Can you tell us a little bit about your career: where are you now and how did you get there?
Currently I work as a freelance Story Producer on various reality TV shows (Big Brother, Bar Rescue), which means that I do creative outlining in the pre-production stage, I work with the cast and do interviews as well as tracking what's happening story-wise throughout the course of the shoot, and then I go back to post where I "string out" footage on AVID to create scenes and acts that are polished by editors to become the show. When I moved to LA, I had a decent amount of contacts with other alums and people I worked for during internships, and I worked as a PA on various commercials, game shows, etc. On one of those shows I met a woman who had worked on Big Brother and she sent them my resume for a creative story assistant position, so from there I was able to learn about the process of Story Producing and I have been lucky enough to work very steadily in this field for four years.
What do you find to be the most exciting aspect of being a Story Producer?
I enjoy the fact that I can get paid and have steady work while getting to be creative.. Working in story producing has taught me a lot about storytelling, in ways I couldn't have guessed. When you are putting a show together, you're working with hours and hours of footage, so you are forced to think about what is absolutely necessary to tell the story you want to tell. In my free time, I continue to work on writing my own projects, and my experience in reality has helped me understand structure much better, because there's not a huge difference between writing and story producing.
What was your strongest takeaway from the OU Film Program? Anything you learnt or any memory that is relevant to the work you do today?
When I was at OU, I never knew the job of a Story Producer existed (and of course, I wasn't very interested in working in reality tv) so while I enjoyed and learned a TON in my AVID editing classes with Tom Hayes, I didn't expect to have the opportunity to apply those skills in my career, but they have become the most practical skills I use today. And knowing AVID definitely gave me a leg up when it came to getting jobs because most shows are cut on AVID, not FCP, which a lot of other schools teach.
Are you in touch with any other Bobcats?
I have kept in touch with most OU alum who have also moved to LA, and a few who haven't. There is actually quite a large OU network living and working in LA from various schools, and I have met multiple people on different shows I've worked on who are OU alums from earlier graduating classes, so we've definitely infiltrated.
Any advice or notes you’d like to pass on to our current students?
There are so many routes to take to get to any destination, so just have a clear goal in mind. If you're at all interested in a career in LA, I have to stress the importance of summer internships, because not only can you learn a lot from them, but they give you time to experience the city and decide if it's for you before you make the move. And lastly, eat as much O'Betty's as you possibly can before you can't anymore.
How do you think OU Film can continue to engage with alums? How would you like to remain involved with OU Film?
There have been a few OU Film meet ups in LA in the last year or so with Professors, and though I haven't been able to make them, I think making sure those continue in the future is a great way to keep the OU Film LA contingent alive. I will be involved with OU Film in any way I can, just keep me in the loop :)