However, this past weekend, I was able to seize a fantastic opportunity thrown to me at the last minute and put my hectic schedule aside. I booked a flight to Park City, Utah to attend and intern at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Sundance Film Festival brings together filmmakers and artists alike from around the world to showcase and premiere some of the best low-budget, indie films of the year. Starting in 1978, the festival has grown enormously, becoming a staple of the film community. This year’s lineup included movies from high-profile indie directors among the likes of Noah Baumbach, Jared Hess, and Kirby Dick. It also featured talented casts including James Franco, James Eisenberg, June Squibb, Orlando Bloom, and Anna Kendrick, among many others. Everyone flocks to this quaint little ski town for 10 days of non-stop film and fun.
Having gone to high school in Park City, I was fortunate to be in such close proximity to this extraordinary event every year. During my senior year of high school, I was able to attain an internship at Park City Television, the town’s local station. The station is well-known and recognized for its coverage during the festival, and that was easily the busiest, most hectic and most fun week of my internship there. I credit that internship as the foundation of my dreams of working in television and film, and I took these dreams with me to Ball State to study telecommunications.
Unfortunately, my first semester here at Ball State felt somewhat lackluster, through my own fault of not joining any of the university’s tremendous telecommunications organizations. Nonetheless, I could feel myself losing the fire behind my career passions. So when my former PCTV supervisor contacted me about making a potential trip up for Sundance, I decided it was just what I needed to try and add some fuel to my fire.
Indeed, those five days in Park City set my dreams ablaze once again. I was able to pick up the flow of the station again pretty quickly, helping out on a wide variety of fronts. From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., the station broadcasts three hours of live television, featuring live music, guest interviews, and pre-taped packages. Another live variety show takes place in the evenings from six to seven. Between the morning and evening shows, editors slave away at their computers, pre-taped interviews are being done in the studio, and PCTV’s reporters are scattered around town for the day’s film premieres, panels, and press conferences.
As an intern, I helped mostly during the live shows. The energy on set then could make the building shake. Everyone is racing around, flipping cameras for the next segment, getting microphones off the last guests to put on the next guests and making last minute changes before we come out of commercial. Cameras flash left and right. Calls are coming in and out of the control room. Coffee is spilled by the cup-full. Chaos ensues everywhere. And I found myself loving every second of it.
In addition to the live shows every day, I was able to accompany a crew to the press line following the premiere of the highly-anticipated Sundance film, “Sleeping With Other People,” starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, and more of my favorite comedians. The premiere actually took place in my high school’s large auditorium, where many films premiere. The press-line took place in a hallway I had walked many times. The red carpet covered the spot where the softball team had our team pictures taken. It felt strange to be back there in such a different context.
As we waited for the crowded press line to begin, I found myself rubbing shoulders with crews from MSNBC, Starz Entertainment, and other major news companies. It felt almost dream-like, and I realized the magnitude of the opportunity I had here. Besides setting up the camera, I didn’t help much during the actual interviews. I stood in the back and let everything sink in, snapping some pictures, and even grabbing a “selfie” with Mr. Sudeikis.
Finally, on Tuesday, I waited for my plane back to Indiana in a state of completely satisfying exhaustion. The trip had executed its goal, my passion for telecommunications was back in full force. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses in the field, which has helped further define my career goals. Since returning from the trip, I’ve joined three more telecommunications clubs, including BSU Tonight, Indiana Outdoors, and a radio show I’m co-hosting with some friends. It’s going to make for a chaotic semester and next few years, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.