All Roads Lead to the Page Desk

Let’s be honest. I applied to the NBCUniversal East Coast Page Program to more easily answer the dreaded senior-year question, “What are you doing next?” I know it was shallow, but hey, the same logic led me to Northwestern four years earlier and that turned out just fine.

To be fair, I always dreamed of being a Page. As a TV history buff, I knew the program was notorious for launching broadcast careers (notably Regis Philbin, Ted Koppel, and Disney President Michael Eisner), and even more notorious for providing exclusive access to an otherwise closed-door industry. Former Pages work everywhere in broadcast media, and (especially after going through college unaffiliated) I was lured by the fraternity of it all.

I like the word “Page” too. It sounds elegant to my ears, almost romantic.

Therefore, in the middle of an otherwise clueless senior year, I threw my hat into the Page ring. Thankfully I had a strong list of internships and the help of the EPICS team to back my application. One thing led to the next and after a lengthy 4-month interview process, I snuck my way into the program. Wide-eyed and weary, I packed my bags for New York in April, officially doing “what I was doing next.”

I’ve had the privilege to work on two major assignments during my Page year — one in development at CNBC and one with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Because the program is rotational, it has conditioned me for all sorts of work. From coordinating press events inside the New York Stock Exchange to escorting Snooki to her dressing room, things have been far from routine.

Pages learn how to get things done even when they have no idea to start. We live in a dysfunctional middle-ground between intern and staff in which both everything and nothing is expected out of us. Pages learn how to promote their strengths in order to secure more responsibility all the while masking their weaknesses to avoid unfair blame.

The push-and-pull of the program has taught me a lot about balance. Some days are boring and others are overwhelmingly exciting. I learned about that contrast at Northwestern though — a place where winter days drag and Dillo Days shine.

No first job out of college lasts forever, and if you can nab one as obnoxiously fun as mine, you should go for it. You may, like me, work ridiculously long hours. It’s okay. You’re used to long nights. You may, like me, live in eight different apartments within a year’s time. No big deal. One night in Bobb-McCullough prepares you for anything. You may, like me, stand on the studio floor of a Saturday Night Live broadcast, simultaneously feeling as big and small as you ever have felt before. The feeling will be nothing new to you though. You’ve stood on the shore of Lake Michigan.

I hate to write this blog with an objective “you” because I’m only ten months out of school and not much closer to figuring things out than you — Northwestern student — are.  Additionally, although my first year out has been unusually colorful, it’s not much different than that of my 2012 peers. We’ve had shared experiences all across the country, and we all agree: it’s a time to learn about ourselves — a time to decide what we want and how we’ll pace out the next 40+ years to make it happen.

It’s said amongst NBC employees that “all roads lead to the Page desk.” I’ve found this quality of my job to be the most rewarding. After all, once enough people come to your desk to ask what you’re doing, you’re bound to develop some answers.

Here’s to Kenneth.

-Ryan

Ryan Hynes (C12) lives and works in New York City. He’s an aspiring digital storyteller with an affinity for heartwarming commercials. At Northwestern, he served as the President of Arts Alliance and a Video Coordinator for Dance Marathon and NUFitRec. Ryan was born and raised in Arvada, Colorado.

NBC’s America’s Got Talent Chicago Auditions

 NBC’s AMERICA’S GOT TALENT is coming to CHICAGO and they want to see the Talent of Chicago!!!

Auditions are being held JANUARY 26th-27th at the McCORMICK PLACE CONVENTION CENTER.

YOUR DREAM… is 90 seconds away!!! 

ANY TALENT and ANY AGE.

Don’t miss your chance to show America YOUR talent and compete for the opportunity of a lifetime at winning the Grand Prize of $1 MILLION DOLLARS.

* To pre-register for an Audition and for more information on AGT, please log onto www.agtauditions.com *

 

We are very excited to see all the talent of Chicago at our Chicago Auditions on Jan. 26th and 27th! For more information visit: http://americasgottalentauditions.com

Adventures of an EPICS Intern in NYC: 30 ROCK Meets Sandy

By: Demetrios Cokinos

This past month has been a crazy one.  Everything was smooth sailing until hurricane Sandy hit.  Now we have been forced to reshape our entire shooting schedule because of the time lost.  Tandem shooting schedules (days when we shoot two episodes simultaneously) happen just about every day now, versus the more familiar occasional one.  My hours have increased, but I feel that I am keeping up with the pace of things.  Or at least think I am.  I appreciate being a part of the show every day, as I still feel like I am on the verge of waking up from some overly-detailed dream.  Before I go into Sandy and her aftermath, I would like to describe a great experience I was allowed to participate in.

I had the honor of interviewing Robert Carlock, the executive producer/head writer (alongside Tina Fey)/show runner of 30 ROCK.  Being the show runner means that Robert Carlock holds the overall vision of the show.  He and Tina approve just about every aspect of each episode before it airs.  In case you are not familiar with Robert Carlock’s work, I will tell you that he worked for Saturday Night Live (one of his most famous sketch being “NPR’s Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls”) and later Friends before making his way to 30 Rock.  In her book, Tina Fey claims that Robert Carlock’s involvement in show is one of the main reasons why 30 Rock exists.  To say the least, as I was sitting in his office, I found that Robert Carlock is both a humble and intelligent man who understands in every aspect of making a successful TV comedy.  The half-hour that he allowed me to spend with him stands as one of the most enriching experiences I’ve shared in my time here.

Then Sandy paid NYC a visit that following Monday.  Long story short, I lost power for a week and spent the storm at a family friends in the Upper East.  Bizarrely, the storm really didn’t affect anyone above 50th street, but just about devastated everyone below.  The beauty behind this whole experience is that we went right back to work that Wednesday!  Working that day while the vast majority of NYC was still in shambles, felt somewhat apocalyptic.  For example, the subways were not working in any capacity, so the production and transportation teams running van pickups into all three boroughs – BUT sparingly because gas was beginning to run out all across the state.  The phone lines were down at Silvercup Studios; so a good part of my work day was then ruined, as the phones are my best friend.

Oh, and remember how gas was running out?  That became a real thing the following day.  A car service for our actors called and said, “Hi, our apologies, but we cannot pick up Jane Krakowski because we do not have any more gas.”  The phone rings again, “It’s Alec. It’s about Jane. It’s urgent.”  Interestingly enough, I have found that Alec always tries to help some situations if he is able.  It is amazing to see how everyone at 30 ROCK helps each other out in these tough situations.

I was then told to pick Jane up.  Normally, I would have gotten in the production van, but there was a temporary bridge regulation put into action: no vehicle carrying less than three people could enter in Manhattan.  My mission: get on the subway, jump in a cab once I get into Manhattan, get Jane at her hotel, and pray to God that the cab driver take us back to Long Island City.  So down to the subway I ran, under the bridge I sped, and into a cab to Jane’s place.  I called and left a message saying that I was outside.  And then… “Hey Demetrios, it’s Todd – Jane, by some miracle, found a car service with gas. She’s on her way over here.”

I laughed and asked the cab driver to turn back around.  I should have expected that to happen.  What I didn’t expect, however, is that Jane sought me out in the office to thank me for my trouble.  She is such a nice woman and it was a joy to have a brief conversation with her.  And as soon as she left the production office – boom, another crisis.  Tracy Morgan needed gasoline to power his fish tank generator (you know he has an octopus and a shark, right?!).  After calling all around the state, I found a good amount of gas, and his fish survived another day!

Although hurricane Sandy caused for tons of chaos at the office – like I said, we’re still paying for it now with tandem shooting days.  I truly enjoyed witnessing these people band together to continue providing entertainment.  Looking at this job from the inside, I see that it will be a lot of long hours after college, no matter what part of the industry I go to. Either way, I am excited to be involved in it in every aspect.