By: EMILY YUSSUM
Most students wait for the end of college to pursue a huge career break. But IU South Bend senior LaToria Land isn’t like most students.
Land was in charge of a casting call for a reality TV show created at the end of last year. The show, “Dakor,” focuses on a “nerdy” blend of comic books, animes, video games and rapping, where the cast goes to different events and conventions to rap.
“It’s something I’m just now getting to experience with my partners,” Land said.
Finishing up her last semester to graduate with a journalism major and a Spanish minor, Land had received opportunities from working for the campus newspaper. Working as a staff writer for The Preface, she said, gave her good references to work at the ABC 57 news last summer.
“Working with the newspaper definitely opened up those opportunities, because I don’t think I would’ve gotten the job at the news station without working for the Preface,” Land said.
Land is partnered with four other members in her reality TV endeavor, one of which is her husband and another couple, as well as a producer of a record label named Dreambridge Recordings LLC.
She and her husband had been working with the other couple for almost two years and, with a suggestion from Entertainment One, they came up with a concept for the show.
“We weren’t really looking for it,” Land said. “It just clicked and happened.”
Land’s production team first came up with the idea in December, started casting in the first weeks of January, and now is a few weeks into filming. The team would like their pilot season to be done by June, a time when networks begin shopping for new shows.
Since the beginning of the year, Land has introduced open casting for anyone interested in working with her and her team before the production actually began. She admitted she had two people in mind while casting and found several good people to work with before filming began.
Land and her team drew inspiration from the television show, “The Big Bang Theory.” To Land, it’s been like “The Big Bang Theory” meets reality TV.
“And it’s something so new, it’s not out there yet,” Land said. “We don’t know where it’s going to go, but we have a feeling it’s going to be huge.”
As a student and now a working professional, Land isn’t too worried about finding time between work and homework. With only one class to focus on, she is able to film on weekends and edit the footage during the week.
“It doesn’t seem as time consuming as it is. So it happened at the perfect time,” Land said.
Despite not having a definite title, Land has become the backbone for her crew and has connected with her partners on a professional and personal level.
“You have to get very personal with the people you work with,” Land said. “I’m the one who talks to the cast members. If you’re in trouble, you’re getting a call from me. If you need something, you’re also going talk to me.”
Beyond college, Land hopes she is able to continue working with the show for a long time. When a network buys the show, she knows she and her partners are going to have to hire a whole company to manage it.
Along with the reality show, Land aspires to make her way into the fashion world.
“We’re aggressively ready to attack everything that comes our way,” she said.
Land also gave some insightful advice to her fellow, soon-to-graduate students who wonder about life after college.
“You’ll have a period, especially when you’re close to being done with college, where you might worry about what to do after college,” Land said. “When the time comes and you’re given an opportunity, make sure you set yourself up and actually take care. Life will happen and give you something good.”