Summer fellowship in New York City proved to be a dream come true

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Senior, Daion Morton stands before the VH1 sign, where he completed a production internship this summer.

by Daion Morton

“When you see the red button flash, then you’ll know it’s recording,” my grandfather said as he stood in front of me holding his new Sony camcorder, “Ready…go!” When I saw the red button flash, I knew it was show time. “Hello everyone and welcome to the Daion Show,” I screamed excitedly and with pure confidence 7-years old and all. Little did I know, it would be the beginning of a dream I would soon pursue.

I knew from early on in my childhood that I had a passion for television. There was just something so interesting to me about how much a person could connect with characters on a show. As I grew older, my attention moved from my beloved shows such as Disney Channel’s “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” to shows like VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop.” Slowly, but surely, my craving for reality television began to grow.

During a conversation with my school’s career counselor, she mentioned a fellowship program that granted students an all-expense paid opportunity to live in New York City for 10-weeks and intern with a media-related company. It didn’t take me long during my research to learn that this was the perfect program for me (after all living in NYC had been my dream since my first visit in 07’). I immediately applied to become an IRTS Summer Fellow, and after numerous essays and two interview rounds, I was selected as 1 of 30 fellows out of an applicant pool of over 1,000 applicants. It literally felt like I was dreaming, me not visiting, but living in the city ‘where dreams come true.’

Following my acceptance into the program, I then had to apply for an internship. In the past my internships had been heavily focused on local TV news, but while in New York I hoped expand my knowledge by challenging myself. I decided to apply for internships within networks that focused on the production and development of reality shows. Having had no previous production experience, I was nervous to embark on this new journey. But I was determined to pursue it.

In all I applied for three internships and I must admit the process was quite rocky. When I received news that I didn’t get placed at the first two networks I’d interviewed for, I felt defeated. And even for moment, I considered the idea of giving up and following what I had more experience in. But through the help of my mentors, I came to view those two experiences, not as failures, but as learning lessons.

I came to realize that my main problem was learning how to articulate my transferable skills. I had to reflect on how I could use what I’d learned from my previous internships and student involvement, to fit what the network I was applying for needed. A week later, I received news that there was an opening for an internship position with VH1’s Production & Development Team. And I thought to myself, “This is my moment, the one I’d been hoping and wishing for all along.”

A little under a week after my interview, as I was studying for finals in the library, I received the email I’d been anticipating to receive. The email read, “On behalf of Viacom Media Networks, I am delighted to confirm our offer for a Summer 2015 internship.” I couldn’t believe it! Here I was ready to give up on a dream that seemed so far out of my league. I felt like a had gotten my moment.

Now that I am approaching my 10th week as an IRTS Summer Fellow and a VH1 intern, I can say that it was has been the experience of a lifetime, one that I am extremely grateful for.

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly over, but I’m confident that this is only the beginning to something good.

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