They met at Emerson. They launched their highly successful Hollywood careers at Emerson.
And, just maybe, their oldest child might enroll here.
Todd J. Greenwald ’91, creator and executive producer of the Disney Channel Emmy Award-winning show Wizards of Waverly Place, and his wife, Rachel (Epstein) Greenwald ’90, were on campus April 1 and 2 with their 16-year-old son, Jordan, who is thinking about walking in his parents’ footsteps.
“I love show business. I love shooting movies and editing. My other passion is music,” said Jordan, who plays guitar. “This [school] was their jump-start into what they’ve done, and obviously there’s some success behind it. It would be very nice to be successful.”
The proud parents said they were excited to be back, but warned their California-raised son of the harsh New England weather he may have to endure.
“We raised a Californian, that’s for sure. He loves to skateboard and boogie board,” said Rachel Greenwald, who worked as a talent agent and owned a management company for years before becoming “CEO of the Greenwald Family.”
Todd Greenwald’s Wizards ended production last year after four seasons and launching the career of performer Selena Gomez. He said he was “thrilled” to be back at Emerson for the first time since he graduated 22 years ago—when the campus was primarily located in the Back Bay.
“It’s not the Emerson physically that I went to, but the character of the students, faculty, and the enthusiasm is all the same. It’s really impressive to me.”
“I’m blown away by it. The new-ness, the centrality to Boston, the facilities,” Greenwald said. “It’s not the Emerson physically that I went to, but the character of the students, faculty, and the enthusiasm is all the same. It’s really impressive to me.”
Greenwald is continuing to work on creating new television shows for tweens and teens.
He said MTV recently purchased a pilot episode of a dramedy aimed at teens that he is developing with American Idol judge Randy Jackson.
Greenwald spoke with students in Associate Professor James Macak’s TV writing class on April 2. He wanted to talk about the “realities” of the business, storytelling, and the importance of developing relatable characters.
“Writing up, and not dumb, created a show where the parents enjoyed watching it as well,” he said. “The highest compliment I always get from Wizards is [when a parent says], ‘I can actually watch that with my kids.’”
The Greenwalds praised Emerson for offering hands-on experience with production skills and equipment, and said the College is going in the right direction by offering classes that emphasize social media and branding.
“The opportunity is so great now to really create a brand and voice for yourself,” said Todd Greenwald. “When you get out there, you have to sell yourself.”
Greenwald said he is “very excited” for the opening of Emerson’s Los Angeles campus next year.
“I’d love to be involved in the L.A. program and hopefully, when that gets closer, I’ll talk to [Emerson] about what kind of value I might be able to bring the students,” he said.