Goodbye, LA!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Happiness, Internship, Kate, Success, Uncategorized

After two months of writing, reporting, and ceaseless movie and TV discussions, I’m officially done with my IndieWire internship. I’m incredibly sad to leave the friends I made there behind, but hopefully I’ll find myself back there at some point in my career (sooner versus later, please!).

I ended up with 65 published bylines on the site, with a few more pieces scheduled for publication as the year goes on. I covered and/or attended seven or eight premieres, screenings, or other events for the site, as well as some just for fun.

The cast of “BoJack Horseman” at their Season 3 premiere panel.
The cast of “BoJack Horseman” at their Season 3 premiere panel.

My final week was pretty busy with events and goodbye parties, but my favorite was a premiere screening for “BoJack Horseman” Season 3. For those who don’t know it, it’s an animated comedy on Netflix that satirizes Hollywood and celebrity culture. The premiere had a panel with the show’s stars, including Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins. I got the chance to meet most of them at the after party, which was super fun.

 

The IndieWire television team all set for Emmy nominations to begin.
The IndieWire television team all set for Emmy nominations to begin.

We were also overrun with Emmys coverage during my last few weeks, since nominations were announced a few weeks ago. We gathered in one of the conference rooms early in the morning on that Thursday with our PMC provided “Emmy NomNomNominations” breakfast and got to work! It was sort of a chaotic morning at the office, but thanks to some great organization and extensive prep, it all went smoothly.

The Last Bookstore is half museum, half bookstore, all awesome.
The Last Bookstore is half museum, half bookstore, all awesome.

I also got the chance to do a bit more sightseeing during my last week at work. I tried out the Metro bus system and ventured downtown, visiting The Last Bookstore and other famous spots. I probably could have spent the entire day just at the bookstore, but I forced myself out the door after just an hour or two.

I liked my time in LA due to my awesome job and great coworkers, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of my favorite cities. The lack of a decent public transit system is baffling to me, and I just couldn’t get used to spending hours and hours in traffic every day. I also hated the parking situation — paying to park everywhere from Target to the public library? Come on! That said, I would be happy to live in LA upon graduation if it meant I could return to IndieWire, or even somewhere like it. As long as I get to do this type of work, I’ll be happy!

 

Don’t make me go!
Don’t make me go!

All in all, I’m so glad I chose IndieWire over my other summer internship choices. I really felt like I was a useful contributor to the site, rather than just another intern used for fact checking and research.

The list of things I learned this summer goes on and on, but I think the most valuable lesson is that confidence and personality go a long way. I’m a pretty good writer, but I think it was my personality that really endeared me to the IndieWire staff. I made some really good friends in the two months that I was there, which has really upped my chances of being rehired in the spring. Sure, being good at my job will also help my chances, but endearing myself to the team has given me an edge over unknown candidates.

And that isn’t to say that I went in with the goal of making friends — I just found my people there. Anyone who knows me will attest that I’m far from an extrovert, but I really hit it off with some of my coworkers and found it easy to go from colleagues to friends. Obviously my work will go under the microscope if I ever get the chance to be rehired there, but I feel comfortable that I have at least two or three people in the LA office who will fight for me!

It feels really strange to have spent a summer working as a professional, doing my dream job … and now going back to school for one more year! Hopefully my last year at IU will prepare me even further for a job in entertainment journalism, thanks to my work at the IDS and my full schedule of film and journalism classes.

Thanks for keeping up with my Hollywood adventure! Here’s to many more.

by Kate Halliwell | email | twitter

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Halliwell in Hollywood: Bylines + Beach Volleyball = Bliss

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Internship, Kate

When I wrote this, it was July 4th weekend, which meant I have only three weeks left in my internship at IndieWire. And now only two!!

How is that possible?

Time here has flown by, mostly in part to really loving my work and the people I work with. I started my second month here with a slight change in routine, as IndieWire hired a new TV editor and therefore ran out of room for us on the sixth floor of the PMC building. We started last week on the eighth floor, which is the primary one for Variety Magazine.

Another example of Variety’s office décor.
Another example of Variety’s office décor.

I was a little nervous about getting to know a whole new group of people, but it helped that I had already made some Variety friends at a networking event the weekend before.

And by networking event, I mean the company beach volleyball team. I’ve been looking for reasons to get outside and be active, and when I heard PMC had organized a weekly beach volleyball team for all interested employees, I signed right up! I played volleyball in high school and still play recreationally at IU, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get to know people.

After a decisive victory on Sunday at Santa Monica beach, I had no trouble getting settled on the Variety floor last week. I’m also working closely with one of my beach volleyball teammates on a project concerning the recent additions to the Academy voters index.

I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!
I’m not one for formal networking events, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet people in a beach volleyball league!

Even though I’m enjoying getting to know people at Variety, I do miss my IndieWire friends, and I’ve tried to use any opportunity to go back down to the sixth floor and visit.

IMG_5975
Free food truck day at PMC!

PMC has provided various opportunities in the past week to get employees together, from free food truck days to the last round of Emmy campaigns, so it’s been fairly easy to hang out with IndieWire people at work despite the change in location.

As the last few weeks of my internship approach, I’m doing my best to learn about the ins and outs of interviewing celebrities and covering events. My boss is working on setting up an interview for me with Walton Goggins of HBO’s “Vice Principals” (you probably know him from basically every Tarantino movie ever or “Justified” on FX), so hopefully that will happen in the next week or so.

Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.
Hanging with coworkers in the Amazon FYC trailer.

For the project on Academy members that I mentioned above, I also have been given access to contact information for all AMPAS members, and we have to add contact information for all the new additions. It’s the weirdest thing — I now have a spreadsheet of contact information for everyone from Brad Pitt to Cate Blanchett.

Granted, about 75% of the numbers and emails are just for their publicists, but about a quarter of the AMPAS members on the list have their home or cell numbers listed, along with personal email addresses. And it’s not just the B-list celebs that have their home numbers on there: people like Ben Affleck and Will Smith have their personal cell phone numbers listed!

So yeah, that was a weird day at work.

I currently have 45 bylines for IndieWire in the 5 weeks I’ve worked for them, which is way more than I expected. I’m looking forward to adding to that list and starting some new projects in the time I have left here.

Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!
Ava Duvernay messaged me directly on Twitter to thank me for this article. She’s one of my favorite directors working today, so that was pretty exciting. What a lady!

I’ll keep you all posted on all the new, hopefully exciting things that happen at work before I head back home to Indiana.

by Kate Halliwell | email | twitter

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Halliwell In Hollywood: Greetings From The Green Carpet

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Entertainment, Internship, Kate, Uncategorized

Hello from Los Angeles!

It’s the end of my third week here, so the halfway point is quickly approaching — way too quickly, if you ask me. Work at IndieWire is great, and the days are flying by!

Mid June in Hollywood is Emmys campaign season, and there are FYC billboards everywhere you look. FYC stands for “for your consideration,” which is a fancy way of saying, “Hey Emmys voters, please watch and vote for our show!!”

This particular FYC billboard features a quote from Ben’s IndieWire review of “The Leftovers,” which is an amazing show that you should all start watching immediately.
This particular FYC billboard features a quote from Ben’s IndieWire review of “The Leftovers,” which is an amazing show that you should all start watching immediately.

Along with the billboards, we’ve been inundated with free food, shirts, pencils, and pretty much anything networks think will make us write about why people should vote for their shows and actors. I’m not complaining, but the idea that a cup of ramen or a pencil is all it would take to sway us is pretty funny. I’m never one to turn down free stuff, though.

I don’t watch “Ash vs. the Evil Dead,” but their Emmys campaign for lead actor Bruce Campbell has been pretty fun so far. New favorite pajamas shirt!
I don’t watch “Ash vs. the Evil Dead,” but their Emmys campaign for lead actor Bruce Campbell has been pretty fun so far. New favorite pajamas shirt!

My personal favorite part of Emmys campaign season has been being able to attend some of the premieres and panels that are held all over LA. I’ve only attended two so far, but there seem to be more every week, so hopefully as my bosses see that I can handle covering them by myself I’ll be able to go to more.

The event began with a tour of the exhibit, where costume designer Terry Dresbach showed us all of her amazing creations.
The event began with a tour of the exhibit, where costume designer Terry Dresbach showed us all of her amazing creations.

The first event I attended was the “Artistry of Outlander” exhibit, panel, and red carpet at the Paley Center for Media. The event was held to honor the costume and set designers of “Outlander,” which is a romantic period drama on Starz. I’ve been an “Outlander” fan since before the show even aired (I read the first book), so I was thrilled to be able to interview the main players involved in bringing the show to life.

This was my favorite dress from the show, and it was one of Terry Dresbach’s favorites too. All of the designs and flowers were either embroidered by hand or handpainted.
This was my favorite dress from the show, and it was one of Terry Dresbach’s favorites too. All of the designs and flowers were either embroidered by hand or handpainted.

I could talk about the gorgeous costumes and sets forever, but I already did that in my write up for the event, which I’ll link at the end of this post.

It looks like I’m earnestly listening to Caitriona Balfe in this picture, but I’m really just admiring how perfect her skin is.
It looks like I’m earnestly listening to Caitriona Balfe in this picture, but I’m really just admiring how perfect her skin is.

The best part of the evening was the red carpet! Technically the carpet was green, but as I learned from my fellow reporters, any sort of carpet event like this that includes short interviews, photographers, and a press line is called a red carpet. Since it was a fairly low key event, I got about 5 minutes with each person, including the executive producers, the creatives, and the lead actors! Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan are amazing in the show, especially Caitriona, and they couldn’t have been nicer. (They were both taller than me, which was amazing and unexpected, considering I’m about 6’ in heels.)

Sam Heughan’s Scottish accent briefly made me weak in the knees, but I think I pulled off a professional façade pretty well.
Sam Heughan’s Scottish accent briefly made me weak in the knees, but I think I pulled off a professional façade pretty well.

The “Outlander” event has been my favorite so far, but I also just attended another Paley Center Emmys event last night.

Since “Aquarius” isn’t one of NBC’s better known shows (and honestly, it isn’t very good), it was far from a packed house. Mostly press in the front and a few scattered fans.
Since “Aquarius” isn’t one of NBC’s better known shows (and honestly, it isn’t very good), it was far from a packed house. Mostly press in the front and a few scattered fans.

Ben Travers, the IndieWire TV Critic, had a plus one for the NBC “Aquarius” premiere and panel last night, so I tagged along for the night. We were supposed to interview David Duchovny before the panel, but he had just flown in from New York and apparently arrived too late to do interviews. I’m not really an X-Files fan, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I would’ve liked the chance to make my sister super jealous. 🙂

Gethin Anthony, who played Renly Baratheon in “Game of Thrones,” plays Charles Manson in the show. He was rockin’ the DOUBLE man bun, which is honestly reason enough why he was never worthy of ruling Westeros. He and David Duchovny accidentally dressed like twins.
Gethin Anthony, who played Renly Baratheon in “Game of Thrones,” plays Charles Manson in the show. He was rockin’ the DOUBLE man bun, which is honestly reason enough why he was never worthy of ruling Westeros. He and David Duchovny accidentally dressed like twins.

The “Aquarius” event was pretty lame, to be honest, but it was all worth it in the end because I ran into someone I used to work with in Lafayette! Taylor Gates and I worked at a candy store together in high school, and we ran into each other covering this panel for our respective entertainment news sites in Beverly Hills. Small world!

I’ve never even run into Taylor in Indiana. What are the odds?
I’ve never even run into Taylor in Indiana. What are the odds?

Overall, I’ve been loving writing up these events and can’t wait to go to more! I was supposed to cover an “American Horror Story” panel earlier this week, but it got canceled, rightfully so, because Lady Gaga wanted to go speak at a vigil for Orlando victims instead.

By the way, if you’re curious about the “Outlander” event and what Caitriona, Sam and I were actually talking about, you can read the article here on IndieWire!

Until next week!

by Kate Halliwell | @kate__halliwell | khalliwe@umail.iu.edu

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Halliwell In Hollywood: Hello From Los Angeles!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Communication, Entertainment, Internship, Job, Kate

Hello from Los Angeles!

I’ve now been here for two weeks, which thanks to work, have absolutely flown by. This is the first real breather I’ve had, so I wanted to take the opportunity to write my first post and tell you all about my internship.

IndieWire updated its layout on the day I arrived, which I like to think was in my honor. Really it was to celebrate its 20th year, but I like my explanation better.
IndieWire updated its layout on the day I arrived, which I like to think was in my honor. Really it was to celebrate its 20th year, but I like my explanation better.

I’m working for the next two months at IndieWire, which is an entertainment news website that focuses on film and TV news. The name comes from the site’s original focus on independent cinema and television, but its scope has grown in the 20 years that the site has been live. I’ve been a big IndieWire reader for years due to their smart and in-depth take on Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and the opportunity to work here was a dream come true!

My official title for the summer is “Editorial Intern,” which means that I get to do fun things like write and cover events, rather than just do research and fact checking.

It looks pretty boring in this picture, but this is where I work. IndieWire is brand new to the PMC building, so everyone is still in the process of getting settled and moving in.
It looks pretty boring in this picture, but this is where I work. IndieWire is brand new to the PMC building, so everyone is still in the process of getting settled and moving in.

Despite being an unpaid intern, I chose this internship over a paid one with The Hollywood Reporter just for this reason — I think experience and professional skills are way more valuable than being paid minimum wage to sit at a desk and check copy that other people have written. I am loving my job so far, and I haven’t regretted this decision for a second!

My first two weeks at IndieWire have been fast-paced and fun so far, and things have only picked up as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my daily tasks. IndieWire has a fairly small team, smaller than you would think for a site with their kind of reputation, but I really like how close-knit it is. I was allowed to choose between working at the New York or LA office, and chose LA for a few reasons.

First of all, I had never been to LA and a summer surrounded by sunshine and palm trees sounded pretty great.

The Penske Media Building is between Santa Monica and Westwood, and houses a bunch of different entertainment publications. Since Variety is the major PMC money-maker, they get a sign outside the building.
The Penske Media Building is between Santa Monica and Westwood, and houses a bunch of different entertainment publications. Since Variety is the major PMC money-maker, they get a sign outside the building.

Second of all, the LA office is primarily TV news based, while the NY office is the unofficial film office.

Since the Emmys are coming up later this summer, I chose the LA office because I was assured there would be plenty of Emmys events for me to cover. (This has proven 100% true already, but more on that in my next post!)

My boss here in LA is Liz Shannon-Miller, who is the TV Editor for IndieWire. She’s super nice and helpful, and she shares an office with Ben Travers, who is the Chief TV Critic.

If you’d asked me three weeks ago whether I preferred TV or film reporting, I would have said film, but they’re already converting me to a major TV geek! It’s so fun to be around people who nerd out about TV and movies as much as I do.

Pictures like this one of Berenice Bejo are all around the building, mainly on the floors belonging to Variety.
Pictures like this one of Berenice Bejo are all around the building, mainly on the floors belonging to Variety.

There are quite a few others in the LA office, but Liz and Ben are the two that I’ve been working with most closely. Steve Green, the special projects editor, is also great. I work next to Steve and one other intern, who is a LA native and is majoring in film at UC Berkeley. Since he watches very little TV and has no interest in reporting on the Emmys, we’ve been splitting the TV and film coverage between us.

Excuse the Snapchat format- Amazon brought a trailer full of food, coffee, and free stuff to the office for us and the Variety reporters. It’s pretty common practice for networks to do this around Emmys time, sort of a “Please write about why our shows should be nominated!” bribe. Hey, I’ll take it.
Excuse the Snapchat format — Amazon brought a trailer full of food, coffee, and free stuff to the office for us and the Variety reporters. It’s pretty common practice for networks to do this around Emmys time, sort of a “Please write about why our shows should be nominated!” bribe. Hey, I’ll take it.

Our daily tasks consist of a few general entertainment news stories, usually followed by a transcript or two. For those of you who don’t know, a transcript is a word-for-word document of a recorded interview. Most reporters hate transcribing, and therefore they give it to us to do. While the transcriptions are definitely the worst tasks we have to do, it’s not like we’re working for a general newspaper and transcribing interviews with normal, boring people.

Since we work with entertainment reporters, all of the interviews are with famous people, so it makes the task 100 times more interesting! To date, I’ve transcribed interviews with David Schwimmer (Ross from “Friends”), Viola Davis (an actual queen among women), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), Michael C. Hall (Everyone’s favorite serial killer on “Dexter”) and many more! The only downside is that usually they’re talking about a show that I haven’t finished yet — so many shows and movies have been spoiled for me in just two weeks at this job!

When my eyes are going blurry from staring at my computer for too long, I tend to nip on down to the cafeteria on the 5th floor for a snack. The IndieWire office is in the Penske Media Building, who also owns Variety Magazine and a few other publications.

I’ve spent way too much time in the Variety cafeteria experimenting with different concoctions from this drink machine.
I’ve spent way too much time in the Variety cafeteria experimenting with different concoctions from this drink machine.

Since Variety is the big dog in the building, they get their own cafeteria that comes fully stocked with a breakfast spread every morning, a cereal bar, constantly changing snacks, and one of those cool drink machines. (Yes, we are allowed to use the cafeteria, although I’m not above stealing free food if it comes to that.)

All in all, I’ve been loving my job so far and genuinely look forward to every day at IndieWire! My further adventures with Emmys events will be documented in an upcoming post — stay tuned!

by Kate Halliwell | @kate__halliwell | khalliwe@umail.iu.edu

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