Adventures of an EPICS Intern: To The Future…

This summer, I came to Los Angeles with an internship at Red Hour Films. It was a great internship with great people. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and most of all had a great time. Shortly after I got to LA, I secured a second internship at David Zucker Entertainment as support to a writer’s room, equally rewarding in ways that differed from Red Hour. A few weeks ago, I came to a fork in the road: continue with how I was going or make a slight change.

I learned something really valuable from this decision. I had to choose between working both of my internships for the rest of the summer or go five days a week at one and leave the other. It was a tough decision, because I was benefiting from both of them. And I wasn’t sure what to do. The other option was to work five days in the writer’s room, which sounds like a dream for a writer like me. But I was still conflicted. On one hand, I made a commitment to work at both internships for the entirety of the summer. On the other hand, I had learned something from that internship: it’s important to know when it’s time to move on.

AdamHughesimage001I’m not saying leaving an internship is for everyone. But in that moment, I knew I had to figure out what was going to be best for me. Five days as support to a writer’s room, to see how things start, how they grow, and how they end up. To work with a team of writers, editors, and producers. It seemed like a no brainer. But still, I felt an obligation to my first internship. That’s the funny thing about feelings. Sometimes they keep you from seeing clearly.

I’ve learned that this industry is full of these moments. Sure, right now, it’s just an internship. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. I came out here to start a solid foundation for a future after graduation. But you can’t move forward if you’re not willing to be honest with yourself. In that moment, I had to put myself on a path. So I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and made my choice.

Though I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had at my first internship, I know it’s not often that good opportunities throw themselves at you. The lesson I learned this summer is not to let things pass you by. Sometimes, you just have to step off the cliff and see where the fall takes you. Especially if you know, deep down, that you’re doing what’s best for you and your future. It’s about your attitude and how you get along with everyone else. Moving forward is the only way to move, so I hope that when others find themselves with decisions like this, they spend time working on the clarity of the situation. You don’t want life to pass you up.

Adam Tyler Hughes is a MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage student who is interning at Red Hour Films and David Zucker Entertainment over the summer.

EPICS Career Corner! Fall Recruiting Season

The new school year is just around the corner and so is fall recruiting season. It’s best to start early, if you haven’t already. This includes those of you only looking to intern next summer since many employers start recruiting for summer interns during the fall.

As you prepare for the new school year, there are several steps you can take now to help jump-start your job or internship search:

Review your resume and cover letter. Did you intern or work over the summer? If so, add that experience to your resume. Create a cover letter if you don’t already have one. Not sure where to start? Check out NCA’s online resources for steps on how to write a cover letter. Using a job description that interests you will help you create one geared towards your career path.

Do your research. Create a list of possible jobs and organizations as well as recruiting timelines for your chosen industry. Again, more and more companies are recruiting earlier in the year. Doing the work upfront will help ensure you get your applications in on time.

ThreePeopleContinue building your network. Networking can seem daunting at first, but it’s likely you’ve already started if you’re talking to friends and family about your career aspirations. Keeping in touch with previous employers will also help. They may be aware of future opportunities or know someone who is. Additionally, Northwestern has resources you can use including Our Northwestern, the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program, and various career events. Watch for information regarding NCA’s career fair on September 27th and 28th. This will be a great chance to network and see what job/internship opportunities are out there.

Apply! SoConnect and CareerCat are great places to start when finding jobs and internships. Pay attention to deadlines and don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Waiting till the deadline may lead to missing out on opportunities. Sometimes hitting the submit button can be the hardest part, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Keep in mind; Northwestern is one of the few universities on the quarter system. This means students on semesters will have a head start on the job search.

Feel free to login to SoConnect to make an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your resume, cover letter, or any other career related topics.

Written by EPICS Assistant Director Funmilayo Ojikutu, who serves as the main point of contact for all SoC undergraduate programs.

Adventures of a EPICS Intern: Artist Talk

This summer, I interned at BlackStar Film Festival.  BlackStar is an annual film festival that celebrates the work of the African diaspora and “global indigenous communities, showcasing films by black people from around the world.”  Many films this year also reflect voices beyond the African Diaspora including Native American voices of the Americas, Palestine, and middle eastern.  At this film festival, which has just concluded it’s 5th year, filmmakers participate in panel discussions, enriching workshops and networking opportunities that are birthed out of “family reunion” types of activities.  Some of the most notable voices of the African Diaspora and global indigenous communities are present and they interact freely with the younger generation of filmmakers.  The festival’s tagline is “by indie means necessary,” a logo possibly coined after Malcolm X’s famous charge in support of black liberation “by any means necessary.” It’s logo, the Black Star in reference to Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line, an incorporated shipping line that became symbolic vehicle for black physical and economic empowerment and liberation.

My BlackStar Film festival internship duties ranged between primary duties of interviewing and filming some of the distinguished filmmakers involved in this year’s festival and secondarily creating and presenting an informative talk about my filmmaking process for other filmmakers during the filmmaking symposium.  I performed research for both of my tasks.  In order to prepare myself for the interviews, I familiarized myself with the body of work each filmmaker.  I interviewed a number of up and coming artists as well as some veterans including: Julie Dash, Anisia Uzeyman and Saul Williams, and Raafi Rivero.

The “ artist talk” was probably one of the most challenging aspects of my experience.  This involved creating a multi-media presentation on my process as an artist.  Myself and three other filmmakers conducted talks curated by the festival in the form of a filmmaker’s symposium and Q&A.  We delved into our filmmaking processes, philosophies, and influences before an audience of our peers.  During my talk, I looked up and noticed that one of my filmmaking heroes happened to be in the audience at the time.

I’d encourage any filmmaker to attend this festival whether part of the African Diasporic and indigenous communities or not.  The festival is founded by the visionary Maori Karmael Holmes, and curated and executed by an incredible multi-racial staff that is passionate about programing and displaying the best works of these communities. The voices of the marginalized are often the most rich and potent and the fresh perspectives offered can enrich any filmmaker.

Iyabo Kwayana is a MFA in Documentary Media student who is interning at BlackStar Film Festival over the summer.

Weekly Round-Up (8/1 – 8/12)

Postings-Weekly-Round-Up-(facebook)Log into SoConnect to apply for these internships and full-time opportunities!



  • Agate Publishing – Publishing Intern
  • Chicago Splash Magazine – Editorial Internship
  • EVENTup – Social Media & Marketing Intern, Fall 2016
  • Flowerbooking, Inc. – Music Booking Agency Intern
  • GlobeMed – Marketing & Communications Fellow
  • Guerrero Howe – Social Media Intern-Fall 2016
  • Hootenanny – Post-Production Intern
  • IFP Chicago – Fall Internship
  • Light Opera Works
    • Fall Arts Management Intern
    • Fall/Winter Production Administration Intern
  • Media Process Group – Production Internship Fall 2016
  • Modern Luxury – Fall 2016 Internship
  • Mudlark Theater Organization – Design Intern Fall 2016
  • Music Box Films – Fall Distribution Intern
  • Music Garage – Music Industry Internship
  • National Basketball Retired Players Association – Fall Intern
  • National Kidney Foundation of Illinois – Special Events Intern
  • Optimus – General Internship – Fall 2016
  • ParadigmNEXT – Digital Marketing Internship
  • Pro Sports Kings – Fall Sports Internship
  • Ripple Public Relations – Public Relations Intern
  • The Comedy Bar – Fall Internship
  • The Telling Well – Strategy Intern
  • Think Glink Media- Paid Writing, Research & Social Media Internship
  • WTTW Chicago / 98.7WFMT- WTTW Community Outreach and Social Media Internship

Los Angeles, CA

  • Gettin’ Rad Productions – Fall 2016 Development Internship
  • Ideate Media – Development Intern 
  • Participant Media – VARIOUS Fall 2016 Internships!

New York, NY

  • New York Theatre Workshop – New York Theatre Workshop Internships (Fall)
  • United Nations Department of Field Support – Web Production Fellow

Other Markets

  • Digital Branding Institute (Remote/Online)
    • Content Marketing Intern
    • Social Media Intern
  • Susan Davis International – Communications/Public Relations Intern (Washington, DC)

Apprenticeships / Fellowships:

  • Arena Stage – Arena Stage Marketing Fellow (Washington, D.C.)
  • CBS – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – Apprentice Program (New York, NY)
  • GlobeMed- Marketing & Communications Fellow (Evanston, IL)


  • Communications Strategy Group – Communications Associate Denver (CO or Chicago, IL)
  • Northwestern University, Searle Center- Undergraduate Research Workshops Coordinator (Evanston, IL)
  • Scranton Gillette Communications (Arlington Heights, IL)
    • Associate Editor
    • Marketing Assistant
  • WGN-TV (Chicago, IL)
    • Director/ Assistant Director
    • Photographer /Editor

Adventures of a EPICS Intern: The Business of Being Scared

A creepy old house where mysterious occurrences keep happening. A group of teens camping in the woods, attacked by an unseen force. A family trapped in a house with a group of masked murderers. What do all of these have in common? Well besides being situations I would very much not like to be in, they’re all super cheap movie ideas of course!

Me and Ax (1)This summer, I worked at Blumhouse Productions, a film production company known for its low budget filmmaking, particularly in the genre of horror. Blumhouse’s first major success was the 2009 found footage horror movie Paranormal Activity, which made $193 million on its $15,000 budget, a return on investment of nearly 13,000%. Over the past few years, they’ve continued to make other successful low budget horror movies such as Sinister, Insidious, Unfriended, Oculus, and The Purge. So how does Blumhouse keep churning out such successful movies, and why do they stick to horror as their base genre?

Horror has a lot of key advantages that make it easy to shoot on an extremely low budget. Horror movies don’t have to rely on big action setpieces, spectacle, or any sort of high-level special effects. Most of what is scary about horror movies are things you don’t see- a creaky door, a shadow at the end of the hallway, or a quick movement in the corner of your eye. Even when the monster does appear, special effects are usually pretty limited, consisting of light CGI and makeup.
Isolation and confinement are also two ways to up the scariness factor of a movie while lowering the locations budget. The Purge takes place in one house, Unfriended is set in only a few bedrooms, and The Gallows occurs in a high school. Found footage is also a great way to decrease the budget- you don’t need fancy camera or lighting equipment if it’s supposed to look like amateurs filmed it. And you usually don’t need any expensive actors or actresses for horror movies. As long as people are getting their heads chopped off, audiences don’t really care.

Blumhouse has built themselves on this business model, and so far, it’s been working pretty well for them. They make 10-20 movies a year, each with a very limited budget. If the movie does well: Amazing! They make money! If it doesn’t: No worries. It’s not too much money lost and they’ll make it up elsewhere. And if the movie does well enough, it might even spawn a franchise, in which case they’ll probably get more money for the sequels. For instance, The Purge had a budget of $3 million, while the recently released The Purge: Election Year had a budget of $10 million.

I learned a lot of things from Blumhouse this summer, but one of my main takeaways was: Horror is awesome! Seriously, it’s a genre that’s both fun to make and fun to watch, and it’s perfect for film students (who don’t have too much money) to get into. I know that when I get back to Northwestern, I’m definitely going to try and work on as many horror movies as possible. That is, if I can go to sleep at night first.

Devon Kerr is a s a rising junior Radio, Television, and Film student who is interning at Blumhouse Productions over the summer.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: ‘Exposure’ A snapshot of a Television Academy Intern

There is not just one word to describe my experience this summer. But if I was forced (kicking and screaming) to shove it all into one word, I would say: Exposure! Like a camera opening it’s lens to the world, I have been fortunate enough to capture an amazing picture of what it is like to work for a successful television show!

Cat-Davidson-(TV-Academy-&-Major-Crimes)-underneath-the-Hollywood-Sign!-(web)But let’s take it back, just a month or two before I knew I was to snap that image. It was not too long ago that I was sitting in front of my computer, gazing at my email, hoping that one of the 10 to 15 internships I had applied for responded back with positive news. When I received the call from the Television Academy Foundation, I was ecstatic, jumping up an down in the middle of the street. Literally! But when my feet hit the ground, anxiety, nerves, and a whole bunch of other thoughts and feelings crowded my brain. What if I’m not good enough? What if they made a mistake? Are they sure they want me? Will I make a good impression? I think that these are normal fears that come into a persons mind when they have been chosen among a large pool of qualified applicants. And so, out of respect to those who had applied and had not gotten the chance, I decided to give it my all. Take my fears and march head strong towards my dream. And so I was LA bound.

I was excited for the heat and cloudless skies of Hollywood! But I was about to be exposed to way more than just the sun. Every year, the Television Academy Foundation (The Emmys) awards internships in over 30 different categories to students who are pursuing careers in the television industry. I was awarded the Television Scriptwriting (Drama) internship and was slated to work with the writers on the cable TV show Major Crimes! And if you haven’t seen it, I encourage you all to do so. It’s definitely an exciting season! (Shameless plug, I know.) But it comes on every Monday evening on TNT! Okay, so now that that’s out of the way…

Cat-Davidson-(TV-Academy-&-Major-Crimes)Behind-the-desk-in-the-assistants-office-(web)I started at Major Crimes when they were in the middle of breaking an episode. The first day I sat in on the writers room listening to the many writers go back and forth on what the storyline of the episode should be. I witnessed the script coordinator and writer’s assistant take notes while another writer wrote the outline on the board. I was fascinated by how they all seemed to seamlessly work together to generate a coherent and exciting story. That is also the remarkable thing about the show Major Crimes. From the moment I arrived I was told how connected and unique the people were on this particular show, and I have found this to be true. They all work together like a well oiled machine because many of them have been working here for the past 12 years, ever since the show The Closer aired seven years before it’s spin-off Major Crimes. They are a family. And I hoped to become a part of that family too.

From my first day onward, I have been in the writers room, when there is one. I take notes with the writer’s assistant. Proof drafts with the script coordinator. When I am not in the writers room, I have had the privilege to be present during most production meetings, read-throughs, and tone meetings. The read-throughs are great, because most of the stars of the show are present and everyone gets to hear the full episode before they start to shoot it.

But I haven’t even told you the other really cool parts of my experience yet. So here they are in a list, because they would take up a whole novel to describe fully. I often get to go on set and watch the shooting of scenes. I’ve met all of the actors, production crew, directors, writers (of course), executive producers, and post-production staff. And they all are the best people, who love their jobs, and are very helpful. I’ve gone on a location scout with a notable director and writer, watched an action scene being filmed on the Paramount Lot. I help with the weekly Facebook live chats, watch casting tapes, and sometimes hang out in post- production watching the editing take place. I have even been able to watch several previews of episodes with the show runner, who is simply amazing. While I have been told this is a very unique show, the people here really do make the show what it is! What can I say, if this is the anomaly I am glad that I was exposed to this first. My standards are high now and I think I am better for that.

Being a Television Academy intern has been the opportunity of a lifetime. The exposure, networking opportunities, and relationships that the Television Academy has afforded me is something I will not take for granted. I encourage every student who is pursuing a career in Television to apply (more than once if you have to.) Reach for your dreams and goals. And keep the image of what you want in your mind. If you can picture it, you can make it happen.

Cat Davidson is a MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage graduate student who is a Television Academy Foundation intern working on Major Crimes over the summer.

Adventures of an EPICS Intern: Reaching Out & Exploring Communication Sciences and Disorders

In need of various speech therapy clinical experiences for graduate school, the SoC Hammerschlag Internship Award gave me the opportunity to spend my summer traveling and working in numerous sites for individuals with disabilities in Aurora and Chicago.

I intern at the Association for Individual Development (AID) adults with disabilities STARS day program which has established an accepting and active social community for clients from over 45 communities in Illinois. Each morning, clients who live in community group homes or with parents are picked up and brought to the center. I start the day by working with clients’ on their individual goals set by their social workers, from writing their name to more challenging tasks like solving puzzles and math facts. Afterwards, clients participate in AID scheduled social day trips where they build relationships with peers of similar disabilities. This summer we have visited the Brookfield Zoo, movie theatre, dollar stores, and even a farm! With each trip, the laughs and smiles exchanged between clients helped me to realize how essential AID is in creating accessibility for these clients to leave their homes, stay involved in their community, and feel embraced and accepted by peers and supportive staff who become like family.

Rachel-Sepulveda-2-(web)When I’m not at AID, I am a speech therapist assistant at the Center for Speech and Language Disorders clinic in Chicago three days a week. I help with their Leap into Literacy preschool program, reinforcing skills like sound awareness, behavior management, and rhyming skills. The two phenomenal speech therapists I’ve worked with have been the ultimate mentors in explaining theories behind therapy practices and how to make each lesson individualized for every child.

Rachel-Sepulveda-1After teaching preschool downtown, I volunteer in the afternoons in two Chicago hospitals. One is Lurie Children’s Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park where I prepare materials for therapists and observe client therapy sessions for disfluencies, swallowing, articulation and other speech skills. After each session, the therapists answer all of my questions and take the time to explain why they chose specific activities for their patients.

The other hospital I volunteer at is the technology center at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. During my shift, I help develop low tech speech books for nonverbal or minimally verbal patients. These books list each patient’s’ specific needs with words and pictures for the patient to point and use as a communication tool until they regain their speech. In addition, I update and program individualized speech technology tablets which shows simple drawings that can be tapped on and used to verbalize for the child. When I am not working on speech tools, I observe sessions of speech therapists teaching patients how to use their new communication devices.

Overall, I feel this summer has given me a better understanding of the field of communication sciences and disorders due to my variety of hands-on experiential learning, spanning from working with children to adults and even innovative speech technology. My advice for other CSD undergraduates is to reach out and email speech therapy clinics and hospitals and ask how you can observe or help out. Most times they are more than happy to receive the extra help and to excited to educate eager undergraduates!

Rachel Sepulveda is a rising junior Human Communication Sciences student who is interning at Association for Individual Development and Center for Speech and Language Disorders and volunteering at Lurie Children’s Outpatient CenterRehabilitation Institute of Chicago over the summer.