 1999.” Steve went to score some of MTV’s shows, including Rob and Big and Run’s House. He has composed and produced music for many television shows and a few films.

Maria Torres is an award winning choreographer and director for Broadway shows, television series, and films. According to her website, she starred in six-time Tony Award nominated Broadway show “Swing!” and appeared in the film “Dance with Me” starring Vanessa Williams. She is a two-time CLEO Award winner for her choreography and a two-time Choreography Festival Awards winner as a guest choreographer on the television series “So You Think You Can Dance.” Maria also worked on the choreography for the Academy Award nominated Disney film “Enchanted.” She is a member of the creative team for the upcoming Broadway musical “On Your Feet” and is involved in co-host Giovanna Aguilar’s podcast “HourGlass.”

Roman Rojas is a music producer and songwriter from Venezuela. According to, he worked for music production company JSM Music, where he headed the company’s Hispanic division. He also wrote music for many companies’ commercials, including Subway and Adidas. His work can also be heard in television shows, like “Real Housewives of Miami,” and the film “Drunk Wedding.”

Karina Colis is a Latin American musician, percussionist, drummer, vocalist, and composer. According to, she has her work portrayed in more than fifteen albums. Her work can be heard the travel and lifestyle television show, “Raw Travel.” She has worked and performed with artists from all around the world.

Aguilar would like to thank Pauline Allen, Melissa Faulkner, Courtney Fitzgibbons, and Montclair State University for the opportunity of producing her first event. She says she will be developing the event “into a broader full-day event with speakers across industries and with relevant workshops that can help students prepare for careers not only in the arts but across a spectrum of industries that are continually reliant on creative minds – creative leaders for innovation.”

The Arts and Entertainment Panel is being co-hosted by Pauline Allen, the Director of Employer Relations at Montclair State University’s CART Career Service. Any further questions about the event should be directed to Allen at All attending students should register to for the event on the CART webpage and bring their Student ID’s to the event.

*Panelists are subject to change.


HBO/NALIP Grant-Awarded Documentary Wins Finishing Funds

Ecuadorian Film Commission Awards Post Production Grant to Dreamtown

July 5, 2015 – As one of the producers of the multi grant-awarded documentary —HBO/NALIP, NALAC, NYWIFT — DreamTown is honored to receive yet another grant, but this time the honor comes from Ecuador’s National Film Council, El Consejo Nacional de Cinematografía (CNCine).  Betty Bastidas the film’s director traveled to Ecuador on June 29, 2015 for the competition, which selected her 5-year project among top film projects in the country.

Dreamtown follows three Afro-Ecuadorian soccer players at different stages of their careers as they navigate through the winding road of professional soccer in their quest to play the sport they love to help their families overcome poverty. DreamTown can be seen in short form on PBS’s Frontline World Rough Cut.

Maria Torres and Giovanna Aguilar Proudly Present the First Episode of the Podcast HourGlass

On a winter walk around a frozen lake nearly two years ago, Maria Torres and Giovanna Aguilar wondered: “How can we pay it forward as artists and create content that matters to us?”

We invite our friends to tune in to our answer —HourGlass Time to Talk, a dynamic podcast that shares the artist’s journey with personal stories that define not just the work but also what have shaped the person’s humanity. From the stage to the silver screen to the recording to the writer’s keyboard, HourGlass celebrates the artist’s voice across all mediums.

On the first segment of our episode #1, we introduce our show’s mission then follow up with the highly entertaining segment “Kick, Ball, Change—Keep it Moving with Maria Torres,” spotlighting the mishaps that happen when performing for a live audience and how these are aptly suited as metaphors for recovery after a misstep in real life. On the launch of this highly entertaining segment, Maria Torres talks with Sylvia Roldán Dohi who was a swing on Miss Saigon for 10 years on Broadway.

Stay tuned for our upcoming episodes with exciting hot topics from Broadway and Beyond.

HourGlass – Time to Talk is a SAG New Media audio podcast conceived Maria Torres and co-producer Giovanna Aguilar.

HourGlass Team:

Special Guest: Sylvia Roldán Dohi

Recording Studio: Madpan Productions

Music Theme and Sound Mix: Roman Rojas 

Sound Engineering: Peter Scozzari


Marion Lozano
Parker Robinson

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