California Summer

The California-summer depression has started. Cue binge eating and emotional drinking. Last night, I met with a Macalester alum who is a producer in town. While her view of the industry is just that, only her view, it scared me a little bit. Not enough to make me run back home and never look back, but enough to make me think twice. I need to know that this is what I really want. Unfortunately, I don’t know what I want.

The gist of what she said is that she knows that she’ll never even be able to afford to have children or buy a house because producers are paid so poorly unless they are the top 50 in the world. “If you can see yourself doing anything else in the entire world, do that instead.” She equated the profession to being an addict – you only do it because you can’t live without it. Isn’t that depressing?

It’s depressing in itself, but pile that on a woman who is living in LA for the first time with her fiancé on the east coast and a job that is boring and pays so little she can barely afford to pay her rent let alone do the things she wants to do. Hint: that woman is me!

Now all I want to do it sit in my room and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and drink my Target wine cube wine. Which is what I think I will do.

 

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I’m going to be a producer!

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I went to a conference my first weekend here in LA. It was a Film in California conference and while some of it focused on tax credits specifically for filming in California, there was a lot of useful information.

The best part of the day was a panel I attended that had producers from True Blood, Ugly Betty and Mad Men, and a Vice President of Physical Production from Paramount. After hearing more about their day-to-day roles and the impact they have on the content, I decided that it is the job for me. But production isn’t the easiest part to get into, especially for math nerds without any film background. So, for the past 2 weeks I’ve been reaching out to tons of people and meeting with various production assistants and anyone else that will meet with me. The more I hear about it, the more I’m sure it’s what I want to do.

I’m even trying to line up something part-time during the school year. If I could find a local news station that needed part-time production assistance, I could feasibly do that in the morning before any of my classes. I technically could also wait until I’m done with school, but I’m impatient as fuck and want to be able to get a better job once I’m actually done. I also want to be sure it’s what I really want.

Right now, my gut is telling me I don’t want to be doing heavy strategy work. That’s pretty much the focus of my internship and I don’t know if it is the content or the work-load, but I’m not completely stimulated. Which will make for a long summer.

How He Fell in Love

Holy cow I can’t believe I almost didn’t even go out tonight.

Earlier today, I had run out of things to do at work so I started reaching out to some people who I hadn’t spoken to in a while. A Macalester alum that I connected with about entertainment back in November, was on my list. Coincidentally, he was actually on a plane to LA from NYC (where he lives) for the LA Film Fest. AND, he had an extra ticket for tonight’s screening of the movie How He Fell in Love. I didn’t know anything about it and it sounded kind of mushy, but I went for it anyway.

The first face that appeared on the screen? CO Bennett! [Ironically I had just watched episode 1 before the movie too!]

I was instantly excited to watch it. It turned out to be amazing too. It was slow but exciting the whole time and it made me want to have sex with Matt McGorry (you’ll understand what I mean when you watch the movie). I even teared up a few times but probably just because I was tired. Obviously I don’t feel emotions from romantic movies. Duh. I think the two main actors were absolutely perfect for it too, I don’t think it would have been what it was without them.

Then, after the movie…. THEY CAME ON STAGE! Both Matt McGorry and Amy Hargreaves were there, along with other cast members and the writer/director and the cinematographer and the music guy. I left the theater and then did that thing where I walked back and forth changing my mind constantly about whether or not to ask him for an autograph when he came outside. While I did have my ticket stub and a sharpie in my purse, I hadn’t taken a shower in over 24 hours so I was embarrassed of my looks. Then he was talking to all these super models in high heels and I lost all confidence.

So, I went up to Amy because she seemed super friendly and less intimidating. I didn’t want to sleep with her as badly either. I was able to say hi and she signed my ticket and then even asked if I wanted a photo! She said I should get Matt to sign too and I was all like “but he is talking to tall women in heels” and she laughed and dragged me over and introduced me. Then I told him I wanted to sleep with him. Obviously.

By the time we got around to taking the picture I was so nervous I couldn’t even take the damn thing. Ugh, I need to stop going limp-fan-girl all the time! Why can’t I just be cool? Like, it’s no big deal, you know?

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Things turned around!

It’s really too bad that I am so often rewarded for my ranting; it only encourages me. The day after my post about my internship frustrations, I received two internship offers for the summer. More specifically, I received an offer from a TV Network in NYC and they wanted a response within 1 business day so I applied pressure on the other company I had been speaking with to also make a decision. The pressure worked and they came to me with an offer the same day.

I went into the weekend with so much worry about the decision ahead of me. Both options were fantastic. In NYC I would be working on distribution analytics, something I’m incredibly interested in and passionate about. In LA, my job would be to manage a brand/franchise for the summer, something I have less experience in, but knew would be a great learning opportunity.

In truth, I knew my decision right away. My gut told me the LA position was the one I should take. Yet, I spent hours try to convince myself my gut was wrong, and then why it was right. I also had a lot of concern about turning a company down. I was so extremely interested in both roles though, and unfortunately I cannot be on both coasts at once. After two nights of very little sleep, I made the phone calls early Monday morning. There was that awkward time where I had declined with the East Coast but couldn’t yet reach the West Coast and was sorta concerned it would all turn to flames so I just went to workout.

But it is official! I passed the background check, reserved an airbnb room near the campus and bought my plane ticket. Wowza.

Oh the MBA Internship

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I’ve been thinking for the last three weeks about how to actually articulate my experience looking for an internship. Coming back from China I was freaking out a bit as most of my peers had already secured their summer jobs. I, however, had (and have) not. Even though I made it to a third round interview with one company, they stopped answering my emails and I was never formally rejected. I understood coming into recruiting season that this would be the case, though. Entertainment is famous for their just-in-time hiring, unlike consulting where companies know the exact number they need a year ahead of time. I knew what I was getting myself into and still I let the pressure get to me.

I thought that by going to a top business school this would be an easier process. For example, I applied to a Social Media MBA position with an tech/entertainment company. I was rejected within 2 hours of submitting my application. In my cover letter, I explicitly stated both my involvement with managing social media accounts for various organizations (Girls in Tech, Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Sloan Women in Management, etc.) and the Social Media Management class I’m taking. This, plus everything else on my resume, wasn’t enough to even get an interview.

The black box-ness is especially frustrating. I’ve submitted 40+ online internship applications, some with minor connections. I had one first round interview that I felt went pretty well, but I was rejected soon after. I requested feedback to, you know, improve my chances on the next position but, no dice.

Further complicating things is needing to decide between LA and NYC. I clearly fell in love with LA when I was there in January and have had that as my plan ever since. After spending time in China and having Joe go back to Minnesota for a week (stupid baseball), I remembered that I really like spending time with him and I’m just happier when I am around him. So, why move myself across the country from him for 3 months? Well, probably because this is maybe the last time I’ll get an opportunity to just uproot everything and try out my hand at an entertainment gig in LA without any worries. And really, even if I do get a little depressed being all alone in California, hopefully the sun will lighten the mood.

Right now I’m in the final stages with two different roles, one in NYC and one in LA. I haven’t received an offer from either yet so I don’t want to jinx it, but it would be a difficult decision to make if I were offered both. It is just such a roller-coaster of emotions – I get my hopes up and then they die and then I have to get excited about the next thing. I know it will all work out in the end but it is hard not knowing! I like to know things!

Keeps getting better

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Day 2 in Los Angeles was even better than the first. I went to four different entertainment companies, from studios to video games to theme parks. The first stop was amazing – they showed us secret places and I saw people but that’s all I can say. I’m so much more excited about the entertainment industry now and I didn’t even think that was possible. I’m also finding ways that my skillz can best be put to use. I can tap into my previous experience in content distribution to work on the digital distribution side of a company. I’m also really interested in the data analytics side of things, and because those are turning into my favorite classes at MIT too, I might actually be prepared to do them.

Day 3 was a bit more relaxed which meant that we had time for me to try In N Out burgers for the first time (I wasn’t impressed with anything but the price). I also got to go to a donut place, DK’s donuts, and I got a wo-nut, which was my first ever waffle-donut and it was amazing. It was red velvet with white cream and then oreo crumbs. I also got a couple other because let’s be honest donuts are my life.

The first company we went to was really neat and I got to meet the man who created the candy for Katy Perry (yes, my mind was blown). In the evening we went to Universal Studios and I nearly crapped myself from excitement on both the back lot tour and the Simpsons Ride. It was just all so awesome and I’m like “could this seriously be my job?”

LA also continues to bless me with amazing weather so all in all I’m pretty pumped.

Application time!

I’m in Berkeley. I’m here visiting the business school. Mainly because Chris Kluwe lives nearby and I miss having him close, but also because it’s a pretty good program. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never experienced it. I’m not a good reference.

I submitted my MIT application on Monday. It was the earliest deadline and a good starter. The application was average in terms of essays/prompts, amount of information, etc. I haven’t visited yet, but really like a lot about what the program has to offer. I also think the location would be great. One down… 7 to go?

Next Wednesday is the infamous Stanford deadline. I went and tried to psych myself out today by looking at application stats and stuff. Only 7k people apply for the less than 400 spots, so, it’s not like it’s impossible… My essays are in “okay” shape. Questions like “what is your favorite place” and “what is your favorite thing to read” give me not only the opportunity to let my personality shine but also make an ass out of myself in less than 300 characters. If I had to guess, I’d say 23% of applicants get an interview. If I’m not in that bunch, I’ll be a sad cat who failed. If I’m in that bunch but then don’t get in, that’s okay. At least I tried.

I’ve also been maybe over-doing it lately. Work has been pretty busy, Girls in Tech stuff is in full force, and I’ve been getting up every morning at 5am to work on my essays. Yesterday I just wanted to come home and sleep but I had already volunteered to help out Tix for Tots at the Lynx Game, they kicked ass, by the way. And now today I whisked off to Berkeley, delayed flight and all.

I’m just going to be so relieved when it is all done and I can impatiently wait for months on end.