From Fine Arts Requirement to Professional Passion

Author: Gene Stowe


Lydia Antonini, a graduate of the class of 1997, took the basic film and television class to “check off” a fine arts requirement her first year at Notre Dame.

Today, she’s director of digital development for Warner Premiere, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and recently was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen 35 Under 35 list for 2009.

Her trajectory comes as no surprise to Jim Collins, concurrent professor of film, television and theatre and English, who recalls Antonini as one of the top students in the program. “She had such a contagious enthusiasm that she animated everyone who worked with her,” he says. “It’s incredibly rare for a student to energize an entire major, but she managed to do that no other student ever has.”

Her passion was evident even in that first FTT class—and Collins’ encouraging notes on her film and television papers convinced her to take his cinema course the next year. By then, she says, she was hooked and went on to select film, television, and theatre as her major.

“I took a lot of theory classes and a good number of production classes,” she says. “We were using a lot more technology than I think a lot of other programs were using. We also spent a lot of time watching films and figuring them out. They made us watch everything. I can credibly discuss the French New Wave without sounding like I just read about it in a book.”

After graduation, Antonini spent nearly 10 years in New York, starting with an internship at Good Machine (which became part of Focus Features), then with Nick at Night, which is owned by MTV. While there, she earned a master’s in media studies at The New School.

“At the time, digital and new media was just starting to bubble up, and everybody was trying to figure it out,” she recalls.

Then, three years ago, Antonini started on the ground floor with Warner’s new digital content business and today oversees development of all the division’s content for new media such as iTunes and Xbox LIVE. “Twenty–five percent of what I do is new content specific to those emerging platforms,” she says. “I find the writers, concept the idea, and creatively manage that production through to its delivery.

“One of the really cool things about my line of work is there’s nothing to ‘comp’ to—there is no ‘typical,’” Antonini says. “We’re pretty much at the cutting edge of content for new technology.

“I’m in such a dynamic area,” she says, “I can’t imagine anything else could be more exciting.”

Perhaps that’s why studying the fine arts is a requirement at Notre Dame.

Originally published by Gene Stowe at on August 08, 2010.