The Job Search: Networking & Applying

Since my last post, I’ve followed up with a few page programs.  I cannot stress how much just KNOWING people has helped me here.  From my internship in LA, I happened to meet a guy who now works at a major studio.  He sent my resume on.  Another guy was a senior at Northwestern when I was a freshman.  We had lunch when I was in LA last winter and he’s agreed to pass on my resume where he works.

From the networking I’ve done, I cannot stress enough how useful my time in LA was.  Taking a quarter to intern there my junior year was the best decision I could have made for my career.  Without any job prospects or clues how to get them, my situation now as a senior would feel pretty bleak.  Now that I know LA, people there, and how the town works, I’m confident moving out there without a job.  That’s what a few of my alumni friends did and they turned out just fine, working odd jobs until they find one that gets them somewhere.  Even the page programs I’ve looked at aren’t meant to be full-time.  Instead, they’re meant to hold you over until you get an actual job.

I’ve also looked into creating a website to house my portfolio.  I know a few of my actor friends have them to show reels of their work.  I might use some for various samples of film and graphic design.  This could be really useful to me if an employer ever asks to see examples of my work.  I’ll keep y’all updated on that.

Two more months until the great abyss!

Our blogger is a RTVF senior looking to move to LA and break into the Entertainment Industry post-graduation. This person has some experience in the industry, having held an internship and lived in LA earlier in their Northwestern career. Follow them as they share their story of their full-time job search.

Writers Panel: Writing Serialized Dramas for Television

Writing Serialized Dramas for Television

Come hear from our panelists, creators of Game of Thrones, True Blood, Ringer, Supernatural, Big Love, The Big C, The L Word, and more!

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The Internship Search: The Interview

In my experience people tend towards one of two camps when it comes to interviewing: there are those who relish the chance to make a personal impression, and those who stress out over having to promote themselves. There is of course also plenty of room for people like me who fall into both camps, but if you are worried that your personality doesn’t jump off the page in your resume, or that the factors you can offer a company are too ineffable to fit in a cover letter, then an interview is where you can show your strengths. And if you bite your nails at the thought of having to talk about yourself with a stranger, then take some solace in the fact that an interview can be one of the most gratifying experiences in your search for an internship. Finally, after so much waiting, the interview is our first chance to receive some recognition for all of the activities, academics and experiences we’ve dedicated ourselves to over the years—not to mention the all of the stress and formatting that goes into the actual resume and cover letters. Being selected for an interview means you’ve been pulled out of a crowd—of sometimes hundreds of other applicants—because you are a strong candidate.  So, first off, feel free to praise yourself a little. Second, understand that this company already believes in you and wants to hire you. All you need to do is give them a reason why.

My first interview came out of a mid-sized literary and theatre agency in New York City.  After a few weeks of waiting, I received a brief email saying the agency was impressed with my resume and would like to find a time to speak in-person. “Oh, in-person?” was my first reaction, as I hadn’t planned on showing up to New York without a hard yes on the job front. I debated with myself over whether I should commit to a flight, show my commitment, and arrive in person for the interview.  But what I realize is that Hiring Managers were once students too.  They understand that we may not have the time, let alone the money, to hop on a flight across the country.  I sent a follow up email asking if we could conduct the interview over the phone instead, and I worried for a while that this had hurt my chances, but in reality many of these companies are looking for confirmation that you are serious about their company and can handle the interpersonal demands of the job…and to make sure you aren’t entirely crazy. So, if you walk (figuratively or literally) into an interview ready to show them that you are able to commit to the job, get along with co-workers,  and, most importantly, vocalize why you want to work for that company in particular, then  any kind of interview—telephone or in-person—will  do you justice.

Who knows, you might not even talk about the business for all that long. I spent fifteen minutes discussing responsibilities and the day to day of the office, then some time chatting about my summer schedule, the best places to find temporary housing and the city, and we finished up with a lengthy talk about mutual, favorite playwrights, and my interviewer’s time working as a director in the New York theatre scene. Over all, the interview should be a relatively painless experience…unless you’re going into consulting, in which case God’s speed.  I walked away feeling like I had not only met a future employer, but also someone I could connect with as a friend, and a compatriot in our love of literature and theatre. Here’s hoping you all have similar experiences.

Happy Interviewing!

Employer Spotlight: Autism Home Support Services

Autism Home Support will be on campus at the 2013 Career and Internship Fair! Co-sponsored by the SoC and Medill on Wednesday April 10th, 2013 from 10 am-3 pm.

Imagine for a moment all the things you have to say in the course of a day. A week. A month. A year. All those things, the boring and the life changing, that help you relate to your world, to form relationships and to represent your voice. Now, imagine having all those things to say and not being able to communicate them.

Being nonverbal is among the possible symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and is also among the barriers we help to overcome every day. Of the one in 88 children that are now being diagnosed with ASD not one of them exhibits symptoms the same way. At Autism Home Support Services (AHSS) we believe in taking each unique situation and giving children and their families the tools they need to communicate, to learn and to live more stress-free lives.

My journey to becoming CEO of AHSS could be labeled as equally unique. It began with Facebook messages to an old friend, a desire to be on The Amazing Race and a hope that I would be able to help children on the spectrum develop those crucial social skills. While I never made it on TV, I cannot say that my journey has been any less amazing.

I’ll never forget the day a mom called to talk about a schedule request and when asked how things were going said that “For the first time, we have hope that he’ll be okay.  We had a really rough session with a 3 hour tantrum, but your team was there to be with us and help him express himself better.”  It’s a joy to participate in the lives of our clients and support them in their journeys.

Every day the team at AHSS is given the opportunity to change the lives of children and their families through the use of leading applied behavior analysis (ABA) practices. Our board certified behavior analysts and care team members use a combination of positive reinforcement, teaching in small steps, prompting and repeated practices to help children learn everything from tying their shoes to reading to positive peer interaction. We have helped kids be able to go upstairs and even escalators when they were afraid of heights.  With our care team, they’ve learned not running out in the street and staying close to adults, potty training, saying “I love you, Mommy”, greeting their siblings’ friends, doing math above grade level, and going from no words to more than 200 words.

At AHSS, our passion is delivering progress towards hopes and dreams. It’s a mission that we’ve brought into the homes of families across Northern Illinois since we were first launched in January 2010. Now as we move into 2013, we have expanded to over 250 clients and are continuing to grow.

To engage with new clients as well as our existing community, we are always looking for ways to develop our online presence. We have opportunities for interns in social media and website management, as well as videography. In our interns we look for a desire to learn new things, an ability to work quickly and efficiently, and an interest in best web practices.

We also opportunities for a skills coach positions. The Skills Coach is the compassionate, energetic person who works with a Board Certified Behavior analyst and team members to deliver progress towards the hopes and dreams of our clients.  They develop Applied Behavior Analysis skills and put them into practice assisting children with autism in learning how to learn.  They help kids find their voices, develop communication skills, learn academics, practice new leisure skills and reach their full potential.  We’re always looking for good people who are able to commit to 6 months of working 4-24 hours a week.

For more information about these opportunities with Autism Home Support, visit SoConnect. Also remember to visit their table at the 2013 Career and Internship Fair and ask about these opportunities.

Day Seven! Our Last Day in Paris

IMG_20130329_143136 My name is Rachel Geistfeld, I’m a senior Performance Studies and French major from outside the Twin Cities. I’ll be serving as the Student Live-Blogger for this year’s IMS trip, updating you daily about the SoC’s time in Paris.
Hello, faithful readers!
Today was our last day of speakers, and in the afternoon we were free to go explore wherever!

Our first speaker was Peter Barnet, Associate Professor at the American University of Paris, former Executive Vice President for International Advertising at Young and Rubicam. His presentation was more like a class than a presentation – we even had to *gasp* answer questions! He mostly spoke about his career and how he established himself, but he also gave us a history lesson. He drew a picture on the whiteboard to show us where the power lies in advertising – agencies, retailers or the consumer. “Power” in this sense meaning the ability to most effectively advertise a product.

In the beginning, the agencies had the power because companies would not be able to get out their commercials without them. Advertisement agencies were the only way to get in touch with consumers and get them to buy a product. Then, the power shifted to the retailers. As more and more shops started to open, companies had more and more places to sell their goods. The necessity for business, then, was no longer the advertisers’ but the retailers’. Today, however, the power definitively lies with the consumer. Because of social media, consumers are able to make their opinion known far and wide, and so if a company screws up, the public has the power to be extremely unforgiving.

As a Performance Studies major, this is the first crash course I’ve ever had in marketing history. I liked it! Mr. Barnet was really engaging, and this was pretty interesting stuff to learn about. Also his presentation had clips of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so extra points for that.

Our next speaker lives a very exciting (albeit dangerous) life. Janine di Giovanni is an author and journalist who covers war and conflict all over the world. Most of her stories were about everyday issues that she encounters as a journalist. She frequently visits countries that have strict regulations on what women can wear and how they can act, so coupled with heavy anti-media sentiment, her job can be unsafe at times. Yet, she continues to do it because she believes that people should be informed.  “Never stop looking for stories.”, she advised us.

Our third and final speaker was Mr. Derek Thomson, senior producer at France 24 and co-editor of The Observers, a TV program and website on France 24 that covers international affairs by using eyewitness evidence. Extra thanks to him because he had been awake since 3 AM working on a story.
The Observers is a really interesting project. The program has taken advantage of  how much news is reported on blogs and opinion sites and transformed it into a new kind of journalism. All of the posts on the website are from non-journalists, so it’s really interesting to hear from average people who actually witnessed events and then took the time to upload their story.

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And then the Seminar was over. Readers, this week has been an amazing learning experience that has changed my view of journalism. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the communications projects we did were also fascinating. But journalism hasn’t ever been a field that I (or many others in our group) have seriously considered. I’ve only ever been vaguely aware of how the field is changing and the implications of our more opinion-driven news. Listening to all of our speakers made me much more aware of how far journalists go to get the facts, which made me want to read actual news and not just blogs.

-Not that blogs are bad. I happen to know of one School of Communication International Media Seminar blog by this girl Rachel that happens to be fairly informative.-

Because of this trip, I’ve decided to try and challenge myself to read one international news story today (on one of the numerous sites that were recommended to us this week, Al Jazeera English , The Daily Beast, The Guardian, etc.) that does NOT interest me. As in, I look at it and actually have no desire to read it, but I read it anyways. One point that really stood out to me about this trip was that opinion-driven news further instills prejudices. I totally agree. Obviously, just reading about stories outside of my interests and affiliations won’t automatically undo my biases, but I think that it will give me a better understanding of myself and the world around me. Plus, I’ll have more to read!

And that’s it, folks! I hope you enjoyed this blog. I certainly enjoyed writing for it!

Rachel

Adventures in India: The End…?

My name is Greg Uzelac and I am a senior Radio, Television, and Film and Asian Language and Civilizations double major.  I will be updating you on the adventures of the Indian Cinema Seminar in Hyderabad, India.

(Originally written at 6:32 AM, April 1st, 2013)

Well, I’m jet-lagged again.  Talk about Book-ending it…

I am currently writing this, my last post, from my bedroom in Evanston, not the Ebony Hotel I have become so familiar with.  After a week of culture clash and cinematography, bizarre film studio themed amusement parks and Biryani, and of course 48 hours of hectic film making, we touched down in Chicago and our Indian epic came to a close.

It is unbelievable how fast the time passed in the incredible place that is Hyderabad.  I personally feel a complete mix of emotions right now.  On the one hand I am relieved to return back to the US, but I can’t help but feel like there is still so much I could take away from simply a single city block in Hyderabad.  There are just so many experiences I have brought back with me.  First though, before I sum up the whole trip, let’s recap the last day.

We began with the much anticipated shopping and sightseeing excursion to the Charminar area.  This was a change of scenery as it was the first time we really headed into Hyderabad’s predominantly Muslim, Old City area.  Spread around the modestly beautiful Mecca Masjid are layers upon layers of bazaar. One of the Professor’s from NUQ said it looked like Karachi, with the Urdu street signs and shop names flowing down alleyways and corridors.  From bangles to pashmina scarves, we bought our souvenirs and gifts.  It was a completely new shopping experience and for many a lesson in haggling. All I could think of was this scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Charminar in The Old City
Charminar in The Old City

From the blazing heat of the market, I participated in a press conference alongside SoC Dean, Barbara O’Keefe, RTVF faculty Dave Tolchinsky and Debra Tolchinsky, and fellow NU students, Bryan Jewell (RTVF ’13), Steph Hill (RTVF ’13), and Jennifer Rumberger (MFA ’13).  We were also joined by none other than Telugu film star and founder of the Annapurna International School of Film and Media, Akkineni Nagarjuna.  Aside from the cameras flashing and filming, we were interviewed by a correspondent from The Hinduone of India’s leading news publications.  You can read the article here.  After surviving my first press conference, I felt like a superstar too.

Meeting a film star was an interesting experience.  Nag left me starstruck and yet his smooth, amiable personality made me feel comfortable enough to approach him head on after the conference. I will get more into our conversation in a moment.

Me and my teammates holding our Honourable Mention for "Swept Away".
Me and my teammates holding our Honourable Mention for “Swept Away”.

The 48-hour film festival concluded with a screening and a farewell dinner/send off party.  The films all turned out superbly to say the least.  I am so thankful to my team, Vaisvi, Caroline, Rahul, Nishant, Keerthika, Neela, and Emerson for helping me to not only make my Indian directing debut, but also to create a really entertaining and subtly poignant piece of short cinema. Our collaboration of efforts (“Swept Away”) earned us an Honourable Mention for Best Film. Michael DeMarco (Theater ’14) took Best Actor, and Rachel Abrahams (RTVF ’13) took Best Actress. The film, “Lost and Found”, starring Michael and directed by AISFM’s Gaurav Bal took the certificate for Best Film.

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Michael DeMarco (SoC ’14) accepting the Best Actor Award. I’m sure we’ll see a similar sight again soon.

As the awards ended, the food was served and the music started bumping.  We celebrated long into the night.  There was Bollywood dancing (so, so much dancing), farewell photos, and sad sendoffs.  Alliteration aside (sorry, couldn’t help myself), it was a pretty emotional night as we said our goodbyes to the friends, colleagues, and the city we had all come to know.  The painful wait to get on the bus to the airport was only outdone by the agonizing exhaustion that began kicking in.

The flight, for most, was just a repeat of the plane ride over – mildly uncomfortable, cumbersome, and long. A lot of us slept.  I actually got a total of seven hours of sleep out of the eighteen hours of travel in the air. However, for me, the flight was different for a lot of reasons.

When I was awake, I was either watching a film or working through the past week in my head.  I don’t know if it was the exhaustion or not, but I was surprisingly emotional.  I cried three times during Disney’s Up (as opposed to my regular once during the beginning montage)! In all seriousness though, I did a lot of thinking on the plane as the entire adventure finally started settling in.

I thought about India, and Hyderabad particularly.  I thought about how I may be back there sometime soon to spend the next chapter in my life as a working man.  I worked out in my head how I would explain to my friends the strange, harmonious functionality of the city despite its lack of Western infrastructure.  I thought about how I did not have that stereotypical experience that every tourist tells of India.  I saw past the colors and calamity, the pollution and the poverty.  In Hyderabad I saw, heard, felt, and met people.

The Hyderabadis are a proud people.  You can tell in the way they speak of their history and in the way they drive.  They are a diverse array of people – religions, languages, and ethnicities all mixed together for hundreds of years. They are a people with a love of cinema.

I mentioned before that I had a conversation with Telugu film superstar and AISFM founder, Nagarjuna.  Maybe it was that I had honestly not seen many of his films.  Maybe it was the fact that there is a modesty about Nag that makes him especially approachable.  Either way, I felt a sense of determination and ease as I shook his hand and said, more proudly than ever, “Hello my name is Greg Uzelac and I want to come to India to make movies”.

We talked about Indian movies.  We talked about American movies.  We talked about what might be easy or difficult for me to do with my aspirations.  It wasn’t a  long conversation, maybe ten minutes maximum, but Nag’s final remarks summed up the journey I have been on for almost five years of my life since that day in twelfth grade when I realized that I wanted to dedicate myself to global cinema.

I asked him which movies he personally was proud to make.  In a moment so unexpectedly genuine for a celebrity, he told me: ninety percent of Indians are day to day people.  They do not want to be reminded of their hardships when they go to the movies.  They want to be taken to another world even if it is just for a few hours.  Nag told me while he appreciates the award winning ‘art films’ that are closer to our cinematic standards, he  loves the masses who seek that escapist sensation.  He makes movies not for himself and not for awards, but for the people.

This entire trip has been so stimulating.  I have learned so much about the industries I wish to work in.  I have experienced a culture through cinema and its production, which for film students is an incredibly intimate introduction to another way of thinking.  In my first post I said that this whole experience felt like a dream or a fantasy – maybe like one of Nag’s films.  Now the fantasy may be over, but it is not completely gone.  I can say that this journey has changed my perspective and prepared me for my future.

NU, NUQ, AISFM, and Nag all together after the press conference.
NU, AISFM, and Nagarjuna all together after the press conference.

This adventure would not have been possible without the dedication of so many people including Dean O’Keefe, everyone at AISFM, President Shapiro, and especially Heather Trulock – our EPICS Director, trip coordinator, and our own superstar. To the faculty who accompanied us, we’re no longer sour about your star treatment at the Hyatt, but in fact very thankful you were there by our side to help make this such a wonderful learning experience.  Especially Professor Smith, Jake, we wish you the best of luck in Ranchi and thank you again for a necessary and scintillating introduction to Indian cinema.  To my fellow NU students, many of whom I only knew in name going into the trip, thank you for contributing so much to a journey none of us expected would be so amazing. You all fed my energy and enthusiasm and, of course, gave me things to write about.

Lastly, to Hyderabad, a city once a stranger, now a fragile acquaintance, thank you.   You may not be my perfect city, but you are unlike anywhere else in the world.  Thank you for all that you showed us and showed me as a filmmaker, a lover of history and language, and as a person.  While nothing is for sure, I may very well be seeing you again very soon, and I look forward to the next set of adventures we are going to have.

Our first great view of Hyderabad from the top of Golkunda.
Our first great view of Hyderabad from the top of Golkunda.