Adventures of a Summer Intern: Settling In

Brennan's Instagram Photo- EditThings have certainly calmed down since standing in front of the Supreme Court when DOMA and Prop 8 were repealed. I’ve gotten used to the daily routines of work, felt more like a local in DC and become closer to my new friends. I’ve seen my projects come to fruition and realized that my work, regardless of what it is, is benefiting an organization I care about.

I’ve spent a significant amount of my time here recruiting interns for the fall and creating a comprehensive guide on intern recruiting. The guide has reached 25 pages (granted, a lot of it is contact information)!  I’ve contacted dozens of university “intern in DC” programs asking them to send our information to their students. I’ve sent hundreds of Facebook messages and emails to campus LGBT groups and resource centers. I’ve also mastered job posting on university career services websites, LinkedIn and Idealist.

Brennan's Instagram Photo 2The most fun part of the intern recruiting process has been social media advertising, which allowed me to create posts for the HRC Facebook page (liked by nearly 1.5 million people), Twitter and Instagram. I was able to direct an intern photo-shoot that was used on the Instagram – and of course dozens of profile pictures.


I was also able to attend Generation Progress’s Make Progress National Summit 2013 with the rest of the interns, which was fun and empowering. We heard from some awesome speakers there, my favorites including (but not limited to) Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, senior advisor to president Obama, David Simas and openly gay Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. Warren gave a riveting speech on the student debt crisis, as student interest rates recently doubled due to inaction by Congress. This year, the government is expected to make $51 billion in profit from student loans. “The government should not be making profit on the backs of our students,” said Warren.

National Summit 1Simas spoke about the importance of the Affordable Care Act and its implications for those who max out their healthcare plans, those with preexisting conditions and young people. He urged us to fully support the act and to encourage people to enroll for these protections on October 1, when open enrollment begins. Baldwin finished the summit with empowering words on the importance of youth in the progressive movement. The day really got me excited about a career in progressive politics, whether that’s through nonprofit work, working for a politician or maybe even running for office one day. Like this summer as a whole, the summit has opened my eyes to careers that I had never thought about before – ones that I plan on pursuing. After the summit, I was able to post my first post on the official HRC blog about the interns’ experience at the summit. You can read the full post here.

Make Progress National Summit 2

The other new project I have been working on is planning and advertising the HRC “Networking with GenEQ” event. The event will bring together progressive youth from around DC to take part in a networking activity led by facilitators from the HRC staff and enjoy a light reception afterwards. It will be a great way to meet other young professionals in the area and talk about ideas and goals as members of the progressive movement. You can find the Facebook event and RSVP form for the event here.

Encouraged by my new “professional” lifestyle and staff at the HRC, I also bought my own domain name for my website, and ordered business cards. This internship has really made me feel like I’m entering adulthood, but also that I am entering it passionate and excited.

Brennan Suen is a rising senior at Northwestern studying Theatre, Psychology, and Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). You can also follow his internship and summer adventures on his blog.

SoConnect Weekly Round-up: 7/22- 7/26

SoConnect Weekly Round-up!

New Internships:

  • Disney ABC Television Group- Production/Development, Casting, Marketing/Promotions, Marketing /Sales, ABC News, & ABC News Radio Internships
  • Shedd Aquarium- Communications/Public Relations, Events/Promotions, & Online Marketing/Communication Interns
  • Partizan Entertainment- Development, Production, & GM Internships
  • Yes for Independent Maps- Campaign Intern
  • Susan Davis International- Communications/Public Affairs Internship
  • Chicago Humanities Festival- Development, Marketing, Production, & Web Content Internships
  • Gersh- Film & TV Development Internship
  • The San Jose Group- Graphic Design, Public Relations, International Business, & Research/Strategic Planning/Consulting Internships
  • 20 West Productions- Internship
  • Berlanti Productions- Production Intern
  • Hearst Television, Inc- Production Internship
  • Sunshine Sachs- Public Relations Intern
  • Internship & Career Consulting- Social Media Intern
  • Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management- Social Media Internship

Current Highlights:

  • LA: Heroes & Villains Entertainment- Fall 2013 Entertainment Intern
  • NYC: College Humor- Production & Post-Production Internships
  • Chicago: The Windish Agency- Marketing & Social Media
  • Other Markets: UNEP- Communications Internship (Washington, DC)

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internships & more!

Adventures of a Summer Intern: From Brief to Broadcast

One of the questions I get asked most often about my internship may also be one of the hardest to answer: “What do you do?”

The simplest and most vague response is “marketing.” A more accurate answer, though it usually requires elaboration, is “branded entertainment.” The best way to communicate what we make at Liquid Thread is to show an example. But what we do? That’s more complicated to explain.

It all starts with a brief. A product brief tells the story of a brand, from its differentiating features and functions to its personality and tone. It details the personality and interests of the product’s target audience and outlines a list of general objectives to help the brand to reach that target during the fiscal quarter or year.

LiquidThread’s Awards

The part of the brief that Liquid Thread focuses on is the “custom approach” section. This section outlines how the brand will strategically partner with the right media channels and programs to reach the target audience in an engaging and authentic way. It would make sense, for instance, to partner with Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel when advertising a children’s toy, because the audience that would be interested in buying the product is also interested in the content of those channels. It would make even more sense to align with programs in prime time, when the audience is large, so that the brand has a chance to reach as much of their audience as possible. But the insight that drives “custom” programs, rather than straight-up advertisements, is that audiences crave more ways to engage with their favorite content.

Many viewers will tune out ads during a commercial break. They are interested in the content they have chosen to watch, not the products brands want to sell. But if a brand is able to deliver additional content, like behind-the-scenes footage from the show itself or a vignette that integrates one of the show’s characters, they give the audience what they want in exchange for their attention.

The key is to identify which channels and properties the target cares about and come up with new and interesting ways to engage with them. Liquid Thread sends briefs to media partners they identify as a good fit, from broadcast networks like ABC and FOX, to cable networks like MTV and Comedy Central, to digital partners like YouTube. The individual partners know their audiences best, so they come back with their own ideas, based on the initial brief, of how to make content that is as appealing to their fans as possible. By infusing their own brand personality and voice into the content, partners can earn advertising revenue from a brand and still provide value to their viewers with additional content.

View from the LiquidThread office on the 32rd floor

We give feedback for each concept we receive from a media partner, and, through a series of conference calls and emails, work out the details of the program so that we can present the overall plan to the client. We’re preparing our overall presentation for the Xbox One console launch right now with the rest of the Microsoft Xbox team. This 75-page monster of a PowerPoint gives a high-level overview of the plans we have for each program, from on-air to online to mobile.

In a perfect world, those ideas, once approved, come to life. Media partners would start signing deal point contracts, the creative agency would begin setting up production schedules, our producers would be flying out to shoots, and the content would get put together. But anything can – and does – change at a moment’s notice, whether it’s the brand’s budget, the network’s incremental fees, or any number of legal concerns. It’s our job to keep track of everything that goes on with every program on every channel, so that the concepts make it all the way from brief to broadcast!

Margaux Pepper is a rising senior RTVF major at Northwestern and is currently interning at LiquidThread in Chicago, IL.

Adventures of a Summer Intern: It Is What You Make Of It

As I hurdle into my fourth week here in New York City, Bret Adams Artist Agency has presented me with some of the most unique and relevant experiences to my future career. I’ve seen Carson Kreitzer’s commencement performance for her seven year stay at the New Dramatist, deliberated over tactics to move Mary Zimmerman’s new work to a New York Stage, and met some of most talented, precedent setting young artists on the new-works scene. There are few places I would rather be this summer.

Past Posters
Posters from famous New York premiers

But, along with all of these amazing opportunities there is a whole section of the interning world, which goes unmentioned.  These are the anticipated, unavoidable aspects of a job that are boring, tedious, and generally uninteresting– the day to day, phone calls, filing, mailing and researching that comes hand in hand with any entry level position or internship. They aren’t painful experiences by any means, but they pale in comparison to the excitement and engagement required by other aspects of the job. Perhaps this is part of the reason why they aren’t talked about.

It becomes easy to trivialize these tasks as the type of coffee fetching mule work that defines a bad internship. Certainly such bad internships exist where the sole benefit to the intern is a resume credit and polished coffee ordering skills, and my point is not to say anyone should suffer through an experience that offers no real value.  Rather, I’ve found that even in an ideal situation there are undervalued aspects to any line of work. So what to do when confronted with these less engaging tasks? I’ve found that there is an equal opportunity to learn, even in these less engaging aspects, but that they demand the simple work of choosing. They require you to find value on your own, where it is not immediately present.Jon Filing

On slow days I spend a sizable amount of time reviewing contracts to be mailed out to designers, writers, or producers. This ‘reviewing’ consists of taking two purportedly identical contracts and examining them line by line to make sure that they do, in fact, match. This is not the most engaging work, and it’s easy to begin examining the contacts on a purely visual level. What I mean is, it’s easy to stop reading for content and start comparing for similarity. But these documents are also a wealth of information about what it means to be an agent. In each of these contracts are the rules for fair engagement between artist and Production Company, precedents about payments and royalties, agreements about travel expenses and first production benefits. Not only that, but between the lines of these legal documents are the personalities of the writer and the production company. In short, even in the most tedious task there is a potential to learn and engage with a new profession.

I’ve found that rather than biding my time, waiting for something more interesting to happen, by reading each of these contracts–even through the legalize–and asking questions when I don’t understand, I know infinitely more about being an agent than I would have if I had lulled myself into complacent comparison.  In the end your internship is what you make of it.

Jon Gleason is a rising senior RTVF major at Northwestern and is currently interning at Bret Adams Ltd. in New York, NY.

SoConnect Weekly Round-up: 7/15- 7-19

SoConnect Weekly Round-up!

New Internships:

  • Karga Seven Pictures- Development Intern
  • OddLot Entertaiment- Fall 2013 Production & Development Internship
  • The Windish Agency- Marketing & Social Media
  • Newcity Communications, Inc- Publishing/Editorial/Writing Intern

Current Highlights:

  • LA: HBO- Paid Film Development Internship
  • NYC: Next Big Sound- Internship Program
  • Chicago: Susan Fredman Design Group- Intern for Marketing/PR
  • Other Markets: IMG Academy- Leadership Internship for Spring 2014 (Bradenton, Florida)

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internships & more!

Adventures of a Recent SoC Grad: Searching for a New Work-Life Balance

If you had told me at age 18 that in a few short years, any bedtime past 10pm would leave me feeling exhausted, cranky, and ready to crash on anything remotely resembling a bed or couch, I would have cringed at the idea of being that lame. Fast forward to me at 22: I am exactly that lame. I guess working in the “real world,” can do that to a person. I thought I was busy in college, but that was before I started working in an agency mailroom. A twelve-hour day from 7:30am to 7:30pm leaves little time for anything other than work, eat, and sleep.  I realize I’m making my life sound bleak and boring, but I want to make it clear that right now, my life is anything but that. What I am really trying to say is that I’m entering a completely new chapter, along with a new job, a new home, and a new city, and it is important for me to take a step back and figure out how I can get used to this way of life and make the most of all opportunities. A huge part of this self-reflection will definitely be trying to find a good work-life balance.

To start, I’m sure many people are curious what one does in an agency mailroom. Surely with email these days, the agents are hardly getting anything by snail mail, right? Wrong, actually. After just a week and a half of working, I have gone on more mail runs than I can count. The biggest responsibility in the mail room is to sort through all incoming mail, put it into a mail cart, and then move through an entire floor of the agency, dropping mail into the inboxes and picking it up from the outboxes. Each mailroom person is responsible for one floor; we deliver and pick up mail from our floor, bring up packages and scripts, and perform any other tasks related to delivery for the agents and assistants on that floor. In between these runs, there is often downtime to read scripts or just hang out with the other mailroom workers. There’s about eight of us down there, and I’m quickly learning what a fun group they are. Each of them is a recent college graduate with hopes, dreams, goals, and interests similar to my own. I’m excited to get to know them further in both a professional and social setting.

Speaking of social settings, another obstacle that comes with a crazy work schedule is finding the time to have fun with friends, and to have some “me-time,” as well. I want to explore everything Los Angeles has to offer, from the nightlife, the sights, and the restaurants. Northwestern Girls Go HikingThis will be difficult considering I am constantly on a time crunch, not to mention a budget crunch, but over the course of these past couple of weekends, I have really made an effort to establish a life outside of work. I realize I’ll be exhausted during the week, and other than the necessary networking technique of “getting drinks” with other entertainment industry employees, I’ll most likely just want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep. However, I can use the free time on Saturday and Sunday to do various but necessary grown-up chores, like getting groceries, doing my laundry, etc., but I can also do fun activities as well. My roommates and I have hiked, gone to the beach, gone out to a couple bars, met some new people, and even just hung out in the apartment watching “Catfish” reruns. My new life here is an adjustment, but it is an exciting opportunity to not only work towards my dream job, but also to experience what life in LA has to offer.

Caroline Schwartz is a recent SoC grad who majored in RTVF & History. Caroline moved out to LA and started her professional career working at an agency.

SoConnect Weekly Round-up: 7/8-7/12

SoConnect Weekly Round-up!

New Internships:

  • Magical Elves- Casting Intern
  • American Red Cross- Public Relations, Special Events, Community Preparedness,  & Community Presence Interns
  • College Humor- Production & Post-Production Internships
  • Next Big Sound- Internship Program
  • HBO Films- PAID Development Internship
  • WBBM- Fall Radio Promotions Internship
  • Campus Insiders- On-Campus Fall Intern
  • Marketing/Sales Internship
  • TMK Productions, Inc.- Fall Production Intern
  • Envision Media Arts- Creative Intern
  • Chicago Humanities Festival- Fall Internship
  • BrainJuicer- Account Team Intern

Current Highlights:

  • LA: The Film Arcade- Distribution Internship
  • NYC: Warner Music Group (WMG)- Fall Intern
  • Chicago: Fret12- Fall Video Production Assistant
  • Other Markets: The Human Rights Campaign- Fall Internship (Washington, DC)

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internships & more!

Adventures of a Summer Intern: Stepping Out of My Bubble & Into Meetings

This summer I decided that as a life-long Chicagoan, it was time to step out of my geographic bubble and experience a new city for a summer internship. While a bit more difficult to apply and interview for internships in a city you don’t live in, I was elated when I was hired as an intern for Viacom, which owns several television stations, including MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Spike, and the network I’m working for: Comedy Central. Specifically, I am the Digital Programming intern for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. To be honest, when I accepted the position, I really had no idea what ‘digital programming’ actually entailed, but I knew that the opportunity to work for one of the biggest companies in the television industry (and two of my favorite TV shows) was too amazing to pass up and would be invaluable for my future career plans.

photo (2)So I arrived on my first day, unsure of what to expect, and ready to learn a lot. I had assumed that Digital Programming would involve a lot of technical knowledge of websites and coding, but thankfully—because I have no knowledge of anything technical—the department I work for is focused on creating content for the websites of each show and running their social media pages. In just a few weeks at the internship, I have learned an immense amount about all that goes into creating a successful web presence for such widely viewed shows. Each website has their own team in charge of developing content, maintaining clips and full episode videos, and scheduling relevant, interesting, and funny posts for social media pages. Strategies are mapped out far in advance and an environment of collaboration is key to coming up with creative methods of driving traffic to the websites. It has been great to take this all in and very rewarding to see projects I work on go out to millions of people who visit the website and social media pages.

And since I do work at Comedy Central, my work day is rarely dull. I’ve been able to attend a Comedy Central stand up event in Central Park, helped throw a ‘Half Christmas’ party for the office,Half X-Mas Party 2 and spend a good deal of my work day laughing at whatever hilarious new promotion my coworkers have come up with. Because the people I work with are all so creative and fun, one of my favorite aspects of the internship is attending meetings. That may sound like an odd choice, but meetings are where I’ve been able to learn the most, get to know people outside my department, and contribute to a variety of great initiatives taking place within the network (plus they usually involve candy or high quantities of junk food). After figuring out that meetings—whether they involving my small team, the entire digital team, programming, advertising, ratings, etc.—are where a lot of the important decisions happen, I learned to take advantage of these opportunities.

Half X-Mas Party 1I started at first by just taking a seat at the table. In larger meetings, not everyone can fit at the conference table and a few people sit around the sides of the room. And I noticed that in those meetings several of the other interns would move the edges of the room, even when seats were open at the table. But I decided that there was no reason not to sit at the table and be a part of these meetings. By taking this simple step I found myself able to easily contribute to the meeting, introduce myself to people I sit next to, and generally feel like I’m a part of the company, despite this being a temporary internship. Going into my senior year, I’m realizing more and more how imperative internship experiences are and it has been my main priority to take advantage of every opportunity available to me, even if it’s just as simple as participating in a meeting. I’ve had so many incredible and educational experiences in just a few weeks here, I can’t even imagine what’s in store for the rest of my summer!

Bridget Illing is a rising senior majoring in communication studies at Northwestern and is currently interning at Viacom.

Adventures of a Summer Intern: Jason on the Air…Kind of

elvisduranlogoI started listening to Elvis Duran and the Morning Show (@elvisduranshow on Twitter) when I was a kid (of course back then it was Elvis Duran and the Z-Morning Zoo).  When I decided I wanted to go into the professional radio industry, Z-100  was the station I wanted to be at and The Morning Show was (and still is) my dream internship.   z100 (2)Elvis and his co-hosts are always hysterical and there’s no way I’d rather start my day than by listening to them.

I’m an audio production intern for the show. That may sound odd since a radio production is all audio, but my job is to help my producer (@CoasterBoyJosh) with whatever he needs. So far I’ve helped Josh edit and load audio into the database and he’s still teaching me a lot.

jasonrecording (2)I work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is the best because on Tuesdays Elvis brings his dog Max into work (@MaxElvisDuran)!

The irony of working on a radio show and not wanting to be on the air, but my passion and skills lie in production. You can hear some of the work I’ve done on my own at my website ( and follow me on Twitter (@JasonOnTheAir) for updates!


Jason Lederman is a rising senior RTVF major at Northwestern and is currently interning at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show in New York, NY.

Adventures of a Summer Intern: First Day of Work Jitters

Last night before my first day at Partizan Entertainment, my roommate and I had what can only be described as the first day of work jitters. I’m talking picking out our outfits hours before bed, Google maps-ing our commute times thrice over, the works. We inundated each other with hypothetical’s: What if we can’t find the office? What if our bosses are scary? What if, because of the jitters, we end up being super awkward at work and no one will sit with us at lunch? Or what if we aren’t awkward but we still don’t have someone to sit with at lunch?

Well, it’s pretty safe to say that most of us get the first day jitters, varying in levels of intensity. To me this is a good thing: It signifies that we are all very passionate about what we are working towards. My advice is to channel the jitters into excitement as best you can. Use them to wake up early and get to the office with plenty of time to spare. Use them to come off as excited to contribute, rather than awkward and not lunch buddy material. Just know that those feelings can be beneficial; you are excited!

To mediate some of the first day of work jitters, here are some helpful hints, some from me and some from my fellow interns at Partizan, on how to approach your first day of interning.


You should ask your employer a number of things before you come into the office. Some may seem obvious, but your employer might not remember to tell you if you don’t ask:

Ask what your hours will be.

Confirm the address of the place— the Internet could have one that is not up to date.

Ask what your work attire should be.

Ask if you should bring lunch, if it will be provided, or if employees usually go out for lunch.

Ask about parking! This is especially crucial in L.A. You could waste a lot of time and money if you don’t know this beforehand.

Ask if you should bring anything in particular to work. Most offices require that you bring a laptop.


Arrive early! Particularly in L.A. your commuting time will be unpredictable due to traffic. I suggest doubling or even tripling the Google Map time estimation, especially on your first day.

The role of an intern varies from employer to employer; some companies enjoy involving interns heavily while others would prefer if interns observed more in the background. Feel it out the first few days before speaking up too often. You don’t want to come across as too pushy or even annoying if the culture there is for interns to sit back and watch.

Be positive about any task you are given. Whether that be something as cool as help out on a big set or as menial as fetching coffees, accepting each task with a smile and doing it to your best ability will always be to your benefit.

Be friendly! You never know which of the fellow interns or employees might end up working with you again.

Even if you mess up, keep a positive attitude and use it to better yourself next time. Employers may correct you in front of other interns and employees; don’t let it show if that upsets you. Remember: This is a learning opportunity! Employers usually know that you often are doing these tasks for the first time.

In that vein, ask questions! It is much better to reveal that you don’t know how to do something in order to complete it correctly than it is to do something poorly or incorrectly and turn it in to your boss.

Know your ultimate goal or desired career path and be able to communicate it clearly. Often times these internships allow you to network. The only way you will be able to take advantage of that is if you can clearly state your aspirations when asked about them. But be cautious: Don’t push this on anyone who isn’t asking!

Hopefully these hints can help mediate some of your first day of work jitters. The first day of work can be nerve-wracking, but in my experience these past three summers those jitters usually wear off within the first fifteen minutes of walking in the door. You will be great!

Sarah Jane Inwards is a senior RTVF major at Northwestern and is currently interning at Partizan Entertainment & Magical Elves in Los Angeles, CA.