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A taste of Hollywood

Rocco DiCicco is getting a taste of Hollywood on co-op with Traction Media, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based independent-film production company founded in 2002.

Its most well-know projects include “Hard Candy,” a thriller featuring Ellen Page of “Juno” fame, and “Half Nelson,” a drama starring Ryan Gosling as an inner-city middle-school teacher with a drug problem.

DiCicco’s job is to discover the next big hit. He reads feature-length screenplays on a daily basis, grading each script based on plot and dialogue. But, he said, a good screenplay is hard to find.

“We started negotiating deals for us to produce one or two of the scripts,” DiCicco explained. “The market is geared toward movies like ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Avengers’ and not toward small, independent dramas.”

DiCicco, a fifth-year history major, finds parallels between his co-op and his class work. He said the experiential-learning opportunity has prepared him to excel in law school, which he plans to enter next year.

“Script coverage is almost exactly like writing a history paper,” DiCicco said, adding that critical reading skills are the hallmark of a good lawyer. “You craft a synopsis and then analyze what could have been different or gone better.”

The movie buff, who counts Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly and James Dean among his favorite actors, sought out an unconventional co-op for a history major. “I wanted to stray from working at a museum or a library archive,” DiCicco said. “I’ve always been a movie fan, so I thought this would be fun.”

The excitement began almost immediately. On his third day on the job, DiCicco was asked to deliver a DVD to a producer’s home in Malibu. It turned out that he had pulled up to the mansion belonging to the president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios.

‘That was kind of cool,” DiCicco said. Rocco DiCicco is getting a taste of Hollywood on co-op with Traction Media, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based independent-film production company founded in 2002.