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It hasn’t always been a day at the beach for John Musero W’93, L’96 who, despite early success, finds Hollywood a tough go at times. P H OTOS: J O H N DAV I S

Random day in NYC, East Coast branch of Hollywood-style hobnobbing. Deal central. Stranger rides elevator. Out in the open, famous but somehow incognito. Tall, bespectacled, studious looking. Ends up serving as godfather to talented Philly-area writer.


was working as a lawyer at Columbia Pictures. He negotiated talent agreements and production and development deals for movies. Nothing wrong with that. Good honest day’s work. But he longed to write for a living. He deconstructed movie scripts in his spare time. He wanted to produce art that touched a nerve in people. He just needed an in. His in materialized through a chance encounter that reads like an implausible Hollywood plot line with a resolution that could only happen in the airbrushed world of movies.



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Musero kept at his workaday life as his sister Monica hopped on a hotel elevator in New York one day on her way to meet some friends for drinks. She struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger. Turned out he was visiting from Los Angeles. Curious, she asked him what he did there. He replied, rather modestly, some television and movies. Sensing an opportunity, she told him her brother was an aspiring writer in Los Angeles. The man asked for samples of his work, then handed her a slip with his name and email. On it he wrote Aaron Sorkin. Yeah, Aaron Sorkin, creator of A Few Good Men and The West Wing and winner of five Emmys, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. That Aaron Sorkin. A skeptical Musero sent an email, never quite believing that Sorkin would be on the receiving end. Several days later, he met with Sorkin. And then two months after that, he joined the writing team for the final season of The Newsroom — his first writing job, for God’s sake! Call it serendipity, a dream come true, a for-real fairy tale. Whatever. Musero’s tale, however improbable, is but one of a tapestry of stories from alumni hellbent on finding success in Hollywood. At least 50

Profile for Penn Law

Penn Law Journal Winter 2018  

Penn Law Journal Winter 2018