Last Thursday, Urban Arts Partnership took the MediaLab crew on an educational and rewarding trip to NBC Studios. It felt like we were heading off to a different country as we waited in line to get our IDs at the front desk, but Director of Community Affairs Ofelia Castiblanco graciously welcomed us and made us feel right at home. Over lunch, she showed us an introductory clip about NBC’s new channel New York Non Stop (or channel 161, if you have Time Warner).
After lunch, Ofelia and her team led us on a tour of the control rooms, where we watched a live weather forecast and met several friendly production members. According to the people behind the scenes, you live your life in seconds in the news business–trying to fill three minutes can feel like a lifetime!
On the set, some of us were camera shy while others loved it.
Next we had the opportunity to record a news report in front of a green screen. When my turn came up I immediately froze and couldn’t say a word. I hope I won’t ever have to do that again! I’d prefer to stay behind the scenes.
After that, we went on to meet news reporters, producers and camera people. Every one of them told us how being a part of the industry was a 24/7 job and how following through is incredibly important at NBC. We learned that some careers in media are steadier than others. For example, a news reporter might switch stations several times over the course of his or her career while a cameraperson might work at the same station through retirement. We also learned more about the different skills a person must master to do these jobs. John, a cameraman who has been working with NBC for 25 years, explained how important it is for someone in his position to stay updated on new technology, to move quickly and be steady on his or her feet.
Student filmmaker Robert Matos practices with a professional camera.
It was so refreshing to get advice from the people who do these jobs every day! The media business is exciting and ever-changing. Reporters come into work not knowing what stories they will cover that day, cameramen come in not knowing what scene they will shoot, and production crews have to work in the moment to put out a good show. It takes a lot of work but it must be rewarding when the program is finally broadcast.
Everyone from Urban Arts was impressed with the people at NBC, but it turns out that the people at NBC were equally impressed with us! In the words of intern Melissa Herran: “You guys were incredibly engaged and mature. It’s fantastic that people this young can be so dedicated to something they enjoy, despite the many distractions there are today.”
On behalf of my colleagues from MediaLab and everyone at Urban Arts, I would like to thank the people at NBC Studios for hosting this very informative Career Day!
Group shot! Thank you to our hosts at NBC Studios!
And for those of you interested in the television business, you should know that NBC receives about 75-100 intern applications per year, so getting a job there will be tough. My advice is to make yourself stand out from the crowd. They usually look for well-rounded college juniors or motivated seniors who are professional and specific about the position they want. And, of course, sending a thank you note won’t hurt either.