Life After NU: I’m an Angeleno Now.

Last week, I watched SNL’s hilarious “The Californians” sketches for the first time. I don’t know how I missed them. While no one I’ve met is obsessed with his or her own reflection, the inescapable compulsion to discuss directions and brag about your private shortcuts is absolutely true. I’ve even fallen into the habit myself. Didn’t take long! I guess that means that after a fast month, I’m officially a Los Angeles resident.

Aside from driving—and getting used to the not-so-patient drivers that cruise the LA streets—my transition to post-grad, full-time working life has been going smoothly, with nary a hiccup. Though that may be due to the fact that I haven’t hiccupped in years, as opposed to me growing accustomed to this new stage of life. Let’s put bodily musings on pause for a moment (for the rest of the post, don’t worry) to get to the thing that occupies most of my time: work!

The excitement that exclamation point conveys is absolutely true. My job working at Abominable Pictures has definitely been fun. I’m kept busy, my coworkers are great, and the shows are hilarious, so what more can I ask for? As a Post Production Assistant my tasks vary, but they usually include: making and managing hundreds (only a slight exaggeration) of Google docs to handle everything from post production budgets to producers’ notes on episodes, organizing dailies for producer and director viewing, backing up precious footage, transcribing cuts (allowing me to vicariously live as a TV writer), and searching for stock footage (why is everything a time-lapse when you never need it to be?).

On the set (in the production office area) of Childrens Hospital.
On the set (in the production office area) of Childrens Hospital.

Childrens Hospital wrapped two weeks ago, so we’re now fully in the throes of post. After a fun wrap party, work transitioned from preparing dailies to readying cuts for the higher-ups. I get to watch the incremental edits of each episode; reading the producers’ comments, then seeing how the subsequent versions reflect their compromises, is a fascinating process. Abominable juggles an impressive number of shows, so while four shows are in various stages of post and finishing, we’re gearing up for two more productions. Everyone’s hands are always full, hopefully with comedy gold.

I also often get little random tasks thrown my way. For example, one of my most amusing jobs was ensuring every curse word for a show was fully bleeped out. I found myself playing the bleeps on repeat, making sure every “f” and “t” and “k” and “sh,” not necessarily in that order, was covered. Needless to say, these were the most risqué—and potentially offensive—notes and emails I’ve ever written. Another project I’m in the middle of is creating a poster for an old web series. If it gets approved, my work will adorn the office walls!

At home, I’m now fully moved in to my apartment. The best part: having a parking space. That thing is priceless. Another best part: there’s a Ralph’s (much better than Chicago’s Jewel-Osco) at the end of the street. Plus the apartment itself is great! It still hasn’t rained here, apart from a few raindrops that got lost and accidentally fell over LA, and it looks like that won’t be changing anytime soon. Unfortunate for the drought conditions, but fortunate for…no, the place really needs some rain.

To conclude the post, here’s today’s parting wisdom: Explore! I definitely want to get to know the area I’ll be calling home. Also, you need to have stories when coworkers ask how you like LA. My list of accomplishments includes going to the Pacific (very different than my home Atlantic), visiting the Getty Center, seeing the Walk of Fame, and general exploring. In other words, a lot more to do! Which is fine, because I’m here, and an Angeleno, now.

Robbie Stern is a recent graduate of the School of Communication and majored in RTVF. He now works for Abominable Pictures.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Making the Most of My Internship

This past weekend I helped run Prologue’s general auditions for their 2014-2015 season.  We were auditioning for Prologue’s three mainstage shows as well as for Landmark, Prologue’s short play festival.  Auditions took place at Chicago Dramatists on Saturday from 9:30am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  I had the opportunity to meet the directors and one of the playwrights for the upcoming season.  I also got to interact with a lot of Chicago actors.  However, the most exciting and educational part of the weekend was watching the actors audition.  I have never been on the other side of the audition experience and I learned so much through observation.  So many seemingly subtle choices- the way you introduce yourself, the order in which you perform your pieces, etc.- can hugely influence the way the auditors perceive an audition.  I am so happy to have had this experience and I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned to my future auditions!

Earlier in the month I met with Whitney, Prologue’s Casting Director, to help schedule auditions.  Now that auditions have passed, my next project is to help Angela, Prologue’s Artistic Director and my internship mentor, sort through headshots and decide which actors we would like to further consider for Prologue’s mainstage shows.

Watching auditions was a valuable and enjoyable experience.  I do not have a lot of experience with casting but I had a lot of fun and I asked to help out with any future audition or casting projects Prologue has for this summer.  I’m having a great time with my internship- Angela and everyone else on Prologue are eager to help me get as knowledge and experience out of this summer as possible!

Sophie Neff is a rising junior Theatre major interning at Prologue Theatre Company in Chicago, IL.


Employer Spotlight: Writers Theater

For more than 20 years Writers Theatre, a Glencoe-based theatre,  has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Writers TheatreUnder the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called one of the top half-dozen regional theatres in the nation by the Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers Theatre’s acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam’s world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent production of A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater; David Cromer’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional theater productions.

The Theatre’s premiere works have moved on to Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center Theatre, 59E59 Theatre in New York and across the nation at regional theatres in nearly every major city.

Writers Theatre is seeking Interns for Fall 2014! 

You would have the opportunity to work in the areas of Artistic /Education, Development/Fundraising or Marketing/Communications. Internships will run from September through December. You will be mentored by the Director of Education and other department heads.

To learn more about this opportunity and apply by the August 1st, 2014 deadline, please log into SoConnect! You can search for this position by company ( Writers Theatre) or by ID# (2239).

SoConnect Weekly Round-up: 7/19 – 7/25

New Internships:

  • Brookside Artist Management – Talent Management Internship
  • Facets Multi-Media, Inc.- Children’s Film Acquisitions Assistant, Development Assistant, Cinema Marketing Assistant, Facets DVD Label – Sales, Marketing & Publicity, Programs Assistant, Festival Programming Assistant, Festival Registrar Fall Internship, and Marketing/Social Media Coordinator Internships
  • The San Jose Group- Multicultural Graphic Design and Research/Strategic Planning /Consulting Internships
  • Timeline Theatre- Marketing Internship

New Full-Time:

  • CBS Radio- Traffic Assistant/Coordinator
  • Rebuild Foundation- Teaching Media Artist

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internship, freelance, and full-time opportunities & more!

Life After NU: Post Grad State of Mind

“People looking for information are looking for text, not pictures,” writes copywriter Dean Rieck. I, like many students of my generation, was surprised to hear this. I had always assumed that it was graphics that were the most important aspect of marketing, and appearance that was the most important aspect of design. But good writing matters. It matters both in art and in business, so it’s not surprising to find that there are plenty of jobs that will pay you to spend your time writing.

I ran into a friend the other day on Church Street in Evanston. We had both been writing majors together at school, and she knew that I had started a new job since graduation. What amazed her, as I told her how my first month’s been, was the amount of time I spent writing. After four years of parents asking how our majors will ever translate into salaried jobs that amazement shouldn’t be a surprise. But in my first month here at Duo I’ve learned that nearly any skill you have can be turned into a profession, especially if you stay open to all of the possibilities out there.

In my case, I didn’t know anything about Inbound Marketing before I began at Duo, nor had I ever thought of myself as a skilled copywriter, and I certainly didn’t have any plans to work for a consulting firm after I graduated. In fact, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Except maybe pay back those student loans. But that all just goes to show that there’s a world of possibilities out there is you push lightly in many directions.

So what does my job actually look like?

A photo of me and the Duo Team on a summer outing!

In short companies hire me to write about them. Perhaps they have a blog that doesn’t get enough traffic. Or maybe major changes in the company has left the copy on their main page out of date. They come to Duo looking for a refresh or for more content. The trick, however, is that these companies might do any number of things. We have in our rolodex CRM software developers, mid sized fleet management companies, The Episcopal Church, The Sperm Bank of California, the list goes on. I know nothing about most of these companies, so the act of writing is first and foremost the act of researching–something most Northwestern students are very familiar with.

Our partnership with an average client usually looks something like this: we sit down for a meeting to get a base knowledge of their business, we formulate a strategy for what kind of content needs to be generated and where it needs to go, we begin more in depth interviews with different members of the company to get specific insights and industry relevant knowledge. Then, and only then, do we begin to put anything on the page. And what comes out is usually not as lengthy as you might expect from this long process. But as the other member of our marketing team likes to point out “there’s a lot of terrible content on the internet, we’re after quality, not quantity.”

Jon Gleason is a recent graduate of the School of Communication, and majored in RTVF and English (Creative Writing). He now works for Duo Consulting in Chicago.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: We’re Halfway There

This summer I’m interning three days a week in Creative Development for MGM Television (Fargo, Teen Wolf, thirtysomething). The other two days, I spend my time doing interesting Pre-Production projects for Good Clean Fun, a Reality TV Production company (Run’s House, Tia & Tamera, Life of Ryan). It’s been an absolutely insane experience so far! I already feel as though I’ve gained more insight into the entertainment world than I had the chance to last summer. I’ve definitely become more comfortable in these highly professional environments, though the switch from working at a powerful studio to a small and innovative reality TV company is both refreshing and profound.

A wall of Academy Awards in the lobby of the MGM Development penthouse.
A wall of Academy Awards in the lobby of the MGM Development penthouse.

At MGM, I work closely with two other interns. My duties include: logging scripts, reading teleplays, screenplays, treatments, and sample work, and writing coverage on them. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how the film industry works, essentially a bunch of executives trust a couple unpaid twentysomethings to read unproduced scripts and determine their worth. Whether we agree or disagree with our bosses, the studio executives will take our comments into consideration when deciding to pass on a project or not. I also have the opportunity to participate in the weekly development meetings with Steve Stark (NU alum!) to discuss the scripts that come through MGM. Not only is this duty beneficial to the company, it’s also extremely helpful for me as a wannabe writer – I read multiple scripts per day, so I’m constantly exposed to what’s working in the industry and what’s not.

At Good Clean Fun, however, we don’t deal with scripts at all. Reality TV is a whole new game. Instead of covering scripts, my bosses assign me smaller tasks to accomplish. With each little task, I learn amazing skills that may not directly relate to my future career, but will certainly help make me a more well rounded person. For instance, I was asked to take footage from some of their current shows and use Photoshop to turn the shocking moments into GIFs for their Tumblr page. That task alone got me familiarized with a new and useful software so that I can implement these skills in future projects. I have also been helping the company brainstorm title ideas for one of their new shows, and I recently assembled the graphics for a pitch. I’m shocked with how interesting these small projects have proved to be, especially since I’m not a fan of Reality TV myself. The office is very laid back and I’ve gotten to assist in so many areas of production that I feel like a regular employee as opposed to somebody lower down on the rungs of the ladder.

When I’m not at work, I spend my evenings watching movies and perusing around Westwood with other Northwestern interns. It’s amazing how many new friends I’ve made in these first few weeks! The Wildcat connection is not a joke – when you’re in an unfamiliar environment, you’ve got to cling to what you know and love. I’ve found that the people I surround myself with bring me the comfort of a home away from home, whether that’s in Evanston or Los Angeles!

Haley Boston is a rising junior RTVF Major interning at MGM Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Weekly Round-Up: 7/14 – 7/18

New Internships:

  • Chicago Humanities Festival- Development, Marketing/PR , Production , and Web Content/Multimedia Internships
  • HBO- PAID Films Internship
  • Margie Korshak Inc- Theater Department Internship
  • MCC Theater- Marketing Internship
  • Northern Lights- Production/Post Production Internship
  • OddLot Entertainment- P&D Internship
  • Open Road Films- Film Internship
  • Preferred Content- Administrative and Creative Affairs Intern
  • Psychic Bunny- Cream Soda Media Production Internship
  • River Road Entertainment- Development Intern
  • Scott Free Productions- Television Internship
  • Snow City Arts- Arts Administration Internship
  • Station 3- TV/Film Management & Production Internship
  • The Narup Group- Integrated Marketing Communications Intern
  • The Onion News Network- Graphics, Production, and Writing/Research Internships
  • Thunder Road Pictures- Film Internship
  • Vuguru LLC- Development & Marketing Internship
  • Warner Bros. Pictures- Promotions Intern
  • Writers Theatre- Writers Theatre Internships

New Full-Time

  • CBS Radio- Digital Sales Manager, Digital Sales Planner, Digital Sports Reporter and Producer, Digital Web Content Producer, and Local Sales Manager

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internship, freelance, and full-time opportunities & more!

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Nobody Got Time for Naps

Unlike most summer interns, I’ve been at my company for more than a few weeks. I started working at Rise Interactive, a digital marketing agency in Chicago, in April as a Marketing Communications intern. On the Marketing Communications team we talk a lot about crafting a good story. A good story has many components, however, the most important aspect of any story is introducing a challenge or problem that needs to be solved. If you were to craft a story about my last four months interning at Rise my challenge wouldn’t be understanding Search Engine Optimization or learning how to write the perfect press release. No, my main challenge has been getting over the 2:30pm slump.

photo 1As a student, I had the luxury of building my own schedule. For me this meant leaving a window between 3-5pm where I could run errands and, usually, nap. On my first day at Rise I found myself parked at a desk during my prime nap hours responsible not only for keeping my eyes open, but also getting work done. After my second week of near face plants on my desk, I knew relying on a second cup of coffee wasn’t going to cut it.

Since I’ve been at Rise for nearly four months I’ve discovered a few fail-safe strategies for adjusting to and getting over the student nap impulse.

Human Contact
One of the easiest ways to wake up is by talking to someone. Whether it’s a fellow intern, your boss, or even the mailman, find someone who you can entertain you for at least thirty seconds. The responsibility of upholding half the conversation and fear of creating a social snafu is strong enough to jerk you awake.

Run up and down the stairs

Doesn’t this look like a fun thing to run up and down on?

This may sounds crazy but after sitting at a desk for five hours, running up and down the stairs of your building a few times it’s the perfect way to pull you out a drowsy state. You’re not only exercising, but you also have to make sure you don’t trip on a stair and break your neck. This also is excellent for writer’s block.

That thing called outside
I didn’t realize how much I missed the sun until my only source of light was a fluorescent one above my desk. If the weather’s good, which it typically is in the summer, take a few minutes outside to absorb some vitamin D and maybe be harassed by a homeless person.

Call your mom
Nothing perks me up more than hearing about my mother’s most current worries about me, my life, or really the world in general. I’ve heard mothers are great at pep talks too, which might be the path for you, although my mom prefers scare tactics to get me going.

Working full time has been a huge adjustment for me over the last few months, but a rewarding one for sure. I look forward to sharing the rest of my experiences on this blog and maybe picking up a few other tricks along the way. If you need me in the meantime, I’ll be running up some stairs with a cup of coffee on the phone with my mom.

Emily Ryles is a rising senior majoring in Radio/Television/Film. She is interning with Rise Interactive a Chicago Digital Marketing Firm. 

SoConnect Weekly Round Up: 7/7-7/11

New Internships:

  • ‘stache media (RED Distribution) – ‘stache media/SONY Music Internship
  • American Theatre Company – American Theater Company Education Apprenticeships
  • Gray Talent Group – Talent Management Intern
  • Scott Free Productions – Scott Free Television Internship
  • TeamWords Media – Public Relations & Social Media Internship – Sports and Lifestyle
  • The Orchard – Digital Advertising Intern – Fall 2014
  • Violet Media – Development and Production Internship
  • Zero Gravity Management – Entertainment Management Company Internship

New Full-Time

  • Windy City Playhouse – Development and Sales Manager

Log into SoConnect to apply for these internship, freelance, and full-time opportunities & more!

Employer Spotlight: Violet Media

Violet Media is a non-fiction television production company dedicated to fresh, fun ideas and innovative storytelling.  Based in Chicago, Illinois, Violet is uniquely positioned to uncover those one of a kind characters and entertaining dramas that always make for dynamic TV.

Their experienced team of writers, producers, editors and development executives has worked on everything from loud, off the hook anthology shows, to verite docudramas set in some of America’s most dangerous locales. As a group, they are committed to creative thinking, sound development and unparalleled client service, but most of all they’re devoted to enjoying the process of making great TV.  Violet Media clients include A+E Networks. FYI, TLC, OWN, HGTV, and Oxygen.

Violet Media LogoViolet Media is seeking Development & Production interns for fall quarter! You’d be working closely with the development team as they research and generate new ideas, help the production team with general office work and preparation for filming, and be responsible for post-production tasks such as transcribing, time coding, and logging raw footage.

To learn more about/apply for this position, please log into SoConnect! You can search for this position by company (Violet Media) or by ID# (2227).

Fun fact: SoC alum, Jason Bolicki, currently serves as the Executive Producer & Development Consultant at Violet Media!