Advice on Applying for Your First Internship!

Want an internship for the summer but haven’t had one before? Don’t feel like you aren’t qualified! Check out this article, So You Haven’t Had an Internship Yet…, from Student and the Manager of College Relations for Viacom to get some tips on how to leverage other experiences and skills to gain an internship. You can also visit EPICS drop-ins for more help & advice.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Life at MTV

A few weeks have passed since my last update and a lot has developed during that time.

Based on prior internship experience, I expected to work on lots of small assignments throughout the quarter. My time at MTV has proven the exact opposite. Up until last Sunday, I spent most days working almost exclusively on an ongoing assignment for the 2013 Grammys awards. The assignment required that I create a notecard (aka “cheat sheets”) for every nominee, presenter, performer, and host. I scrounged up information on all sorts of information from previous nominations/wins to tour dates to personal life.

With a final tally of 100+ notecards, this work certainly felt tedious at time. It required hundreds (probably thousands) of Google searches and lots of hours staring at the computer screen. On the upside, I really enjoyed the stability of the assignment – coming into work every morning knowing I had to complete x, y and z. Plus, I loved the added bonus of seeing my hard work put to use on the red carpet.

Along with this work, I had the opportunity to assist the production team on two (very fun)  outside shoots. I spent one day on set of an MTV First with the band Paramore. I watched each stage of the process including set-up, rehearsal, tear down, and editing. Watch the final video above, and look out for my personal Twitter question!

I spent another day at the grand opening of Topshop Los Angeles, where MTV conducted a one-on-one interview with singer Demi Lovato.

Both of these cases demonstrate the network’s investment in their interns. MTV obviously has a strong and talented team of employees. My supervisors probably didn’t need me at either shoot, but invited me as a chance to enhance my own knowledge of the business. I absolutely believe that the more I observe, the more I will learn.

Mallory Ladenheim is a senior communication studies major at Northwestern and is currently interning at MTV News and Documentaries in Los Angeles.

All Roads Lead to the Page Desk

Let’s be honest. I applied to the NBCUniversal East Coast Page Program to more easily answer the dreaded senior-year question, “What are you doing next?” I know it was shallow, but hey, the same logic led me to Northwestern four years earlier and that turned out just fine.

To be fair, I always dreamed of being a Page. As a TV history buff, I knew the program was notorious for launching broadcast careers (notably Regis Philbin, Ted Koppel, and Disney President Michael Eisner), and even more notorious for providing exclusive access to an otherwise closed-door industry. Former Pages work everywhere in broadcast media, and (especially after going through college unaffiliated) I was lured by the fraternity of it all.

I like the word “Page” too. It sounds elegant to my ears, almost romantic.

Therefore, in the middle of an otherwise clueless senior year, I threw my hat into the Page ring. Thankfully I had a strong list of internships and the help of the EPICS team to back my application. One thing led to the next and after a lengthy 4-month interview process, I snuck my way into the program. Wide-eyed and weary, I packed my bags for New York in April, officially doing “what I was doing next.”

I’ve had the privilege to work on two major assignments during my Page year — one in development at CNBC and one with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Because the program is rotational, it has conditioned me for all sorts of work. From coordinating press events inside the New York Stock Exchange to escorting Snooki to her dressing room, things have been far from routine.

Pages learn how to get things done even when they have no idea to start. We live in a dysfunctional middle-ground between intern and staff in which both everything and nothing is expected out of us. Pages learn how to promote their strengths in order to secure more responsibility all the while masking their weaknesses to avoid unfair blame.

The push-and-pull of the program has taught me a lot about balance. Some days are boring and others are overwhelmingly exciting. I learned about that contrast at Northwestern though — a place where winter days drag and Dillo Days shine.

No first job out of college lasts forever, and if you can nab one as obnoxiously fun as mine, you should go for it. You may, like me, work ridiculously long hours. It’s okay. You’re used to long nights. You may, like me, live in eight different apartments within a year’s time. No big deal. One night in Bobb-McCullough prepares you for anything. You may, like me, stand on the studio floor of a Saturday Night Live broadcast, simultaneously feeling as big and small as you ever have felt before. The feeling will be nothing new to you though. You’ve stood on the shore of Lake Michigan.

I hate to write this blog with an objective “you” because I’m only ten months out of school and not much closer to figuring things out than you — Northwestern student — are.  Additionally, although my first year out has been unusually colorful, it’s not much different than that of my 2012 peers. We’ve had shared experiences all across the country, and we all agree: it’s a time to learn about ourselves — a time to decide what we want and how we’ll pace out the next 40+ years to make it happen.

It’s said amongst NBC employees that “all roads lead to the Page desk.” I’ve found this quality of my job to be the most rewarding. After all, once enough people come to your desk to ask what you’re doing, you’re bound to develop some answers.

Here’s to Kenneth.


Ryan Hynes (C12) lives and works in New York City. He’s an aspiring digital storyteller with an affinity for heartwarming commercials. At Northwestern, he served as the President of Arts Alliance and a Video Coordinator for Dance Marathon and NUFitRec. Ryan was born and raised in Arvada, Colorado.

Summer Internships: Looking in All the Right Places

Summer Internships are gearing up! Wondering where the best places are to look for opportunities? Check out this article from The Savvy Intern for tips on where to look for summer internships, Looking for a Summer Internship in All the Right Places. Don’t forget SoConnect is always a great starting point!


The Internship Search: Answering the Unknown Questions

Hi Northwestern, I’m here to talk about something—which for better or worse, sooner or later—is on everyone’s mind.  Internships. They may be the most indispensable learning opportunity for undergraduates studying communications, but how do you get one, why do you need one, what technically is a cover letter anyway? I am a junior in the School of Communication looking for my first internship, so I certainly do not have all of the answers. What I do have, and what you have too, are some great people and some excellent resources on our side. I hope you will join me on my search for New York City internship, and let my experiences inform and improve your searches.

If there is a place to begin it’s several months ago, when I was wrought over the intern question—a question that can quickly turn into what do I want to do with the rest of my life.  I would recommend against this thinking, your internship is only the first stepping stone to a career.  There is a reason they call it getting your foot in the door, not walking in and making a scene.

I knew the resources, SoConnect, CareerCat but I discovered it was difficult to use these resources productively when I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and believe me I had no clue. All of the job descriptions came across as vague and boring, because I knew I couldn’t commit to them long term. I may have been a film major but I had wandered through the film scene trying on and then abandoning an array of possible careers like old shirts:  Director, Producer, Casting Agent, and Lighting Designer. What I realized after several weeks of serious thought and stress was that my only obligation is to my own happiness, as is yours. The best way to discover what you love naturally is to examine those things you do regularly without external motivation.  For me that passion had always been writing, particularly prose writing.  It’s not something I ever really thought about. It wasn’t anywhere in my major description, but I thought, maybe I’ll do something with that.

I landed, after much thought and more searching, on literary agent.  For those of you who don’t know—as I certainly didn’t—a literary agent is the gate keepers of culture, the pruners of prose…or to some the crusher of dreams.  They decide and advocate for what gets published and what does not. They also negotiate the payment and legal side of publication deals. The job demands a keen eye and lots of reading, but it also opens the door to the publishing world, and you are directly rewarded for your ability to assess the future value of projects. From what I can tell it is the job for me, not an end goal but a starting place, not anything I thought I would be doing, but what I am striving for at the moment.  This is something I can commit to for certainly a summer and perhaps a few years, and that is really all I could ask for.

Unfortunately this is also the point in the blog where everything else becomes speculation.  I have several cover letters drafted on my desktop or waiting in the inboxes of hiring managers.  The only feedback I’ve received is “we’ll hold your resume until we begin reviewing candidates for summer interns,” –it’s better than nothing.  So at the moment I am in limbo, waiting at the mercy of HR representatives and hiring season, but at least I’m out there, and I’m excited, and that is a lot.  If I have any unentitled advice to give, it’s find out what you want to do and apply apply apply, you have a great school behind you and something will come through.  Happy applying.

Our blogger is a Junior RTVF and Weinberg student looking for an internship in New York City for this summer. Follow them as they share their story of an internship search.

Employer Spotlight: Bisno Productions

“What’s a Producer?”

Without fail, that’s the question I most often get when I tell someone that I’m a theater producer. The truth is that there is no easy answer because it really depends on who you ask and the project you’re working on.

In my opinion, a producer always looks at the big picture. Ultimately, he/she is responsible for everything, from raising money to making sure the artists’ vision is represented accurately on stage. Being a theater producer is a delicate balancing act, as you need to remain a little detached so you can see when something isn’t working, but at the same time, you should have working relationships with the artists, so when you have constructive feedback, they will respect your opinion.

For the past two years, I have worked as an Associate Producer for Bisno Productions, a commercial producing company headed by Debbie Bisno (NU ’92). We develop and produce dramas, musicals and event theatre on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally and on tour. At Bisno Productions, I have worked on shows such as the revival of the musical Annie; the Broadway premiere of Craig Wright’s Grace, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Ed Asner and Kate Arrington; and Tony Award-winning smash hit War Horse, (Broadway, Toronto and US tour).

We are a very small office (just me, Debbie and our intern) so I get to do a little bit of everything—every day is completely different! My favorite part of my job is definitely working on new shows. For example, we are currently developing a new musical for younger audiences—Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money— adapted from the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, with music and lyrics by Motown legend Lamont Dozier. We also do a few consulting projects, where we use our expertise to guide a specific project. I enjoy those projects because they give me the opportunity to work with different people and organizations.

Bisno Productions has a pretty robust internship program, and we always have one Producing Intern in the office. Our interns get a real hands-on experience and there is no such thing as a typical day, but some things that our intern might do include: attending readings, reading scripts, researching shows under consideration, and helping with office management. In addition, I always try to match my intern’s interests with possible projects. For example, during our recent run of Grace, we had an intern who was very interested in writing and had a background in journalism so we gave her the opportunity to pitch stories. She ended up writing a profile piece for Michigan Avenue magazine on one of the show’s stars—and NU grad!—Kate Arrington.

We’ve had interns in the past who’ve had quite a lot of theater experience, but we’ve also had interns who were theater fans but had never worked professionally in the field. We do try to find interns who have some administrative experience, but the most important requirement is a passion for theater. We are currently looking for a Summer Intern, log into SoConnect to view/apply for intern. So if you were also wondering, “What is a Producer?” please apply!


Roberta Pereira has been working with Bisno Productions since 2010. Previously, she was an Associate Producer at Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, Executive Producer of Yale Summer Cabaret (New Haven) and Associate Managing Director for Yale Repertory Theatre/World Performance Project, where she produced a series of international music and theater events. Roberta also produced all the auxiliary events for the 2006 Dublin International Theatre Festival.

As an independent producer, her credits include the Broadway premiere of David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre starring Sir Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight, Spacebar: A Broadway Play by Kyle Sugarman (Studio 42), USHER (New York International Fringe Festival, Outstanding Musical Award), the production concept of Ainadamar (winner of the Opera America Director-Designer Showcase), and We Declare You A Terrorist (Summer Play Festival). Roberta was also a Producing Consultant for London’s Gate Theatre transfer of The Kreutzer Sonata to LaMama in New York City and for Roller Boogie the Musical at OBERON in Cambridge, MA.

Roberta is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of nonprofit theater company Studio 42 and a founding ensemble member of Tilted Field. She is also Managing Editor of Dress Circle Publishing, the premier publisher of theater-themed novels. A graduate of Yale School of Drama’s Theater Management program, Roberta is originally from Brazil and currently lives in New York City.