I’ve been working at ESPN as a production intern for almost two weeks now.
So far, I’ve prompted a few shows, edited a few highlights and received some serious advice from people who know more about the Worldwide Leader in Sports than I could hope to imagine.
Like I said in my last journalism post…I would reveal my goals for this summer. So, here they are:
1. Live Dangerously. From all of the advice I’ve had here in Connecticut…one thing has been consistent: be bold. NEVER play it safe…not here, not ever. So, what do I mean by vaguely stating “Live Dangerously?” I mean that it is my goal to turn out a highlight with an element, surprise, hook that no one has seen before: a concept that is new. It is something that is so incredibly challenging these days.
Think about it. I’ve heard many a reporter/anchor/editor say that everything has been done before in one way, shape or form. That’s great and all…but why would I ever limit my work to something that has been done before? So, the first step is to do something that has yet to be done. I plan on setting the bar high.
2. Learn, Learn, Learn. I ran into Judson Burch, one of the higher ups in the production department (apparently he is really, REALLY, high up…or that’s how everyone acts). He gave me the most practical and solid advice here at ESPN. I have days built into my schedule to shadow other jobs and learn as much as I can.
So, who should I shadow? Famous anchors? 40-year-old monster producers who can change a rundown in the blink of an eye? Maybe I should get behind the head chef in the Cafeteria since I like to cook so much.
Nope. Jud put it this way: “Look around you. You are surrounded by 23-year-olds WHO WORK AT ESPN. You’re more likely to be in their shoes a lot sooner than those 40-year-olds.”
So, here’s the deal I made with Jud. He gave me a name, of a young man working there who could teach me a lot…who could give me information that will be pertinent to my generation and tell me what I really want to know: How do I get back to work here once I graduate? Once I talk to that young man…I will go back to Jud and get the name of another. Then Repeat.
So, my first goal is to learn EXPLICITLY what I must do to accomplish a career at ESPN…or something better. It’s good to have an open mind.
3. Names. And Be Named. So there are a lot of people who work here at ESPN. And all of them have names. That’s a lot of names.
It sounds ridiculous and maybe a bit stupid. But I have to start somewhere with this networking thing. First things first: know who I’m working with. Know bosses, jobs, talent, PA’s, janitors…everybody. The more I know about who I am working with, the more I can learn from them and the more help I can get when I need it. So…take a small step and learn everyone’s names and faces.
The second part to this goal: make sure everyone knows who I am. I might be “the intern” or the “Mizzou kid” right now. But hey, take an interest in others and they will take an interest in you.
4. Blend In. Kind of. Learn the ins and outs of Q-Cut (our editing software). Learn so much about a rundown that I can help out other PA’s with questions. The beauty is in the details at ESPN. If I learn the little things here, then I can blend in. Once nobody knows you’re an intern, then I can start to stand out. It looks like I have a lot of learning to do.
The first step: get past the point where I have questions. Write everything down. Learn from mistakes and never make them again. You know…all the things you have to do to be president.
5. Have fun. I’m at ESPN. I have to have fun while I’m here. Sometimes I get caught up in being so serious and trying to be the best…work, work, work, work, work, work, work.
I will work hard. But I will play hard. I will scream at highlights. I will be the most hyper dude in the room. I will be myself.
Being myself is fun.
There are my goals. Some are vague. Some are explicit. But one thing is always, one-hundred percent true in the realm of goals: they are ever-changing. In one week, I will look at this list and my goals will be different. But like I said earlier…I have to start somewhere.
Keep it real!