Six weeks into my internship at Starcom, I have finally begun to feel somewhat like a company insider. Not only do I feel more comfortable working with the team, I now feel like I can fully explain to my friends or my parents what exactly Starcom does and what it means to work in a media agency. I have been working specifically with the media planning and digital activation side of the Microsoft commercial team, and the past couple weeks have given me a lot of invaluable insight into how media strategies are planned and executed as well as how the digital side of media marketing and advertising operates.
Most of my internship has consisted of attending meetings, taking notes, listening and learning about the daily tasks and operations of a marketing agency. During my first two to three weeks of the internship, much of what was being said during meetings sounded like a foreign language, with unfamiliar acronyms and industry jargon constantly being thrown back and forth. By the time every meeting was over, my notes were filled with terms and acronyms with question marks next to them. It was frustrating at first to have to adjust to the new environment and understand the campaign details while trying to make meaningful contributions to the team. However, my supervisor and co-workers were very encouraging and always open to answering questions and did not seem to mind explaining even the smallest details.
As I began to get a better grasp of the work, I have slowly been looped into various projects and even been assigned to take lead in a small project. Because everything in the industry is so fast-paced, all tasks need to be tackled swiftly and the ability to multitask is crucial. Unexpected hurdles always arise and changes need to be made quickly to resolve them. I have realized that maintaining a good work habit is as important as being able to produce high quality work. My internship experience is challenging me to immerse myself in a fast-paced work environment and learn how to juggle multiple tasks and address all sides of an issue while staying within the borders of a given timeframe.
Every day at work, there is still so much more to learn and observe. My Internship at Starcom has taught me so many valuable lessons that can only be obtained through a direct hands-on experience. Interning here has allowed me to expand my horizons and helped me gain a clearer understanding of my future career goals. I think there are only so many things about an industry and a profession that you can research and hear about, so an actual experience inside a company is all the more valuable and necessary for students getting ready to dive into the real world.
Kristin Chung is a junior Communications Studies major at Northwestern, interning with Starcom MediaVest Group this quarter.
We are Danny Bateman and Phil Blechman, the executive producers of The Araca Project. We guide the teams selected in The Project, coordinate the training intensive with industry professionals which we humbly call “boot camp”, and aspire to inspire the entrepreneur in you.
The Araca Project is an opportunity for emerging artists to foster their entrepreneurial spirit and produce their own work in an Off-Broadway Theater this fall. Our goal is to give recent graduates the tools and knowledge they need to mount a show in New York City. We believe in The Project so much that we were participants the last two years and collectively have produced, directed, written, and acted within The Project. This is our first year producing The Project as a whole and are looking for new participants that are eager, passionate, articulate, creative, and fun.
Selected participants will attend the “boot camp” in midtown Manhattan June 23rd – June 27th where they will meet with leaders in commercial Off-Broadway casting, producing, ticketing, designing, and budgeting. Through The Araca Project, we hope artists will take initiative and assume the responsibility of a producer, including: securing production rights from an author; casting; rehearsing; assembling design elements; raising capital; engaging a creative team; loading in and out a physical production; budgeting; marketing; maintaining a box office/ticketing system, and everything in between.
Applications for 2014 slots are currently available at www.aracaproject.com. Project pitches will be held in New York City on April 14th. Selected teams will have a run at The American Theatre of Actors during the fall of 2014. Please email The Araca Project, check-out our website, and/or email EPICS Director Heather Trulock for more information.
Adult Swim Games is the game publishing arm of Adult Swim Digital, which is in turn part of the late-night comedy programming block of the same name, headquartered at the Williams Street facility in the heart of midtown Atlanta. Adult Swim airs every night, seven days a week, and is the home of animated comedy originals, live-action weirdness, and imported action fare. Starting on March 31, Adult Swim will move its start time up one hour to 8 p.m. EST, to thanks in large part to its growing popularity with the key 18-34 demographic.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t Adult Swim part of Turner Broadcasting, the entertainment and cable news giant owned by the Wall Street behemoth Time Warner? Ugh. This sounds like a bunch of slick corporate hooey.” Don’t scoff, my precocious young Wildcat. Like you, Adult Swim began over a decade ago as the scrappy upstart with something to prove. (However, in our case, we were living in the shadow of our older sibling, Cartoon Network.) Despite Adult Swim’s undeniable success, this outsider ethos continues today – it is forged in our very DNA. As a result, working for Adult Swim is probably the most anti-corporate “corporate” job you are likely to find. Going against the grain permeates everything we do, including games.
Adult Swim Games publishes games on the web, on smartphones and tablets, on PCs and Macs, and (very soon) on consoles, too. We do not do any actual development under our own roof. Rather, we partner with developers all over the globe, in places as far-flung as New Zealand and as near-flung as the United States. We are a very small team, with only about 6 dedicated full-time employees managing dozens of projects in various stages of development. Some of our best-known titles include Robot Unicorn Attack, Super House of Dead Ninjas, the Amateur Surgeon series, Giant Boulder of Death, Castle Doombad, and – most recently – the IGF nominated Jazzpunk, currently available on Steam.
As an intern with Adult Swim Games, you will be an integral part of the game development process, from the early pitch phase, to design, prototyping, testing, and publishing. The majority of your duties will be related to QA, or quality assurance, which is where many students find their first foothold in the games industry. Your responsibilities will include testing for bugs, evaluating game balance and difficulty, offering creative feedback when needed, and logging issues for developers. Beyond that, interns are encouraged to be as involved in the process as they so desire. Play game submissions. Pitch your own ideas. Attend boring revenue meetings. IT’S ALL UP TO YOU.
As a producer, I am in charge of maintaining the vision of a game. I work very closely with our project managers, who help make sure all the touchy-feely “maintaining of visions” stuff is done on a schedule and within our allotted budget. Prior to my work with Adult Swim, I was the content designer on Cartoon Network’s first free massively-multiplayer game, FusionFall. Before getting involved in games, I worked in original animation development for MTV Networks. I also spent a number of years as a location scout and manager for independent films in New York. And before that even, I was just like you, wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life.
When I graduated with my RTVF degree in 1995, I did not find too many industry folks who were willing to offer valuable advice to a young professional just starting out. (Facebook and LinkedIn didn’t exist yet, so I couldn’t stalk them, either.) As a result, I am always eager to offer my perspective and guidance, especially to those willing to sign a liability waiver absolving me of any culpability when things go horribly awry. Northwestern students, of course, get first dibs.
Check out the internship opportunity with Adult Swim on SoConnect.
If you are interested in connecting with Matthew about this internship opportunity or otherwise, email the EPICS Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Schwartz graduated Northwestern University in 1995 with a degree in radio-TV-film. He joined Cartoon Network in 2000 as a writer for CartoonNetwork.com and began working exclusively for Adult Swim in 2010. In between, he contributed to entertainment initiatives both large and small, including the launch of a broadband gaming service (Gametap), the creation of animated shorts starring a secret agent feline (Calling Cat-22!) and the penning of “The 50 Worst Things About Video Games” for MAD Magazine. Matthew has been subjected to more Dragonball Z than most other human beings.
Life at the Chicago Readerhas been especially busy this quarter. I’ve been balancing the demands of many tasks, which have included doing daily event round-up posts, learning to write food critiques, and completing interview transcriptions for different staffers. While having so many things to complete simultaneously can be overwhelming at times, I’ve enjoyed every second of it because it’s taught me a very valuable skill: how to manage my time.
I only spend about 10 hours per week in the Reader’s downtown office. Writing multiple blog posts and finishing several interviews transcriptions within these 10 hours can be a difficult feat to accomplish—especially when the interviews are long—so I’ve had to be realistic with myself about what I can get done in that timeframe. In addition, I have to be upfront with my editors and other staffers about how much I’m able to complete.
In my time at the Reader, I’ve always tried to never say no to an assignment, but if I have learned that if I have a lot going on, I need to be honest from the beginning about when I’ll be able to start and finish a task. I also ask everyone when they need their work finished so I know how to prioritize everything. In order to ensure staffers that I haven’t forgot about what they’ve assigned me, I send them periodic emails with updates on my progress. These tactics have helped me feel less overwhelmed by the amount there is to do. Plus, I’ve found when I’m upfront and communicative, staffers and editors are very understanding and accommodating.
Ultimately, shortage of time doesn’t have to impede you from shining in an internship. You just need to be willing to acknowledge the limits you have and communicate them to your supervisor. If you take that advice to heart, I’m sure you’ll figure out how to manage your workload in—literally—no time.
Jillian Sandler is a senior Communication Sciences and Disorders major at Northwestern. She is on her Seventh month as an intern with The Chicago Reader.