Major: Communication Arts & Marketing
Certificate: Digital Studies
- Interview #1 - Summer 2018
- Interview #2 - Fall 2018
- Interview #3 - Winter 2019
- Interview #4 - Spring 2019
How have things been going since graduation?
It’s been going really well. I’ve been out in LA for about two weeks now and I love it so far.
Wow, LA! How did you end up there?
I actually had an interesting process getting out here. I flew out during finals week and interviewed for three positions with Fox and ended up getting none of those. So I didn’t have a job when I graduated. It was stressful and frustrating because I honestly thought my interviews went well and I made it to the second round of all of them. A lot of the time they just found someone else with the technical experience they wanted, but said they would recommend me on to another department. So it was kind of frustrating because I felt like I couldn’t find my place.
But two summers ago I interned at Fox and in June, the department I had interned with called me with a job offer and asked if I could start the next week. I didn’t have a formal in-person interview. I loved that department, they just didn’t have any availability when I was applying. So, I found an apartment, bought a car and started driving to California two days later.
That’s short notice. Did you have any trouble finding a place to live and making the transition out there?
I’m really lucky because there are two girls who are both Com Arts grads living in LA who helped me find a place. They helped me narrow down my search to five or ten suburbs and told me where to look there. I ended up getting a studio in Santa Monica, which is a little outside my budget, but I’m lucky that my parents are able to help me along for the first couple of months as I get used to it. It’s a lot of expenses right away, so if you have student loans and things like that and don’t think you can afford it, I’d recommend waiting a little bit to move out here.
Since I’ve been out here, a lot of alumni have reached out to me. They give me their business card and they always write Badger on it, which is pretty cool. There are a couple that have emailed me and have said, “Welcome! Do you want to grab lunch? Do you have any questions?” The Wisconsin alumni system is so worth getting involved in.
So what are you doing at Fox?
I’m a marketing assistant in the shared services department. That means I work with Fox, the FX suite, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, and Nat Geo. For about one-third of my day, I provide administrative assistance to the vice president. I update her calendar, take care of invoices and expenses, things like that. But what I really like about Fox is that they introduce you to the industry. The rest of my time is spent in weekly meetings with the directors of different departments, helping them with projects ranging from programming to strategy to development. Right now, I’m working on the MLB programming schedule and how we can work with cable companies to make sure we’re meeting the advertisers needs. It’s really cool that I get to work on a big project like that within the first couple weeks.
What made you decide that LA was the city you wanted to be in after graduation?
I interned at Fox in the summer of 2016 and then I interned for major league baseball in NY in the summer of 2017. My goal in college was to try both LA and NY entertainment and sports because I was interested in both. I wanted to see how each side of the country dealt with things and if I liked the pace. I honestly loved both and didn’t have a preference. I applied to basically as many jobs as I could in LA at the big five studios and with the MLB and late night shows in NY. I also applied to some music positions in Nashville because that’s where my parents are, but I knew that ultimately I wanted to be in more corporate America.
What’s been the hardest part about moving to LA?
It’s definitely been an adjustment and I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. When I interned, those were for three months and I knew I was going back to UW. With this, I don’t have that. Also, all of my friends are Minnesota, Milwaukee, Madison or Chicago, so they see each other all the time. It’s been a big adjustment getting used to not seeing my friends and knowing that they can be together, but I won’t be there. So there’s been ups and downs, but I think it’s worth it.
How has the Digital Studies Certificate been helpful to you so far?
I really liked being able to take the advanced production courses. Even though I don’t do editing in my day to day and I’m not involved in that department at all, I understand the lingo when it’s mentioned in meetings understand what is being talked about.
I also took Com Arts 200 and I really liked that one because as a marketing major, it helped me understand social media and culture. For example, we talked about memes and I know it might sound frivolous when you’re taking a class, but memes are what huge companies are using to connect with their consumers.
I also had to learn five new programs when I got to LA and I think the Digital Studies certificate gave me a good background in being introduced to new systems and being okay with change. I would recommend that current students try to take as many classes with as many programs as possible because you’ll be able to adapt quicker.
How’s the job going?
When we last spoke, I was a little overwhelmed because I had just started and I wanted to do such a great job. I think coming from WI, especially Com Arts and Digital Studies, we’re trained to not want to make mistakes and be the best that we can be. So it was definitely overwhelming, but it reminded me of freshman year when you learn what your professors expect of you throughout the semester. It’s the same way with bosses and understanding the nuances between people. Now that I’m on month three, I’ve started to figure that out, so it’s taken some of the initial pressure off and I’m enjoying the daily work a lot more now.
Now that I have the basics down, I’m feeling more confident and am willing to contribute more ideas and opinions. I’m really lucky because I work in an environment where everyone’s thoughts are valued, no matter their title.
What sorts of things are you working on now?
One great thing about working in entertainment is that no day is ever the same. There’s always an award season or premiere season or sports season. Right now college football and NFL have started, so a lot more tasks have been centered around that. And now that I’ve got the basic functions of the company down, I feel as if I’m able to help in a wider range of areas. I’ve definitely been able to expand my scope of work beyond my day to day activities, work with new members of my team, and explore different projects throughout the department.
I’m also extremely grateful for my boss, who encouraged me to apply to the Women of Fox Sports organization. I was elected to the board as the digital co-lead, where my colleague and I manage social media for our events, outreach programs, and professional development luncheons. Being the youngest member of the board, I am constantly amazed at the scope of women in sports. Everyone I’ve encountered throughout this program has offered amazing career advice, lended a hand in tough times throughout the transition, and truly welcomed me to the company. If you would have told me I would be selected for this board when I was 15 years old, I wouldn’t have believed you. It is a dream come true to be able to help other women in sports, as I am so grateful for those who stepped up for me throughout my career.
Do you have a typical work schedule?
I’m one of the lucky ones because I typically work Monday through Friday from 9-6. I always have my phone on me and will answer emails after hours, but it’s very manageable. Occasionally I’ll work a late night if there’s a big project, but because the work is so interesting, I’m always happy to stay involved.
I do attend events in the evenings that are work-related, but they’re voluntary and usually really fun. For example, I’ve attended two premieres already. I went to the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiere, which was awesome! It’s one of my favorite shows and my brother and I grew up watching it, so it was surreal to meet the cast. I also went to the premiere of Science Fair, the documentary about the international science fair. All the kids that were in the documentary were there and it was really cool to see.
What’s been the hardest part for you so far?
I think for me, it’s just being comfortable in my own skin and realizing that mistakes are going to happen. Initially, I was really hard on myself. But I had to trust the process and work really hard to show that I was willing to correct my own mistakes. I have also learned to ask a lot of questions. I’m lucky to work in an environment where questions are encouraged and they want you to get better and meet people. I’m trying to be more open minded with myself when things go wrong.
Any advice for students looking to get into the entertainment industry?
So much is happening in the entertainment industry right now. Netflix is becoming huge, Amazon is becoming huge. It’s never too early to start making connections because who knows – that person you reach out to now might need an assistant in nine months. Start reaching out on LinkedIn and ask to do informational interviews. Take an hour or two to research people on LinkedIn and send messages. Some people will respond right away, some won’t respond at all and some will respond three months later. But it’s totally worth the time in the end.
Also, start applying for jobs now. If you need a break from homework and have an extra 20 minutes at the library, why not apply to some positions? Maybe you’ll get an interview and even if you aren’t available to start right away, they might have something else open up when you’re ready to start.
And remember, everyone has their own path. Get a range of advice because what’s good for one person may not be good advice for you.
How are things going?
It’s been pretty crazy around here. The Fox/Disney merger is in the process of happening, so our day to day has shifted towards moving forward to whatever is coming next. But at the same time, because we work in television, the work doesn’t stop just because there’s a merger, so we still have to maintain our normal schedules and duties. I’m very interested to see what these next six months bring – these last few have been very stressful because no one really knows what’s going to happen, but I’m very fortunate to work with a team that supports each other constantly.
I’ve also just been working a lot. One thing I’ve noticed with my job is that keeping up with trends is a really big part of the job. So even when I’m not working, I feel like I always need to be watching something or making sure that stuff is running smoothly on air. It’s important when I go into work the next day that I know the score of the game or the big events that were happening. It’s more than just water cooler talk in our office – these events are the basis of our business.
That sounds like a lot of pressure, being ‘on’ all the time.
Yeah, it’s really hard to turn off. I was watching the Oscars with coworkers and couldn’t help but notice the feed errors or the minor details of the show that seemed off. On the flip side, seeing Fox do so well at the Oscars with titles like Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favorite was a very surreal moment. Just to say you work for that studio and knowing that’s the last Oscar’s they’ll be a part of- it made me feel like I was part of history with them.
That is pretty cool. Have you figured out a way to tune out for a while or take a break?
I work a ton and I don’t know that many people out in LA yet. I do have a couple groups of really good friends, but I did have to find an outlet where I could tune out for a while. For me, that’s been yoga. For one hour a day, I can shut my phone off and just be me. I think it’s really important to find that escape, no matter where you’re living or what you’re doing.
Definitely! What kinds of projects are you working on right now?
Right now, we’re preparing for the Women’s World Cup and the Major League Baseball season. The Women’s World Cup only happens every four years, so that’s a much larger undertaking and has been in the planning process for months. So we’re working on creating the marketing assets for our clients to use for those events.
I’m also going on my first work trip soon. It’s three nights and I’ll be staying with my team at a resort where we’ll do team building exercises and hear from top-level executives about what their long-terms plans are for the company. I think it’ll be a great way to take a break and reboot as a group.
Outside of my office, I’m also working on some events happening in April through my leadership position on the board. Our theme is spring cleaning – also known as getting your professional life in order – so we’re going to have a headshot truck and a resume workshop where people can get help updating their resumes and bios.
Sounds like there’s a lot going on! What are you most excited for coming up?
I’m looking forward to learning about what this merger will look like for me. My goal this year is to hopefully get more responsibilities and get to work on more projects. I’ve really gotten settled into my role, but I also want to make sure I’m not getting too comfortable. As an assistant, if I’m not looking ahead at what’s coming next, I’m just going to stay at the assistant level. I want to move up and make sure I’m always challenging myself.
Any advice for current students?
Two things: 1. With this merger, things have been incredibly stressful and I’ve definitely doubted my decision to move out here more than once. I’ve really had to work on accepting that it’s okay to not be okay or feel a little unstable. I’ve learned that talking things out with trusted colleagues and friends is really important and they can help you figure things out. When you’re at the bottom of the totem pole at work, it can be hard to ask for help or advice, but being open and honest is respected and appreciated, so just have those conversations.
And 2. Just want to reiterate what I’ve said before, the UW alumni network is really special, so use it. Spend your breaks looking up alums on LinkedIn – connect with them and ask them to do informational interviews. Spend two hours of your spring break doing interviews. You just never know when that phone call might help you out later on in your job search!
Since we last talked, the Disney/Fox merger happened. What has that been like for you?
It has been a crazy couple of months, but the dust is finally starting to settle. I am constantly impressed by my colleagues and their ability to support each other, and it’s been surreal to see how something as uncertain as a merger can lead so many people to their dream opportunity. Many of my close friends have landed at various entertainment companies, stayed at FOX, or gone to a regional sports network specifically, and its wonderful to learn from them and see new sides of the industry as well!
As for me…
I am eternally grateful for my wonderful team and their support as I recently accepted a promotion in New York in the FOX Sports Media Relations department! It’s been a crazy transition moving from LA to New York in my first year, but I am so grateful for the opportunity and truly believe this is a great next step in my career.
You were interested in focusing in sports to begin with, right?
Yeah, I was. I liked trying out the entertainment side of things and going to premieres and just seeing what those networks do. But I also believe that everything happens for a reason and I think this merger is giving me the opportunity to really focus on the sports side of things now, which is so exciting!
Are things changing with the Women of Fox Sports board too with the merger?
Yes – all of the regional sports networks, like Fox Sports Wisconsin, are no longer with us anymore. Our membership is definitely going to get smaller, but hopefully those regional networks will band together and work together. I’ve met so many amazing women through this board and I’m really glad I’ve gotten to know so many of them because now I have connections in sports all over the country. I’ll also be continuing on the board here with everyone else who is staying so even though things are changing, we’re looking forward to building a new community and supporting each other in a new capacity!
That’s amazing! You’ve been through a lot in the last year. What are some of your biggest takeaways from life in the real world?
I wish I would have been easier on myself during the search for my first job. I put a HUGE amount of stress on myself when it came to finding the “perfect” fit- complete with the most amazing coworkers, the best location, and meaningful work. In the last year I’ve met some of the most amazing people, discovered what I can handle, and learned to embrace everything that life throws my way. At the end of the day, we’re going to get through it!
And what about Digital Studies, is there anything from the certificate program that has stuck with you?
One of the classes that has helped me the most was LIS 351. I probably work on six or seven database-type systems a day and just having a basic knowledge of how databases work and how to search in them has been really helpful. Even though every company is going to have their own system, having a foundation to start from gives you an advantage. And really, in the world we live in now, you’re going to be working on a database in your job in some capacity.
I also took some courses that were different from what I wanted to do – like the advanced editing production course. Taking something that is unique or gives you a different perspective from others in the field makes for great interview talking points. You also don’t have many opportunities to take fun, interesting courses in your lifetime and I think Digital Studies offers so many of those courses, which made it really appealing for me.