This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Danielle Moore, COL ’18
When I arrived at the West Los Angeles offices of Variety – whose iconic red sign is clearly visible from the perpetually traffic-jammed highway below – I was excited but unsure of what to expect. Ushered up to the 9th floor of the Penske Media Corporation, the parent company of Variety owned by Penn alum Jay Penske, I was giddy to find on the lobby coffee table the full portfolio of the company’s bespoke print publications – including not only the weekly print edition of Variety, but also fashion industry mainstays like Women’s Wear Daily and Beauty, Inc. So you can imagine my glee when, later that morning, my boss led me to a rack of Variety issues and told me to “feel free” to take copies whenever I pleased.
The magazines, though, were far from the only perk of the job – and also far from the coolest part of the offices. The fifth floor boasts a turquoise mural painted by famed L.A. street artist Banksy, featuring – quite appropriately – a slew of legendary movie quotes. Framed black-and-white photographs of stars featured in Variety dot the entirety of the 9-story office building. I certainly couldn’t complain about my seat on the top floor of the building, next to the editors of movie news site Deadline, and across from a portrait of Kate Winslet and a candid of Samuel L. Jackson and Quentin Tarantino. Celebrities in the office though, were not merely in photo form; Tom Hiddleston and Seth Rogen were among the stars who visited the office to promote projects while I was there!
My very first weekend on the job, I was given the opportunity to cover EditFest LA, the American Cinema Editor’s annual conference, held on the Walt Disney Studios Lot – whose backstage location alone provided this lifetime Disney devotee an unprecedented thrill. An even bigger thrill was being introduced to Kevin Tent, the editor of the acclaimed films of director Alexander Payne, including Nebraska and The Descendants. Additionally, since I interned during the height of Emmy campaign season, I also had the opportunity to cover an event for FX’s American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson, featuring Lead Actress nominee Sarah Paulson, former prosecutor Marcia Clark, and Executive Producer Ryan Murphy.
In addition to gaining experience in industry event coverage, I was also tasked with contributing to the marketing campaigns for one of Variety’s recently acquired and re-branded properties, Variety 411. I drafted eblasts for subscribers, wrote advertising copy, researched film festival partnerships, and commandeered several social media channels. I particularly appreciated the opportunity to complete these diverse tasks, as they allowed me to participate in nearly all essential facets of a digital and print entertainment media publisher in today’s market. I am incredibly grateful for this experience, as it not only afforded me the opportunity to contribute to a cornerstone company in entertainment, but also cemented my interest in working in media that focuses on the creative and systematic creation of art in the entertainment industry.