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MSLCE Student Laura Rensing Maximizes Summer Opportunities to Gain New Experiences and Skills in Arts Advocacy

by Priyanshi Katare

When Laura Rensing started the MSLCE program, she wasn’t that interested in pursuing the internship option over the summer. “I’ve had work experience before this so for me it was really about finding something that would really add to my learning experience and make me feel like I was learning something new, fun and challenging,” she explains. However the pandemic changed that for her.

This summer Laura worked for Arts Alliance Chicago while simultaneously working on her applied project for the MSLCE program. Contrary to the norm, while some organizations paused their summer internship programs, her internship opened up as a result for increased support artists needed during these times. The Arts Alliance is an advocacy group engaged in fighting to make resources available to the arts community and pushes for policies that would be advantageous for its members. Their work spans civic engagement, arts education and cultural equity and they actively work to connect people across different creative communities. (more…)

MSLCE Student Gains On Set Experience With Internship

by Priyanshi Katare

MSLCE student Marcus Farne took on two internships this past summer. You can read more about his first internship, with talent booking company Shinabery Agency here. For his second internship, Marcus worked with CreatorUp, a one-of-a-kind digital platform and digital training company that helps companies engage with their audience through brand enhancing video and training content. .“My advisor informed me that CreatorUp was looking for interns specifically from Northwestern…he thought I was a good match because I had fourteen years of work experience in film production,” he elaborated, ”I shared with [MSLCE alum and CreatorUp internship supervisor] Danny Bittker my work experience and he hired me on the spot.”

Marcus worked as a Film Production Intern and contributed to a number of different projects throughout the course of his internship. He even worked as the assistant director for one of their video productions when getting staff from Los Angeles to Chicago proved difficult with the pandemic, and managed their film database and also worked on creating lookbooks — something he had never done before. (more…)

MSLCE Student Maura Ford Pivots to Success

By Priyanshi Katare

When Maura Ford started looking for a summer internship, her ideal job would have been in the live music industry. But as the pandemic progressed, those jobs became increasingly difficult to find as the industry took a big hit. “It was right when I was applying to internships that I decided to pivot because I think it was a good choice and didn’t think I wasn’t gonna to be able to find anything,” she explained, “I have a writing background, so I was looking for anything I could utilize with my content writing background and then Jonah and Mandy [the MSLCE Career Services Team] recommended 2112 to me.” 2112 Chicago is the first incubator of its kind in the city. The incubator is focused on developing businesses and entrepreneurs in the music, film and the creative tech industry. (more…)

MSLCE Student Learns Creative Development Side of Film

By Priyanshi Katare

When Nia d’Emilio started looking for internships this summer she was sure about one thing — she had to be involved in the film and tv production process. A short while into her job search she narrowed her focus to finding jobs within the creative development function of the production process.

After applying to a variety of creative development jobs, she landed an internship at Full Spectrum. Full Spectrum is a Chicago based non-profit with a goal of increasing diversity in the film industry by producing work made by women, LGBTQ and minority producers. “They focus on teamwork so it’s a lot less about focusing on individual tasks and more about being a real part of different projects,” she added while explaining the work culture.

During her time at Full Spectrum she worked extensively with scripts, dealing with them from their selection to their execution. While she was given the opportunity to work on any project she liked, the production house also gave her the resources to work on her own project this summer. “My boss asked me what I wanted to get out of this summer, and I told him that if he would let me, I would love to get his help on this idea I’ve had for years about the music industry, I wanted to do a miniseries on a non-male band and how they are navigating the music industry,” she explained further.

A typical day at her internship consisted of a lot of meetings and reading scripts. “It was a lot of me sitting on my computer reading unless we had a meeting about a specific project that we were working on,” she elaborated, “while I do the bulk of coverage for creative development, I have also been in meetings not really related to creative development and my boss has encouraged me to be as involved as I can possibly be.”

According to Nia, Full Spectrum is unique in a few different ways, but what sticks out to her the most is that their main goal is to “drive equity into the film industry” and that the organization is concerned with racial equity as well. “Every project that they do has that footprint and they work with groups that are typically considered marginalized in the film community and they do it successfully, which is admirable,” she elaborated.  

While TV and film production will likely continue to adapt to the new environment, Nia is excited to lend her talents newly-acquired skills in creative development wherever they may lead her in the industry.

Taking Storytelling from the Stage to the Screen

With his initial sights set on becoming an actor, Daniel Dvorkin ’16 spent four years in a highly creative, intense undergraduate acting conservatory. Although he loved the experience, he didn’t receive any business education while he was there.

“After graduation, I realized I didn’t want to be an actor,” says Dvorkin. “I wanted to pursue the bigger-picture perspective of entertainment.”

To stay true to this goal, he spent nearly five years running a nonprofit theatre company he founded as an undergraduate, which gave him the chance to develop and produce—honing a unique mix of creative and business skills. To make ends meet, he also worked at a few regional theaters and restaurants. (more…)

MSLCE Student Helps Entrepreneurs During Internship

by Priyanshi Katare

Marcus Farne loves working with entrepreneurs.

He’s also had to be entrepreneurial himself. After starting the MSLCE program in the winter quarter, Marcus has been learning to cope with the demands of a rigorous academic curriculum all while searching for opportunities to help expand his experience. In true entrepreneurial style, he leveraged his network and resources to land an internship that could help him further his pursuit within the creative industry. This summer he has secured two internships, one of which is at Shinabery Agency. (more…)

MSLCE Student Seeks Innovation in Storytelling + Solutions for Arts Organizations

By Priyanshi Katare

Laura Rensing has an eclectic professional background. She’s held a wide range of jobs; from writing to publishing to theaterand while she can’t pinpoint exactly what turned her toward the creative industries, the through line for all her work has been her love for storytelling. 

“I like being able to tell stories through whatever medium I have,” she explained, “as I grew in my career, I learned to tell stories through data and use that to present the course of action I considered best.” 

After college, Rensing worked for a publishing organization and it was there that she realized the work she was doing wasn’t as fulfilling as she thought it would be. 

I thought why not pursue something I actually interested in and made the transition to a more cohesive arts focused job…while doing non-profit work it’s about the mission and how many people have been reached. To me, that is more satisfying than having the end goal be to simply bring in money.” she explained.   (more…)

An End to the ‘Feedback Sandwich’: Clarifying Approaches & Responses to Feedback with The Leadership Laboratory

by Sam Sartori, MSLCE Candidate ’20

If you’re anything like me, hearing the words, “can I give you some feedback?” can make you cringe. I’ll be the first to admit that receiving “constructive criticism” has never been one of my strengths. However, it is something I continually strive to be better at as I work through leadership development. So when I found out we had the opportunity to do a dive deep into understanding how to both give and receive feedback, I immediately said: “sign me up!”  

Back in the fall, our cohort attended a session with Jacob Goldstein, founder of The Leadership Laboratory, to learn how we can use the golden rule of improv (saying: “yes, and…”) into our day to day lives. This was one of my favorite career growth sessions from MSLCE, so I was excited to have another opportunity to learn from Jacob about positive behavioral change.   (more…)

A Move from Filmmaking to Learning the Film Business

Brianna Matthews ’16 always knew she wanted to be involved in filmmaking. Her father was an actor, and she had her sights set on a hands-on, conservatory-style undergraduate program that teaches students how movies are made.  

As a film production major at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she learned the ins and outs of how each motion picture studio department works together to create a film. 

As she replicated sets from Hollywood movies, learned software, and studied filmmaking fundamentals, she realized there was still a lot she didn’t know about the film industry. After graduation, she was completing internships and doing freelance production work on television and movie sets like American Idol, Bird People, and Love is in the Air. 

“I didn’t really have a pathway to something long term,” she explains. “After a while, I realized this wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted. I wanted to move to the business side of the industry—to something a little more stable. I wanted to learn how movies get to the set stage in the first place.”  (more…)

How Data is Permeating the Media Marketplace

Jim Webster, professor at Northwestern University’s School of Communication, went to college for the first time in Fall 1969, it was a tumultuous time. The country was in the throes of the Vietnam War and President Nixon had moved U.S. troops into Cambodia. In Spring 1970, many college campuses simply shut down and canceled the second semester. 

 As Webster prepares to retire at the end of the summer, he’s experiencing trying times once again: His MSLCE course—Understanding Media Markets: Users, Makers + Metrics—has moved online for the first time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s certainly a curious bookend to my life as an academic,” he says.  (more…)