Zig Gauthier: From Small Town to Big Screen

Zig Gauthier, MBA '98 is a true professional, and ever so positive. His life motto is: “Life is a journey and people who are happy and successful are those who learn from mistakes and find positivity in challenges.” Zig is a producer in the entertainment industry with over 10 years of experience as a television executive at several networks and studios. His career pathway has included owning his own production company and developing content for prestigious studios such as ABC, CBS and Amazon. 

Growing up in the mountains of Northern California, Zig had humble beginnings in his hometown of around 100 people. He brought that small-town experience and the values he gained with him when he moved to the big city of Los Angeles.

Make Sure You Pay Your Dues

Anyone who's familiar with the entertainment industry knows that the best way to get your foot in the door is as an intern, then an assistant. Zig’s path was no different. He worked for several years as an assistant, and experienced everything that comes along with that role. Eventually, he moved over to the network side. He was able to work his way up and become an executive for three networks. Later, he decided that the producing side was what he was most interested in. It may sound tantalizing to develop shows and make decisions, but the job also comes with long hours, tight budgets and difficult decisions. 

His recommendation to students? Do as many internships as possible. You get an opportunity to try out various career paths with little down side. As the consummate professional, he also noted that show business is a competitive, professional industry. Anyone who wants to be successful in the industry must gain a full understanding of what it means to be professional, including the way you dress, speak and conduct yourself when working on projects.

Why an MBA?

Though it wasn’t the bluff that brought Zig to the Los Angeles area (he went to UCLA for his undergraduate studies), he became a Lion once he set his sights on receiving an MBA. As the entertainment marketplace evolved, he knew he needed to have a better understanding of the industry as a whole. Working in the industry provided a solid foundation that his professors built upon in the program. Learning the interworkings of the entertainment business and expanding his professional network helped launch his career in a new and exciting direction.

Written by Lindsay Western, MBA '17