Mai Nguyen: Co-Creator of "The Hill" & Vice President of Golden Eagle Productions

We all have our favorite TV shows; most of us admire them, few of us try to make them, and rarely do people actually succeed. Mai Nguyen, and the rest of Golden Eagle Productions (GEP) have just done that. GEP launched their first show "The Hill" last fall, and has been screening on Housing Channel 8 as well as YouTube. As co-creator of the show and Vice President of GEP, Mai has her hands full with all kind of original programming goodness. We talked to the senior Television, Film and Media major about how she joined GEP and helped create "The Hill." 



What made you choose Cal State LA? 

It's in the right location. I grew up in suburbia and hated it. This school had both of the programs I wanted, and other programs I was interested in at the time. I figured my mountain of student loan debt would be relatively low, too.


What made you want to pursue film? 

I've always loved a good story growing up, which translated to watching TV shows & movies. I grew up watching dubbed Korean and Chinese dramas with my mom, enjoyed a bit of theatre work in school, and was fascinated with how movies were made. I always loved watching behind-the-scene videos, too. So I thought, "Why not?"


Tell us about your history with GEP.

I joined at-the-time GETv (now GEP) my sophomore year, and just shadowed some of the crew covering events. I became an exec in junior year, got to work with a passionate team, and we kicked off our original programming in Winter Quarter that year after forming an agreement with Housing Services to broadcast on their channel.



How did "The Hill" come about? 

Despite all the different shows were doing at the time, the other execs and I really wanted to produce a fun original series. We kicked around ideas for different shows, and I suggested why not a show about young adulthood? We deal with a lot growing up and going to college. Granted, some are legitimate concerns, some maybe not so much, but that's the fun of growing up. K.J. joined the club soon after and pitched this great pilot script called "The Hill", about six high school students. Since our ideas were similar enough, we took both and ran with it. We tweaked things here and there, added some characters, changed others, and aged them up a few years. We really wanted a diverse group of students in all aspects, that would embody the population of Cal State LA. I met Aubrey in class during Winter quarter, and got her onboard in Spring quarter, and by May we were casting.


What was your favorite part about making the show? 

Hands down, it's the fun the cast and crew all have on set together. Everyone works so incredibly hard with the little resources we have, and I'm forever grateful to them for it, but we also have a lot of fun as we would spending time with friends. Some days are long and hard with something inevitably going wrong, but at the end of the day, I've been very lucky to meet and work with some amazing people who I'm glad to call my friends now. It sounds totally cliché, but it's true.



Which Hill character is your favorite?   

That's tough one! I always compare it to picking a favorite child, whenever someone asks me. I guess I don't really have a favorite character. I love all of them for different reasons. Each character has some aspect that I can relate to. Our actors are all so awesome, as well. They all bring something to the table and add so much to the characters we have written on the page.


What's next for GEP? 

We're going to continue our programming of travel, cooking, and trivia shows, and news coverage. We have a show called "The Chemistry Test" in development for Spring quarter. We're also looking at ideas and scripts for a short film.