Halliwell In Hollywood: Hello From Los Angeles!

Posted on Posted 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

KateH

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