And the Emmy goes to...
Adam Chazen doesn’t make long-term goals. Ever. Which is probably one of the reasons that, at age 26, he has claimed his first Emmy Award.
In the four short years since graduating from Rowan University with his bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television/Film (RTF), Chazen has catapulted to success, building a solid career that has become as much about making connections with people, seizing opportunities—and following his heart—as it is about the work.
“I haven’t ever really made long-term goals,” says Chazen. “I know life can change at the drop of a dime and, if you make the right decisions for yourself, life works itself out.”
Along with his colleagues, Chazen accepted the Emmy for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects” for his work with the HBO series “Game of Thrones” during the 2012 Creative Arts Emmys held Sept. 15 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Chazen serves as visual effects coordinator for the series. The Emmy recognized “Valar Morghulis,” the second season finale of “Game of Thrones.” Altogether, the series won six Emmys.
Chazen’s route to claiming the statuette—“It’s heavy. And it’s sharp. It could be a weapon,” he says with a laugh—began at Rowan, where he got heavily involved with Rowan Television Network, Student University Programmers (SUP), and Cinema Workshop. The work allowed him to hone his technical, networking and leadership skills.
A summer internship with The Onion, an online news hub, led him to a general office job on the set of “Transformers 2.” That led to other opportunities in the business with films such as “Yogi Bear,” “2012,” Iron Man 2,” and “Being Elmo,” a documentary.
A native of Old Bridge, Chazen joined “Game of Thrones” two years ago and now works abroad in Northern Ireland. Shortly after graduating from Rowan, he left for Los Angeles, “crashing on a fellow Rowan RTF graduate’s couch as he began building his career in the film industry.
A Rowan cheering section
When he graduated from Rowan’s award-winning College of Communication—now the College of Communication & Creative Arts—in 2008, he never would have dreamed he would be claiming an Emmy so quickly.
“I just wanted to go out and get a good job and do what I love and just be happy,” says Chazen of his plans after graduation.
Chazen was accompanied by his mom—and a four-member Rowan cheering section—as he accepted his Emmy. Three recent grads and a current student all were in the Nokia Theater to help celebrate his success.
“It was really cool for them to be there, to have my friends there,” says Chazen, noting that more and more Rowan RTF graduates are moving to Los Angeles, the nation’s entertainment hub. “It’s so cool that people are chasing after their dreams. I tell everyone to go out there and give it a shot.”
The Emmy-winning moment, Chazen says, was nothing short of surreal.
“I’ve never been that freaked out before in my life,” he laughs. “Your heart is just racing. I was in shock.”
'A rising star’
In his work, Chazen, who wants to become a visual effects producer, often remembers something RTF Department Chair Joseph Bierman tells students.
“He used to say, ‘You never want to be the smartest person in the room.’ I think about that a lot. If it ever comes to it that I’m the smartest person in the room, then I know I’m not going to continue learning,” says Chazen.
Bierman is thrilled—but not surprised—by Chazen’s quick success.
“When he was a student, he got involved with SUP because he wanted to learn how to talk to agents,” Bierman says. “He knew that would be beneficial to him in his career. He went about everything in a very strategic way.”
Despite his busy schedule, Chazen always makes time for Rowan students, even Skyping with them about the industry during his lunch hour, Bierman says.
“He’s said to our students, ‘If you’re coming to LA, call me. You can sleep on my couch,” Bierman says. “He’s definitely a rising star. He’s very talented. He has a very strong work ethic. And he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”
Admittedly still dazed from his Emmy win, Chazen is poised to continue to work hard and build his career in the industry.
“Do I feel pressure? No. Not at all,” he says.
“This is a super fun medium to work in. At the end of the day, you get to work with some really great people and put out a product that people just love.”