Adventures of an EPICS intern: Flexibility Is Key

Flexibility.

It’s the thing I can’t seem to tap into at the yoga basics class on weekend mornings or in my daily routine. I’m someone who likes the regular- the same peanut butter-topped Eggo waffle for breakfast, the same route to class, a neatly laid out week in my planner and the next box checked off on my list. However, through my time with Make-A-Wish Illinois I’ve learned that sometimes you have to be willing to bend a little to get the most out of an experience.

I’m not embarrassed to admit (ok, a little, but this is Northwestern and Northwestern internship culture) that I was initially rejected from the internship I currently have. I applied to Make-A-Wish Illinois in October while abroad and was rejected not long after. Ok, fine. No winter internships panned out so I headed into winter quarter looking forward to my four day weekends and abundant free time. Then in January, I got an email saying the position had suddenly opened up again. Was I still interested in interviewing? In one week I went from an unemployed aimless junior to Communications intern. I changed my work study schedule and piled on extra hours wherever I could in my first foray into flexibility, bought some business casual jeans, and headed off to River North on the 8:12 a.m. Purple Line Express on a cloudy Friday morning.

Make-A-Wish is a fantastic organization to work for. It’s a non-profit with a long, respected history that anyone can get behind regardless of political or religious beliefs. Many people don’t realize that Make-A-Wish is not just for terminally ill children, but also for children with any life-threatening condition. This means the children we grant wishes too often grow up to live long, happy, and healthy lives and continue to give back to Make-A-Wish. My primary job is to interview families who have recently experienced a Wish and write their stories. That was my plan. It’s turned out to be much more. I’ve gotten to call families and tell them they will be receiving a wish and then ask for every detail of their lives over the phone. I’ve had to scan page after page of obituaries and faded Polaroids from the early days of the organization, dozens of children who died before I was born and often before they reached their teens. I’ve constructed event pages and written tweets and seen some very sick children made very happy.

Above all, it has required me to be flexible. It’s easy to sit down and engage in busy work until five p.m., but it’s a lot harder to get up and ask who in the office needs an extra set of hands when my supervisor is out. These conversations with families turn intimate and personal with almost no warning and the script I type up and study before every call is suddenly irrelevant. However, I’m glad that Make-A-Wish is the place where I get to do it. Non-profit work can often be frustrating it’s hard to see any immediate results of your actions. Despite knowing that my contribution to the organization is minuscule at best I am privileged to see tangible and positive events unfold every day. It might be another community fundraiser springing up (catch Wish Night in Evanston at Tech on May 14th!), opening a folder to see another beaming kid in a blue Make-A-Wish shirt in front of Walt Disney’s castle, or a box packed full of toys and games for children going through chemotherapy. Whatever it ends up being, I can be flexible.

Olivia Kuncio is a junior Communication Studies student who is interning at The Make-A-Wish Foundation this quarter.

Adventures of an EPICS intern: Hey, Why Not Me?

Today marks my one month of intern-hood at The Second City’s Producer’s Row. What a month! I went from feeling like the new girl who asked way too many questions, to being the veteran who answered everyone’s questions. I can tell you the best place to find dinner or a drink in Old Town and definitely recommend some shows for you to come see! Currently running, “#DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment.” I saw it last night with my friends and laughed SO hard. I also ate some phenomenal pretzel bites, shout out to my friends in the kitchen.

Being an intern is being a sponge. You absorb everything you hear, and slowly, you start to understand it all. Some of my favorite things I’ve absorbed are:

  1. Old traditions that actors keep backstage (no photos allowed!)
  2. The Second City’s plans and ideas for improving their directing program
  3. The nitty gritty rules of The Actor’s Equity Association and how to create appropriate contracts

I’ve definitely gotten more papercuts in the last month than in my entire life, but I don’t mind. Being told to organize files may feel like busy work, but my boss, Brian Loevner (Managing Producer) encourages me to read all of the files and see what they’re about! So, fellow Northwestern interns in an office somewhere, read everything you can get your hands on. You won’t have the same chance forever… plus I once found an old script from when Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch performed in the mainstage cast!

The office feels small, but every person is in charge of so much. From associate producers, to casting directors, to marketing, to the art department, Producer’s Row churns out a lot in a day. A sector I didn’t know much about, Diversity and Inclusion, is the part of The Second City I really want to touch on in my next blog, so check back, because it is all just so cool.

 

Liz Coin is a sophomore Radio, Television, and Film student who is interning at Second City this quarter.

Adventures of an EPICS intern: Learning to Say “Yes, And” in Producer’s Row

I sent in my application to The Second City’s Administrative Internship on October 4th, 2016 with the recommendation of a fellow NU Wildcat. I didn’t hear back until December 13th. I didn’t interview until December 18th. I didn’t get the job until January 8th. I started January 13th. Welcome to the world of live comedy where you hurry up and wait, where nothing is life-or-death until it is, and where everyone is the coolest person you’ve ever met.

Here are some pictures of the intern’s office where we all pile in. I cleaned it just for this picture! By all of us, I mean the four to five interns who are from the previous session (whose last days are January 31st) and yours truly. You might imagine it’s a little strange being the only new person, waiting for your new co-interns to arrive, but I’ve loved it. I know my way around the ever-changing office, I know the names of people who don’t know me yet, and I know how to work our various online systems quite well after having had five days of work.

Within my first five days, I have met with the managing producer, Brian Loevner, to whom I am assigned. I work with him on his projects he has in the works, I manage contracts and any kind of managerial paperwork needed done, and I help wherever assistance is needed within the building. For example, there are small inserts called “table toppers” that tell the audience who will be performing in the show that night. It’s my job to update, print, and place these for the correct theater for the show that night. None of this sounds too exciting, but that’s because the really exciting stuff is all TOP SECRET! Just kidding. Sort of. Some cool things I can tell you about are the shows I’ve seen so far. Yes, ma’am, I do get free tickets to see shows and get a free class just for being an intern! What?!?

I saw the mainstage show “The Winner…of our Discontent,” “Fast, Loud, Funny” at the UP Comedy stage, “Improv All-Stars” and tomorrow I’ll see “Godfrey,” a stand-up show. There are multiple theaters/stages of The Second City along with its training center and film school. The more I learn, the more I’ll post. But I’ll  sum up the last five days the best way any comedian can: “YES, and?”

 

Liz Coin is a sophomore Radio, Television, and Film student who is interning at Second City this quarter.