The Wind in Your Sails

This summer has made me come to terms with the fears involved with working in the “real world.” A world where adulting is the norm and society expects you to operate under the prewritten boundaries of what your title entails.

Now, I may be speaking from a slightly more anxious state being that I’m a senior, and the “what are you going to do after graduation?” question keeps being asked of me. Nevertheless, I do believe there is an underlying fear that comes with embarking on a new journey, especially one that involves your livelihood.

The first type of fear is finding an internship or job. I had worries about whether working with a literary agency was the right fit for me. I was intrigued by the job’s responsibilities but was unsure if my previous, and relatively limited, work with manuscripts was enough of a foundation to perform well in the role. This fear soon subsided as I began the job; I was thrown into the deep end. I was assigned multiple, different genre scripts a week where I was expected to read and write script coverages for each. I also was expected to do subject-based research for our clientele and create proposals and presentations to display my findings. While these responsibilities seem overwhelming, they motivated me to learn quickly and from my mistakes to make my next assignment that much better.

This brings me to the second type of fear, one that is performance-based. Before starting my internship, Imposter Syndrome made me doubt my confidence. I couldn’t help but question: Is my best good enough? Will I be able to produce the type of work they expect? Why should I have a say over what scripts have potential, I’m nobody… Needless to say, self-doubt is always a natural enemy. Yet, these doubts only define you if you let them. Rather than letting the fear take over, let it motivate you and prove it wrong. You will undoubtedly rise to the occasion and surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish.

The third fear is the expectations associated with the completion of an internship. The main expectation is knowing if this role is what you want to pursue as a career. If you haven’t heard it before, let me be the first to say, it is okay not to know. While I really enjoyed all that I have learned, the people I have worked with, and the role itself, I’m not sure if I would want to pursue a career as a literary agent. But I have gained a lot more knowledge about myself after this internship. I learned that I have a deep passion for helping those find their voices and ensuring their stories get told. I learned that I thoroughly enjoy the entertainment industry and would love to better understand different career paths in the field. I learned that work is not work if you love what you’re doing. In the end, it’s okay not to have all the answers. It’s learning more about the person you are that makes an internship impactful.

This is all to say, it’s normal to be afraid. In fact, most people are afraid to start something new, so don’t feel like you’re alone. This summer has taught me that the best satisfaction comes in overcoming the doubt that tries to hold you back from an experience that has the potential to change your outlook on your future.

My advice would be to chase the opportunities that make your heart skip a beat, find the excitement in the uncertainty, and allow the wind to blow fear into your sails, it will help you go far.

 

Vicente Cayuela – Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund for the Arts 2021 Fellow

As my internship at the Griffin Museum of Photography comes to an end, I am more certain about my future professional prospects and the steps I need to take to work in the museum field.  Throughout the course of the summer, I have learned the importance of organizational skills to succeed in the field of arts administration. Art programming is a fast-paced environment in which the future is planned months in advance. This entails all sorts of communications with artists, organizations, guest curators, gallerists, and all sorts of creative professionals that keep the museum engine running.  This introduction to a fast-paced environment helped me organize and systematize my own work, as well as being more strategic with my own creative production. I learned to systematize my workflow, files, and graphic assets we work with for the sake of time and efficiency.

One thing I have learned about myself is that I am much more of a self-starter than I had previously imagined. For most of the creative multimedia projects I worked on at the museum, I had almost complete independence in choosing what things were going to look like, as well as a say on the technical aspects of video and audio editing, graphic design, and social media strategies. I am glad this internship program allowed me to use my creative vision to contribute to make the art world more accessible one step at a time.

At the Griffin Museum, I have been promoted as a Lead Content Creator for Social Media. Starting this August, I will be leading a team of creative interns to elevate the photographic arts and promote the mission of Arthur Griffin and the Griffin Museum of Photography. In the near future, I expect I can continue utilizing my multimedia skills to promote the museum’s many exhibitions, events, and educational programs. One of my biggest passions is to make art accessible. I hope that in the future the support offered by the Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund for the Arts and the Griffin Museum will allow me to do this on a bigger scale.

In less than two weeks, I will be starting my curatorial internship at the Rose Art Museum of modern and contemporary art. Having the opportunity to employ my creative skills and work in a museum with a permanent collection of 8,000 objects of art is really exciting. Something that I am much better prepared for thanks to the support of the World of Work program.

 

The Jumpstart That Began My Journey

One opportunity.

One opportunity is all it takes to help you find your path.

What do you want to be? This question has always haunted me. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the answer, rather there were too many options. Park ranger, movie star, deep-sea diver, the possibilities were truly endless. However, it was when I took Professor Doherty’s Hollywood and American Culture course that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, particularly film.

So, I was faced with a new challenge. Although settled on a path, I didn’t have a means of travel. I couldn’t begin my journey because nobody would give me the green light. It was frustrating not having a connection that could escort me down a smooth road.

I guess I wouldn’t have appreciated the opportunity as much as I do now if that was the case.

Only after sending around countless cover letters did I decide to cold call my future boss. To my surprise, he picked up on the first ring. After a fast-paced chat, he sent me a sample script. “The job is yours if you impress me with this script coverage.”

I received my first script coverage assignment soon after.

If there is an internship you want or a job that looks fascinating, don’t be afraid to chase it. Sending that email or making that phone call may seem daunting, but that extra step of showing your interest could be all the difference in making you standout as a candidate.

Now in my internship, the best word I could choose to describe my experience is dynamic, never boring. While my primary task is to write script coverages, I also conduct industry-based research and help with the agency’s communications. The virtuality of the role makes it all the more important to connect with my fellow interns and the rest of the team. I am planning a company-wide virtual hang-out. My initiative aims to humanize remote working. When individuals are given the space to learn more about one another, the harsh boundaries of remoteness seem to fade away.

Yet, my initiative wouldn’t come to life if not for my boss. He is a very personable, supportive boss who wants the best for his interns. I have written script coverages for a variety of different literature: movie scripts, self-help books, whimsical fantasy novels, scary sci-fi manuscripts, memoirs, and so many others. No matter the coverage, he is intent on hearing my thoughts on the read and whether he should invest in the author. Perhaps my understanding of summer internships is flawed, but I never thought a mere college intern’s thoughts mattered. I was shocked for my opinion to not only be heard but valued. I feel like I am actively contributing to the company.

However, this contribution goes beyond the company. The pieces I read are from real people who have amazing stories that deserve to be told. This role has allowed me to support creatives who have found their voice. The next manuscript I read could be the movie that changes your life, the book that encourages you to take the next step, or a clip that inspires you to make a change. These works have the power to impact your life and I am humbled to play a small part in making sure they get to you.

 

Don’t Let Fear or Assumptions Hold You Back

For a long time, I was under the false understanding that an internship only seemed impressive if I was working for an extremely well-known company. Like working for a larger, established organization would be the way to be taken seriously in the entertainment industry. I’m not sure where this idea spurred from. Maybe it was my high school career counselor saying nobody can make it in the industry, perhaps it was the waves of voices that told me majoring in English was an employment death wish or it very well could have been my self-doubt.

All are wrong.

I wish I could have told my first-year self how vital internships are to a college experience. Because of this negativity, I was reluctant to work for companies that were smaller and less known.

A simple selfie among my local library’s stacks. My manuscript reading spot and where I can relax.

In doing so, I was depriving myself of tremendous opportunities to explore an area of work that excites me. By taking my internship with a smaller literary agency, I have overcome these negative emotions that were holding me back. Script coverages, research, negotiations, client meetings, the tasks I get to learn vary from day today. A smaller company allows me to wear more hats and appreciate different parts of the business. This freedom to pursue multiple roles gave me space to fall in love with what I’m doing this summer and is molding my future career plans.

So, if you have a passion for something, step out of your comfort zone and try and pursue it on a professional level. Don’t let anybody, including yourself, hold you back from an opportunity that could make you happy. Don’t wait as long as I did to take the next steps to find your path.

I have learned a lot over this summer. This summer, in particular, I have learned the importance of communication. Due to the virtual nature of this role, clear and concise communication has become immensely important. I have learned to give and receive constructive feedback, enjoy creatively brainstorming research strategies with my fellow interns, and help writers find their voice. Overall, my internship has been rewarding in the work I have completed, the relationships I have made, and the fresh perspective I have on my future career goals.

Through my work, I have grown to value internships because they provide real-world experience. They allow you a glimpse into the working world of a career you may want to pursue. The learning experience will help you grow on a professional and personal level. My parents have always said that every experience is a learning one. Every person has the power to teach you something you don’t already know. Keep an open mind and heart when applying to and working in an internship. You never know who or what will change your life forever.

My summer internship at the Griffin Museum of Photography has undoubtedly been an amazing learning experience. While I had previous knowledge and professional experience on a variety of design and multimedia endeavors before my internship, having my work featured through a reputable arts organization has had many repercussions on how I see and relate to my own work. Firstly, I definitely put more pressure on myself to improve and learn new skills to deliver multimedia content of professional quality. I often say to myself that even though I create content behind the scenes, my work is ultimately meant to be seen and judged by others. This definitely entails some sort of reaction, feedback, and criticism, as well as the need to meet the expectations of the people I work with at the museum, our audience’s, and my own. This has pushed me to understand that different content needs different approaches, both aesthetically and marketing-wise. I have developed a deeper understanding of user-engagement insights, something that has led me to find ways to maximize user interaction through my creative work. Through my internship, I have learned strategies and new skills that have helped me deliver content that gets the point across yet is dynamic and fun to watch.   

Secondly, I have come upon the challenge of finding that sweet spot between cultivating my own voice as a multimedia creator while working to elevate the work of the artists and art organizations. I like to think of myself as a multimedia mediator with one mission in mind: Employing my creative skills to bridge the gap between cultural enterprises, their work, and the general public. I have learned that by taking advantage of digital media, organizations can expand their influence and communicate with their audiences more dynamically and authentically. At my internship, I have learned the dynamics of working in a fast-paced creative environment in which deadlines are tight and content is produced on a daily basis. As for the future, I want to keep learning more motion graphics so I can take my design practice to the next level. Learning in-depth 3D graphics would be an amazing challenge. All the skills I have learned and improved at my internship are just additions to my creative toolkit that I can employ for different projects, whether in my life as an arts student or as a creative professional.

Probably, the most important thing I have learned during this internship is that when you pursue something you are truly passionate about, you will go that extra mile it takes to get people to notice you and put in the extra effort it takes to get where you want to be. I have learned that working in the creative industry is competitive and hard, yet I do not believe that people should conform or be scared to pursue a creative career just because of the constant discouraging message around the arts. I believe the opposite. Society should encourage creativity and the arts so we can change our perception around what it means to be a creative professional. 

At my internship, I have had the opportunity to network and learn that a creative career can have many forms. There is not one set-in-stone way to be an artist or a creative professional. The photographers and artists I have met during my time at the Griffin have all sorts of businesses, galleries, and personal endeavors that they cultivate with passion and hard work. Probably, my biggest learning experience throughout this process has been to realize that as a creative person, you are the only one in charge of creating the life you want for yourself.

 

Creative Internship at the Griffin Museum of Photography – Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund in the Arts (WOW Program)

This summer, I am a Marketing Intern at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. In this position, I am part of a team responsible for creating engagement strategies as well as audiovisual and graphic content to promote the museum’s programs and exhibitions on various social media platforms. As a multimedia geek with a profound interest for photography and the visual arts, my goal is to generate genuine interest in artists, cultural organizations, and their work.

Front view of the museum with one on our public art exhibitions in collaboration with Photoville Fence

After working as a Multimedia Support Specialist and Production Assistant at Brandeis’ media lab (Sound and Image Media Studios), I am employing many of the creative and technical skills I acquired at Brandeis in a professional creative environment. Working as an all-in-one video editor, sound producer, and motion graphics designer, I am having the opportunity to merge my multimedia and marketing skills to help bridge the digital gap between cultural enterprises, their work, and the general public. I believe that by taking advantage of the possibilities digital media has to offer, museums can reach new audiences and expand the reach of their cultural impact by presenting their work through a different lens.   

Two of the projects that I most enjoyed working on this summer were two artist statements that I transformed into promotional videos for the ongoing exhibitions at the main gallery: At the Edge of the Fens by Jacqueline Walters and Now is Always by Vaune TrachtmanFor this task, I had to get in touch with the artists, have them record a voiceover of their artist statements, and come up with a creative interpretation of their exhibitions using a limited set of photographs. Most of my work is done with different Adobe Creative Cloud products that I practiced at SIMS in our many staff trainings, team and personal projects. I create graphics in Photoshop and Illustrator, which then I animate on After Effects and assemble together on Adobe PremierePro. I have also been exploring Adobe Dimension to add a 3D element to my design practice, as well as Adobe Audition and LogicPro to compose my own music as an alternative to using royalty-free sounds off the internet. I like my multimedia work to have a character of its own. I hope that by delivering eye-catching multimedia work while remaining honest to the artists and organization voice and missions, I can help strengthen bonds with their target consumers and expand the scope of their audiences. 

Throughout the course of this internship I want to keep improving my multimedia and design skills. Thanks to the Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund in the Arts, I have had the opportunity to get a glimpse of what it is like to work in a fast-paced creative environment where deadlines are tight and content needs to be created on a daily basis. Although most of my work focuses on advertising and multimedia production, I would like to learn more about administrative tasks, such as programming and exhibitions.  I would also like to dive deeper into the museum’s archives and get a glimpse of what working as an art curator feels like. I am grateful to be doing an internship that allows me to be creative and get inspired by other artists on a daily basis. It is something that inspires me not only to be more knowledgeable of the current trends in the world of photography and the visual arts, but it also inspires me to pursue something that I am very passionate about. The Griffin Museum summer internship program has been incredibly beneficial as it is allowing me to prepare for my upcoming curatorial internship at the Rose Art Museum next academic year – something I wouldn’t have been able to do without the help of World of Work and the Hiatt Career Center.

 

Final post!

I most definitely feel that I achieved my defined learning goals this summer. My academic goal was to “gain hands-on experience in journalism and thus apply my studies as a journalism and American studies student to real life.” In fact, I feel that I achieved this goal far more than I expected to. I did not anticipate how much I would get to write about and explore American history and I believe that in actually applying the past to current events and situations, I gained really valuable insight and perspective on many of the issues I’ve studied the last two years. 

My career goal for the internship was “to gain professional experience working in a national magazine setting and to come out of the internship having published more of my own writing.” I’ve published 11 articles, and have been really lucky to be able to stay on in the fall as a contributor for Ms.— so that number will continue to grow! While I didn’t get to experience an in-office work environment, I do still feel that I learned about general policies and practices within the field (such as how to pitch a story, how to edit, how to learn particular style guidelines, etc.).

Finally, my personal goal for the internship was “to improve my own journalistic and nonfiction writing and gain experience writing with an activist lens.” Thanks to my wonderful supervisor, I feel that my writing skills have greatly improved since the beginning, which I am really proud of. I also got the chance to work as a feminist, and in the process, learned a lot about journalistic ethics and professional writing in general.

Surprisingly (to me at least), I don’t feel that my learning goals have changed. I think I went into this experience with really clear insight and I worked hard to reach those aims. Thanks to the generally well-thought internship, and my supervisor’s support, I feel that I really did accomplish what I set out to do.

Undoubtedly this internship has helped me clarify my career goals and interests. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in journalism before going in but coming out, I feel even more confident and is now considering branching out into more news reporting. All of my journalism experiences so far have been with magazines, mostly digital magazines. I have really loved the pace and style required for this kind of journalism as well as the wide range of genres I can write in. That being said, my few forays into more “newsy” reporting (such as this article) have piqued my interest. I definitely would like to explore this field further.

I would highly recommend spending the summer as an editorial intern with Ms. Magazine. Most importantly, my supervisor was endlessly supportive, thoughtful and helpful to me and the other interns. She took time to get to know each of us (even in a remote setting!) and once she did, made an effort to give us assignments she knew we would care about and learn from.

In terms of more general advice about interning in journalism, I would say take initiative. If you have an idea for an article, don’t hold it in. Pitching ideas to my boss this summer was an excellent experience and practice for the future (more advice— learn how to pitch really well!). It was also really exciting because I was always so invested and eager to write pieces that were entirely my idea from the start.  

The article I am most proud of is this article. 

I got to do two longer interviews for the piece and learned a lot about synthesizing research and interviews into a cohesive and flowing strong story. In general, I am just really proud of the ways I pushed myself out of my comfort zone these past few months. My very first piece was one that I pitched, which was exciting in itself, and I made an active effort throughout the internship to try different things and learn as much as possible. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity, in part because I was able to grow in this way and challenge myself while loving every minute of it.

New learning curves

Hello world!

To be honest, working virtually is difficult.  When working at an in-person internship I received more help as my advisors were only an office away. In addition, I had more pressure to stay motivated as everyone else was focused on their work around me. Finally, there was a clear separation between work and home, and as a result, there were fewer distractions like my bed or my family.

However, I feel that one of the values of this virtual internship is preparing me to work from home in the future. This internship highlights the fact that working from home requires more effort: one creates one’s own schedule, there isn’t the same social aspect to one’s job, and there are more distractions. This knowledge is extremely beneficial as more and more professions, especially after COVID, will be based at home and freelancing will become more common.

The World of Work has differed from my university life in many ways. First of all the idea of deadlines is completely different. In university, deadlines appear almost arbitrary. Assignment deadlines appear to be placed randomly, many times inconveniently, throughout the semester. At the BarnArts internship, deadlines are focused around events. Most of the promotion work I have been doing has three or four projects due around the time of an event. 

Secondly, Brandeis is centered around acquiring knowledge while WOW is about utilizing your knowledge. At Brandeis, we spend hours in lectures absorbing new knowledge and learning skills on how to research and acquire new knowledge. At BarnArts, I spend most of the time utilizing my knowledge and skills I have gained in life in order to complete the tasks assigned to me.  

Thirdly, the social dynamics are completely different. At university, there is a clear hierarchy between the professor and the student, and with that comes an immense amount of respect. Given the distance between students and professors naturally, closer bonds are formed between students on campus. At my internship, there is less of a strong hierarchy between me and my supervisor. Part of the reason for this is that there is less of an age difference between my supervisor and me, only nine years difference. In addition, there is a more laid back atmosphere at the organization compared to the university setting. This is contributed to its small size as there are only three employees and the fact that it is located in Vermont. 

I have learned many important digital tools during this internship. I have become a pro at iMovie. While this is basic movie editing programming, I hope that it will provide a basis for other more advanced movie editing platforms in the future when I have more money and space on my computer. I also have become very adept at social media platforms and the basics of marketing. In addition, I have become more courageous and outspoken in the working sphere. I am more willing to email my boss first and ask for work instead of just having her assign me tasks. Finally, I am getting more comfortable with reaching out to our performer base. One of my jobs is to communicate with musicians who are performing at our events.  I was intimidated at first to do this but over time it has become easier. 

Mikahely. Malagasy musician who I’ve been helping expand their bio.

While virtual internship brings with it a new learning curve it has strengthened my digital skills immensely and prepared me to work from home in the future if need be.

Academic vs. Professional Life

I think one of the most challenging things about working remotely is building relationships with the people I am working with. In a normal workplace environment, and particularly in a college internship, in which building relationships is so important— I think a lot of time is spent on connecting with supervisors and getting advice, networking, etc. At the beginning of this internship, I really struggled with how to connect with both my supervisor and my fellow interns, all of whom seemed, just from the early introductions, really smart, talented and generally very cool people that I knew I wanted to get to know. It was definitely a struggle to try and get to know them all through Slack messages and emails and I spent a lot of time worrying about whether or not I was making a good impression or demonstrating my abilities to the fullest extent.

Now we are all a bit more settled into the internship and I feel that I actually have been able to connect with many of my colleagues, even in this “virtual state.” As a writer, or someone that intends to pursue writing moving forward in my career, I’ve always sort of envisioned that career path as a very independent and “solo” one. This internship has really taught me that writing, especially in this “virtual existence,” it’s important to form relationships and work closely with people. I’ve been able to learn about my own research and writing process by working with other interns, my editor who has already taught me so much about writing and journalism and my work has gotten into the Ms. weekly or daily emails (bottom row):

 

The world of work has differed from academic life in a lot of ways. One, I feel that my writing is valued in a very different way. When I file a piece with my editor, I am not getting graded or even evaluated in the same way as I would when I submit a paper to a teacher. I feel like I am really able to express my own ideas and push myself to write in the most engaging and informative way possible. When writing essays for class, I usually shape my writing and ideas to fit the prompt, class discussion and the teacher’s writing preferences. In this professional format, I have a lot more freedom (though still structured guidance). However, I do think that experiencing the world of work not in person limits my impressions of what a real job in an editorial or journalistic field would look or feel like. Most of my day still “belongs” to me, so I have a lot more flexibility and space than I would if I was in an office. While I’m undoubtedly enjoying the work immensely, I do wonder how the experience would be different or more immersive in person. 

One skill I’m building is interviewing with professional journalistic conduct. I was lucky enough to be able to write a long-form feature piece on underrepresented playwrights during COVID-19, and for the piece, I got to conduct two interviews with really incredible people. The piece came out on the 15th and it was one of the most interesting and fun pieces I have written, in large part because of how much I got to engage with the interviewees. I’m also able to work with writers who are more established and experienced than I, and I’m able to learn a lot about professional conduct from them. I think being able to interact with and engage with people you do not know in a professional manner is a really valuable skill. Not only for my future career, which will hopefully involve a lot of interviews, but also in terms of forming relationships with teachers, future employers and anyone I would meet in a professional environment. It’s interesting how making a phone call to someone you do not know, for me at least, can be really intimidating. Learning how to make those calls and send emails in ways that are polite, professional, but also most likely to get a positive response, is really important for a career in journalism.

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

This summer I am working for the organization BarnArts Center for the Arts. BarnArts is a nonprofit arts organization located in Barnard, Vermont. Its mission is to bring the arts to rural Vermont. Under normal circumstances, its programming includes a summer Thursday Night Music Series, indoor and outdoor plays, a Summer Youth Theater Camp, and a 5k race-fundraiser around Barnard lake.

The Thursday Night Music Series takes place at a local farm. It features musicians from Vermont as well as out of state, hosting a number of different types of genres including world music. This year the music series has been able to operate at low capacity, featuring only instate bands.
The Summer Youth Theater Camp and race-fundraiser have also been able to function in modified ways. This year the race-fundraiser, Race Around the Lake, occurred at a social distance. Every racer ran by themselves within a week’s time frame, recording their own finishes.

As their intern working remotely my main role has been to promote events, as well as, communicate the changes to the structure of the programming during the summer. In my first week, I created an Instagram account for the organization. I also helped make a survey for BranArts patrons, inquiring about their thoughts on attending programming during the COVID-19 outbreak and what precautions they wanted to see in place. BarnArts added the survey to the first Instagram post and website. My other posts on Instagram have been about upcoming events including the Summer Youth Theater Camp and Race Around the Lake. Because Race Around the Lake was socially distant, Instagram promoted the event. I even created a photo contest centered around the race. The results of the contest will be up next week!!
Aside from being the guru of social media, I have also been responsible for promoting the organization in other ways. One of my main responsibilities has been editing and creating promotional videos for various art grants. This requires splicing together footage from previous music performances. Next week, we are releasing one video, I created, on the BarnArts Instagram which features musicians from last year’s Thursday Night Music series in order to promote this year’s series. Stay tuned! The main impact my digital media work will have is to build the organization’s outreach.
The third project I am working on presently is planning a Social Justice Event. After the events in April BarnArts has wanted to get more involved in the BLM movement and promote musicians of color. As an intern, my responsibilities have included finding and contacting musicians, poets, and speakers for the event. My supervisor is also working separately on a lullaby project with the organization GlobaLocal. This project goal is to bring together immigrant Vermont musicians with nonimmigrant Vermont musicians to create multilingual lullabies. I am responsible for helping find and contact performers who would be interested in the project. My main impact of the two projects will be to create more opportunities for diverse artists in Vermont to share their art.

My academic goal for the summer is I want to familiarize myself more with the Vermont music scene, who the famous artists are, and who is up and coming. By organizing and running the 18-week community series I will get exposure to many different groups. As a result, by the end of the summer, I will have a greater understanding of the Vermont music scene.

My career goal is I want to improve upon my fundraising and grant writing skills. One of my jobs as an intern will be fundraising as well as researching and writing grants. As a result of the feedback, I will receive from Chloe on my grant and fundraising work, my fundraising and grant writing skills will improve over the course of the summer. My personal goal is I want to connect and form friendships with multiple types of people. During their summer music series, BarnArts hosts up to 600 people. They also have various employees that run their farm stand and organic kitchen. While it is unknown if we will be able to meet in large groups during the summer, I hope these concerts will give me the chance to meet people and form friendships especially with those that work at the farm. Some of these goals will need to be modified as the internship is now virtual because of COVID-19.

I have learned a lot so far about the art world in rural Vermont and look forward to continuing my work with BarnArts over the summer!

Reflecting on a summer at the Jewish Museum

I had a wonderful time at the Jewish Museum this summer. I learned so much about how the Museum runs and really felt like I was a part of the community there. As a public programs intern, I frequently interacted with the museum’s visitors. Before the internship began, I was nervous that I would find this aspect of the internship intimidating. However, communicating with the public during different programs I assisted with became one of my favorite parts of my internship. I loved feeling like a voice for the Museum and getting direct feedback on events hosted at the Museum.

One of the events I worked at was a day-long adult art class. This course focused on the self-portraits musician Leonard Cohen made throughout his lifetime, highlighted in the main summer exhibition at the Museum, Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything. In the class, we asked participants to create their own self portraits in a similar marriage of language and visuals to what Cohen used. One of my proudest moments during my internship was helping during this studio program. I had a lot of fun flexing my studio art background in my otherwise art history-focused internship. Additionally, it was really exciting to see the participants create such wonderful self portraits. I had no idea about the adult studio programming at the Museum before my internship, and I found it to be a really special aspect of the Museum’s community. At the end of the class, we hung up the portraits made by the participants in the hall and had a small critique. It’s a really special moment to see a piece displayed at a Museum then walk upstairs, in the same building, and see work made that day in response to the piece.

Working with the Museum’s public programming staff this summer has opened my eyes to all of the career opportunities available in the museum world. In school, it can seem that the only way to be involved in the museum world is by being a curator and having a strictly art historical background. However, many of the people I met in the education department have studio art backgrounds. There are so many ways to help people engage with art and it was a great opportunity to see that firsthand this summer. Even as an art history major, I find that going into museums can be intimidating sometimes. Working in the education department opened my eyes to the different ways we can connect to art and have a meaningful experience. I know I will take this knowledge with me in my future internships and, hopefully one day, a career in a museum.

I encourage anyone interested in an internship at the Jewish Museum, or any museum, to get out there and look at art! Go to museums and sit in front of work, draw work, attend events at museums you are close to — there are truly so many ways to interact with art and be involved in an art community. If you find it stressful to walk around an exhibition at a large museum, that is okay! There are a multitude of ways to engage with art every day, everywhere. Even something as small as photographing a mural on a wall in a city is a way with the art community around you and think about art in a new way. The art world is a big place with many different opportunities to be involved. Be open-minded and apply for different kinds of positions within museums and outside of museums, you never know what you might discover.

Added to My Scrapbook

I finished my internship this week! I can’t believe it is over already. At the same time, it feels like I’ve been working there forever. I learned so much and was introduced to so many new things and people. I even got to lay my eyes on Ariana Grande–in the flesh! That was definitely a highlight of the summer.  

Annie Leibovitz’s photo of Ariana Grande for this summer’s cover of Vogue.
Annie Leibovitz just has a signature look. It’s hard to describe, but looks so cool!

Working this internship allowed me to finally see what the film and photography industry is like, and I’m happy to say I still want to be a part of it. I wish there had been more photoshoots to assist on because I find myself missing the creative side of the art, but I still really enjoyed the feeling of importance as part of the production team. Being responsible for getting everything necessary to the set is a huge weight but super rewarding when done well. 

I set out wanting to gain a clear understanding of the step-by-step process of set production. I also wanted to establish and build some professional relationships with my coworkers, supervisors, and anyone else I met along the way. I wanted to gain more confidence in myself and in the work I was doing. Throughout the weeks, the assignments and projects I was tasked with allowed me to tweak my skills and made me a better intern with each day that passed. I liked the intense and faced-paced environment. At times, I thought I was swamped in work. Each time I finished my workload, I would soon realize I had merely been in the eye of the storm.

I am definitely proud of sticking through this internship and living as a New Yorker. I’m sure I’ve picked up some habits and will return to campus with the ability to walk a mile a minute, but it’s been a great experience. I can’t get over the fact that just days before starting this position, I was in a completely different country! I definitely miss home sometimes, but it feels great to be making solid steps toward my career. 

Trying to land an internship in the film industry? Do what I did and submit a million applications. Tighten your resume. Build your portfolio. Apply early! Don’t listen to the people telling you that getting a job is next to impossible. Have you seen the end credits of a movie? There are plenty of jobs, you just have to be first and among the best of the applicants. It’s super cool that Annie’s team thought I was worthy enough to be in her presence. After leaving the office, I now have the skills to prove it. 

Huuuuge thank you to Annie Leibovitz and her staff! An even bigger thank you to the Steven M. Bunson ’82 Internship Fund and the WOW team for helping me experience this amazing summer!

 

The Show Must Go On

Like every dazzling production, mine has finally come to its close. In a few weeks, the curtains will be drawn, the lights dimmed, and I will be onto my next premiere. Yet, all the knowledge that this tale has taught me will live on in every show I do. 

Past Speakeasy production posters line the walls behind me!

If I could extend my run with Speakeasy Stage Company as their Production Management Intern, I most certainly would. They have exceeded my expectations in their support of my theatrical education. Not only have I learned everything, and more, I wanted to in technical theatre, but my eyes have been opened to the office setting of a theatre and all that is required as an administrator. I am grateful for all the theatre professionals I have met and the doors they have opened for me in my career path. This internship has solidified my already established belief that I am meant to be a theatre artist and have the growing abilities to succeed as such. 

That’s me- on a cupcake!

While I am saddened to leave Speakeasy and return to Brandeis, I am comforted by the awareness that my work as an intern will continue to influence the company after I am gone. When I could, I wrote guides for future interns so they would more easily understand tasks they were given. I created timelines, spreadsheets, and checklists galore for this coming season’s shows. Every week, I read and analyzed two plays which were then voted on as possible future productions. (And let me tell you, there are some fantastic new works coming!) An intern’s work has value, even if on the surface they seem to be the lowest on the totem pole. Speakeasy’s staff is well aware of their interns’ work. One staff meeting, they surprised us with cupcakes- complete with headshots of each intern. 

The 2nd show in our upcoming season is about getting into college!

It was nice to be recognized by Brandeis for my hard work, too! Kristin and Jackie from Hiatt stopped by Speakeasy’s office one morning to meet my supervisors -both of whom are wonderful teachers – and speak to me about my experience. If you want to hear more about working in a professional theatre, you can check out the video interview here . 

In the booth! (In a theatre, the booth is where the lighting and sound operators and the stage manager sit and run the show!

Whatever area of theatre you are interested in, it is important to understand as many other jobs within the stage as you can. Not only does this establish an appreciation for those around you, all of whom are working together to put on a show, but it also creates more job opportunities for yourself in theatre. The world of performance is an incredibly competitive field so the more you can do within that field, the more chances of success you will be given. However, success doesn’t just come from knowing how to complete a job. Everyone appreciates a positive attitude and strong work ethic. If you and your competitor can both do the same job equally well, the company will choose the harder working, more positive applicant, especially if they already know them. Get to know as many people as possible and help them out. The show will always go on, but it is your choice whether you give yourself the best chance to be included.

Want to see our next show? It  opens Sep 13!

I will never forget the kindness and generosity of the people I have met at Speakeasy. Everyone was always willing to explain something new to me, seemingly knowing that they were once in my shoes. I know that Speakeasy’s show will go on and am grateful to have been a part of it- even if for one sweltering hot summer.

THANK YOU SPEAKEASY! 

If you want to see upcoming Speakeasy shows, click here!

 

Further Comments on “Film Comment”

WoW, these past two weeks have flown by! It’s business as usual over here at Film Comment, and our July/August issue recently hit newsstands. My name is on the masthead, which was pretty exciting! One of my main jobs these days is to update Film Comment’s Rotten Tomatoes profile, which is another example of a job that probably isn’t that exciting but I very much enjoy. Basically, I turn the full length reviews into snappy, single sentence summaries that sum up whether the critic liked the movie or not. I’m also spearheading efforts to archive Film Comment’s prior articles, which basically means spending a lot of time in a massive Google Sheets document. Thankfully, we’re almost finished.

One thing I’ve really come to appreciate about this internship is my fellow interns! Writing criticism is a pretty specific type of writing, and it’s not really something that’s taught within Brandeis. Sure, higher ed has given me a lot of tools and shown me methods of breaking down different texts, but it’s not like there’s a class on writing 400 word reviews or why popular criticism is a worthwhile discipline on its own. Meanwhile, my fellow interns here at FC have also spent lots of time contemplating this type of writing, and what makes it special and necessary.

Meanwhile, I’m really loving living in New York City. I had a few speed bumps when I first moved here (including one major, bug related problem), but it’s all smooth sailing here now. I’m from a small town in the midwest (Champaign-Urbana IL, also known as the greatest place in the world), so the hustle and bustle of NYC isn’t exactly what I’m used to. But… I love it! You sort of have to prepare for the worst at all times (and the city never cuts you a break when you need one), but at this exact point, I’m enjoying being on the perpetual hamster wheel. With a little help from my Maps app, I’ve had a ton of fun exploring this endless concrete jungle, and it’s nice knowing I could handle living here.

Between spending time with Brandeis friends, meeting up with other (read: older, wiser and more experienced) writers for coffee and advice, my second job, and my internship, I’m busier than ever, but that’s hardly a reason to complain. I really want to bring this energy back to Brandeis with me – right now, I’m constantly juggling different pieces and working on about six things at once, and I don’t plan on slowing down during my senior year. In fact, I’d better get back to it now!

Jonah Koslofsky

On Becoming a New Yorker & Set Life

Moving to New York is basically a requirement if I wish to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. I knew the city was extremely loud, smelly and bustling with people who can’t see in front of them because they are blinded by all of their responsibilities. And I thought I would be able to fight assimilating to this culture, but I find myself speaking like a New Yorker with each day that passes. Despite knowing the subway map by heart, and being able to get things done in a “New York minute”, I will never – I repeat, never – run to catch a subway car.  That’s just me, haha. Work wise, I wish I felt more confident in my workplace, but that just comes with time. There are so many intricacies that come with the job one can only master after a year or so of being on sets. Working at Annie Leibovitz’s studio is definitely introducing me to much more than I could have imagined, and I am grateful for that. 

 

This job is definitely different from what I do on campus. On campus, I am able to be creative and hands-on with the videos I shoot. I collaborate with other students and we come up with ideas that sometimes change as the ideas present themselves. At my internship, everything is more administrative and less creative. I work to make sure all purchases for shoots are accounted for and organized in the information drive. I also help set up everything when we get to set, making runs if the photo team or AL needs anything. Understanding this side of the pre-production process helps me be better organized and create more solid videos on campus because I have a deeper understanding of why I should certain steps during planning and brainstorming. I also now know how to contact and book locations, plan catering and other processes I never really thought about including for my shoots. 

 

I am definitely learning the do’s and don’ts of working on set. I am noticing how specific people interact with each other and how to dress for a set prep day, vs a day at the office vs, how to dress the day of the actual shoot. Some of the things I am picking up seem like “oh, well, who cares?” kind of details, but they all play factors, however small, in how one is received and subsequently, treated on set.

 

what we and the photo team have to load and unload and load back up again every day for a shoot

Tips on how to dress for [prep] set, work, and shoot day:
1. Wear black to set preps. You will sweat. A lot. You are going to be lifting heavy equipment and running from place to place, so do yourself a favor and wear black. Especially because everyone else will be.

2. Do look nice when you arrive at the office, but it’s nice to know that you actually don’t have to wear a button-down and slacks! You can come in your favorite t-shirt if you want. Just…no jeans, please.

  1. When it comes to the actual shoot day, look up your location first to get the vibe. As a PA intern, If it isn’t a completely closed set,  you may want to go for the business casual look. Just make sure you can still do everything you did on set prep day because you will definitely be doing that the day of the actual shoot. If it is a completely closed set, you can definitely just opt for all black. You normally can also judge the first day and adjust your look for the next day if you want to “fit in”.

    There is still so much more to learn, and I can’t believe we are almost done!

Savannah Edmondson

 

Continuing my Internship at the Jewish Museum

I love working at the Jewish Museum. Growing up outside of New York City, I had the frequent privilege of walking along Museum Mile throughout high school. It was always a dream to be able to work at an institution on Museum Mile, in the company of so much great work. This summer, at the Jewish Museum, I have the opportunity to be surrounded by these museums that I admired so much when I first began to study art. In my work at the Jewish Museum I am doing research for an upcoming exhibition about a female art dealer named Edith Halpert. In addition to the research I am doing at the Jewish Museum itself, I am also doing research in the extensive Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is an opportunity I have because I am at a Museum on Museum Mile and can easily visit the many museums in this area during the workday. As I am going into my senior year at Brandeis, I am beginning the process of writing a thesis in art history during my time at the Jewish Museum. As I develop my research skills in my work for the museum, I am also able to take advantage of the Museum’s archives to develop my own research I will use in the coming year. 

My World of Work internship allows me to see how my academic training in art history translates to the active art world. A museum is a business, after all, and there is so much that goes into getting the awesome art on display. In my internship, I am learning so much about the inner workings of a museum. As public programs intern, I interact with many people who are featured in the evening events hosted by the Museum. This past week, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City held a concert at the Museum. Part of my job included ordering the pizza for students before the concert. While this may not seem like the most glamorous aspect of art institutions, these young performers needed dinner! Although ordering pizza is not directly related to art, this part of museum work is imperative to creating good programming. As much as I love the research I get to do at the Museum, this part of my internship makes me proud because it relates to the Museum’s ability to function smoothly. In addition to a chore like this, I am assisting in the day-to-day tasks that go into programming for a museum, such as managing contracts and sitting in on meetings regarding the logistics of these events. I am gaining a lot of organizational and technical skills that are crucial to the smooth running of art institutions. I love the academic side of art history but I find it exciting to do the tasks that may seem less creative — this is the work experience I’ll need to bring my creative ideas into fruition in a gallery, museum, auction house or other sorts of art space one day. 

Hannah Kressel ’20

Give ’em the old ‘Razzle-Dazzle’

     In order to make it in the world of showbiz, one must “Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle”, as Billy Flynn says in the musical Chicago. No matter if you’re under the lights or behind the curtains, it is important to always provide your best work- even when you have little to work with. As the Production Management Intern at Speakeasy Stage Company, this summer I have indeed learned to both “razzle” and “dazzle”.

Cords galore!

Though I have had experience in onstage and backstage work prior to this summer, these past few months have opened my eyes to the world of theater administration -a fundamental sequin of razzling and dazzling audiences that many forget to acknowledge. I have learned how to complete weekly finance reports, write journal entries for box office revenue, and comprehend 990s. My advisor blew my mind when he introduced me to ‘Quickbooks’, a computer program that houses all the financial information of a company who chooses to use it. (You would not believe the millions of numbers, codes, and breakdowns of every dollar spent.) I even set up sound equipment and new desktops complete with essential software programs for the office, something I never expected to do while working in theater. 

     Theater administrators are often tasked with as many jobs as what multiple employees would be hired to do at a non-art company. While theater employees love and value the work they do, they are also well aware that they must make every dollar count because there is not an ounce of sparkle to spare. This being said, it is important to know your worth as an employee- something I learned at Speakeasy’s weekly ‘How to Get Hired’ seminars for interns. As an intern, one should always be on the lookout for new tasks to learn because doing such demonstrates your hard work ethic. However, as an employee, one should be aware of his/her/their compensation in relation to the jobs they are hired to do. If a company is asking for more than what they are paying, the job may not be a good fit. This is something I was aware of in the workplace, but never related to the theater scene. I always assumed to do as much work as possible because theater jobs are hard to come by. 

A Leko light

Lucky for production interns, not every day is spent in the office. I got to participate in striking a set from a past production. I learned how to take down stage lights, something that was on my list to learn for the summer. A ‘color blast’ is a rectangular light that literally blasts the stage with color. In contrast, a ‘leko’, also known as a ‘Source 4’, provides directed light. Learning the lingo is certainly beneficial when demonstrating your worth as an intern. I also had to breakdown the platforms of which the audience’s seats are placed because we had to set the theater in a new configuration for the next production. Working alongside me for the day was a man who also works as a sound designer. Throughout the day he described various tasks he does in sound and offered to show me equipment on the next show he would work on. The more outgoing and helpful you are, the more people you will meet who will be all the more willing to help you!

     I was also invited to sit in on the first creative meeting for our upcoming production, Choir Boy. (It was on Broadway this past season!) The director explained the role of the audience, the set designer brainstormed transitions between scenes and production management considered what type of choreographer to hire- all of which were essential to putting on that razzle dazzle. I was mesmerized listening to everyone on the creative team discussing the vision of the show. A couple days later, the marketing department asked for extra hands in setting up equipment for an interview with the director. I have knowledge on how to do that since my dad is a photographer, so I pitched in. Because I helped in a department other than my own, I was asked if I’d like to learn about filming/photo editing software! (Another activity to check off on my bucket list!)

                                                           Get tickets here!

     The harder you work to help a company shine, the more opportunities they will give you to do so. After all, if you can’t razzle and dazzle yourself, how can you expect others to do the same?

 

Amy Ollove ’21

 

Interning at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan

I started my internship at the Jewish Museum (https://thejewishmuseum.org) four weeks ago. I am working as the Public Programs intern at the Museum, assisting with all public programming and with longer term research tasks for the education department, as a whole. The Jewish Museum is a museum dedicated to the preservation, understanding, and enjoyment of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people. The museum is located on Manhattan’s Museum Mile, neighboring the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, among many others. This location has proved very useful to me as an intern as I am often asked to conduct research in one of the neighboring museums.

Additionally, in my job as a public programs intern, I am working on events often sponsored or in conjunction with other museums along the Museum Mile. For example, one of the first events I staffed as an intern was the annual Museum Mile evening in June when all the museums within these parameters are open extra hours and for free. This was a great introduction to the communal culture of the museums in this part of Manhattan. For this event, the Jewish Museum hosted a band to play outside of the Museum for the night and a craft for people walking by. My work as the public program’s intern included preparing for this craft and assisting the band throughout the night, as needed.

The Jewish Museum has quite a robust program of events throughout the summer and I love being able to help out with these different occasions. I have had the opportunity to engage with the public on behalf of the Museum at all of these events, whether it be a concert or an adult studio class, and in each instance I find myself learning and gaining skills. I love discussing the exhibitions with visitors — honing my skills and perspectives on museum education — and being a source of information about the museum as an institution to guests. I find that, in these experiences, I am learning skills I wouldn’t learn in academia. The ability to transfer information accurately to all different demographics of the Museum’s patrons is something I am working hard to gain and become comfortable with.

As I am expanding my knowledge of art history in the research I do during the day for the education department, in the evenings and on weekends at various events, I am given the opportunity to share this information and receive feedback. Throughout the rest of my internship, I hope to continue to hone these skills and learn more about what it means to be a representative of a cultural institution interacting with all different members of the Museum’s community — staff, museum patrons, and artists invited to the museum for various programs. Additionally, I hope to expand my knowledge of the Museum’s collection and become as well-versed as possible in contemporary methods of education and research within cultural institutions.

This is a photo of me working at the craft table during Museum Mile a few weeks back.

 

 

Hannah Kressel ’20

From Prague to Production

Annie Leibovitz wearing a Fujifilm x100 w/ a 35mm lens

After studying film for a semester in Prague, Czech Republic, I flew straight to another new city. This summer I have the opportunity to work at Annie Leibovitz Studio in New York City as a production coordination intern. Annie Leibovitz is an acclaimed photographer known for her captivating celebrity portraiture. She has been a commercial photographer for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. She has photographed famous and influential actors, artists, and activists including Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, and famously wrapped a shoot with musician John Lennon the same day he was fatally shot.

My work is centered around both observational and experiential learning. The photo world is unpredictable, so I have to be able to think quickly and be flexible. My duties include, but are not limited to, conducting research, prepping call sheets, sourcing locations and vendors, and administrative work. I work closely with Annie Leibovitz’s production team to get everything ready in time for the shoot. I also work with other interns throughout the week to run errands, brainstorm creative concepts, and wrap shoots.

So far it has been very eye-opening to see how much planning and organization goes into making a shoot happen. From the research of the talent to logging the costs of production, booking travel, getting all of the equipment to set, shooting, wrapping, logging everything (again), not a single day has been boring. I have had to quickly learn the specific order in which things are done in the office. Luckily, the job is not all work and no play. It has been wonderful getting to know Annie Leibovitz team. They work together as both a well-oiled machine and as a family. As a new addition to the team, it is amazing to witness it all.

I was able to attend my first shoot this week! It was a long day of prepping the set. I had to set up the hair & makeup area which included decorating it with furniture, creating a changing area, setting up lighting, and a few other bits and bobs. I was also in charge of making sure we had food and that the catering arrived on the day of the shoot. As a production intern, we also had to make sure the assistants to Annie Leibovitz had everything they needed. It was busy and everyone was running around trying to make sure everyone had everything they needed.  When the shoot wrapped, I help the photo interns take down the equipment and pack it back into the truck. Ever applied for a job and one of the requirements is to “be able to lift 50lbs or more”? Yeah, packing a photo truck requires that from you for several hours. I love that about the film and photo world: courtesy total body exercise without having to go to the gym.

Annie Leibovitz in action. This is not from the shoot I mentioned in this article.

My goal for the summer is to gain a clear understanding of the step-by-step process of set production. I also want to establish a solid foundation for professional relationships with people who share my interest in image media and production. This position will give me the opportunity to be introduced to incredibly influential individuals in the entertainment and visual media world who may be able to guide me to make the right next steps.

I am looking forward to what’s next!

Savannah Edmondson

Commenting On My Time at “Film Comment”

Hello! It’s me, Jonah Koslofsky, certifying that I have entered the World of Work! Thanks to the generosity of this grant, I am currently interning at Film at Lincoln Center. But just what does that mean? Well, Film at Lincoln Center – formerly known as The Film Society of Lincoln Center – is an essential section of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (the organization that’s also home to the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera). Film at Lincoln Center recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and, year-round, the institution runs film programming that plays at Lincoln Center’s movie theaters, and hosts the annual New York Film Festival every fall.

Film at Lincoln Center also publishes a bi-monthly film publication called “Film Comment.” That’s who I’m interning for!

“Film Comment” is a top-tier magazine that covers everything in the world of independent cinema. It’s also got a website regularly updated with content that won’t quite fit into the issues, and a weekly podcast.  Back when I first started (on May 20, a whole month ago!) the magazine was in the midst of coverage of the Cannes Film Fest. The French festival is perhaps the most prestigious place to premiere a new movie, a hotbed of filmmakers and journalists. So for the first few weeks, my job was simple: transcribe the fresh interviews between “Film Comment” contributors and the directors whose brand new work was just being unveiled.

My first day I typed up this interview with French actress-turned-auteur Mati Diop. Her new movie Atlantique would go on to win the Grand Prix (basically the silver metal of the festival). I also transcribed this interview with Bertrand Bonello, another French filmmaker. Funnily enough, his new movie Zombie Child, is also about France confronting its colonial past through the use of a supernatural conceit.

I actually really enjoy the transcription process: I get to listen to these interesting interviews, and hear about the inspirations and intentions behind films that I genuinely want to know more about. A lot of the material I’ve been transcribing has been about filmmakers whose work I am woefully unfamiliar with, which encourages me to get out of my comfort zone and watch international movies I should’ve already seen. Case-in-point: before she made Atlantique, Mati Diop starred in Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum, which I quickly (finally) watched, and promptly loved.

Then last week, I transcribed an interview with one of my favorite horror movie filmmakers. I can’t say too much more (because the interview won’t be published until the next issue of “Film Comment” hits newsstands), but I was especially tickled because I actually met this filmmaker in an ice cream parlor in a totally unrelated interaction, and I was already very, very excited for his next movie.

My other responsibilities include proofreading and helping FC archive their back issues. My goal for the summer is to get some of my own writing onto the site or into the magazine, but it’s a slow and steady process. So far, the internship is off to a solid start!

A Summer in Showbiz

 

        While many spend their summers outside in the sun, I have been crafting in dark alleys, balancing on scaffoldings, and sprinting through the streets of Boston. Why? ‘Cause that’s showbiz.

Eddie Shields, on right, is a Brandeis alum!

       As the Production Management intern for the Speakeasy Stage Company, there is never a moment of downtime. I have become an Olympic multitasker. Sometimes I’m in the office reading scripts, mailing checks or organizing Equity files. Other times, days are spent bouncing between the two theatres next door, each home to multiple stages that we rent, juggling props, moving set pieces, or delivering equipment. When I’m working on one assignment, my mind is already preparing for the sixth projects down the line. While this work is exhausting, I have never been more alive.

Inside the office, posters of past productions color the walls.

     My first week was spent primarily in the office space. The walls are covered with posters from past productions, adding color to our fifth floor room. (I walk those flights at least four times a day…) The staff, which consists of a core team of eight, each specializing in a different area, sat beside their own intern for a meeting among departments. We discussed agendas, upcoming events, possible issues, etc. Marketing explained how we would ‘brand ourselves’ in the lobby. Going off of that point, Development mentioned that we would need guides to lead audiences into the theatre. Stumped on who would take the organization of this on, I wearily raised my hand to suggest interns as the solution. People were impressed with this comment, especially it being my first day and that I was assisting a department other than my own. This moment, along with many others, exemplifies that ‘theatre is a team sport’ whether onstage or in an office.

Under that rug is black ‘spike’ tape to mark where it should go onstage. I colored the tape with white pencil to make it look like its from a sketchbook, fitting the ‘cartoon’ theme of the show.

     This first week, I made a cartoonist’s sketchbook. I, by no means, am a visual artist. Yet, I did not actually have to draw. The sketchbook was for the current playing production, Fun Home. The show is based on an established cartoonist’s graphic memoir. In the musical, the lead character is said cartoonist. She speaks and sings the story as she is illustrating it. However, no actress could ever pull off drawing the same cartoons as in the actual graphic memoir. Therefore, I printed images from the original memoir in extremely low ink. Then, I glued the images into a sketchbook in the order of when they are drawn in the show. I did a set of cartoons for every performance, allowing the actress to trace the images on stage every night. I made the most essential prop of the production.

Set of ‘Fun Home’

     The following two weeks were spent in the theatres for both summer productions, The View Upstairs and Fun Home. I assisted in building sets, dressing spaces with curtains, furniture and props, and cleaning the house (the audience seats). I learned so much about set construction that I feel I could be a contractor’s right hand woman. Building sets is the area I have the least experience in but in which I learned the most. I was directly involved in bringing the theatre to life for each unique story.

Set of ‘The View Upstairs’

     My goals for the summer are to develop a deeper understanding of the professional theatre world, foster relationships with theatre professionals and to grow and mature as a person. I have certainly made a dent in all three areas and am excited to continue.

 

 

 

Amy Ollove ’21