Growing up, lots of kids dream of working in the movies or television, but few are prepared for the long hours and frenetic pace of production. After her alumni-hosted externship on Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show Anderson in New York City, Lara Maggin ’13 (Greenwich, Conn.) can’t get enough.
Over winter break, Kyle MacLelland ’11, executive assistant to the executive producer and executive-in-charge of production at Anderson, hosted Maggin for two days, showing her the ins and outs of making the show successful. Maggin’s days were jam-packed.
She helped stage runners prepare the dressing rooms for the guests, including Erin Brockovich, and watched the live feed during taping. She also helped “strike” the dressing rooms and production room, packing up all the show’s equipment to bring back to its production department. Maggin’s day didn’t end with the show. She accompanied MacLelland back to the office to help with contracts and storyboards for future shows. Staying in the control room during the second day of taping provided a rare glimpse into the hectic job directors have in making sure all the moving parts come together to create what viewers see on television.
“I never imagined I would be among the crew and see all the inner workings,” says Maggin. “I was really impressed by all the behind-the-scenes action and the dedication of every member working for the show.”
Seeing MacLelland’s success—he was recently promoted from stage runner—was inspiring. Maggin noticed that many of MacLelland’s colleagues were recent college graduates, giving her a good idea of the types of jobs she may find in entertainment when she graduates next year. MacLelland really wanted to give Maggin a look at the different layers of production at Anderson.
“Television and entertainment is an exciting and fast-paced industry, but one that takes a lot of patience and organization, which isn’t always apparent when the final product hits the TV screen,” explains MacLelland. “There is an incredible amount of effort that goes into producing and coordinating one show, and when we generate two or three shows a day, the hours are long and the stakes are high. Lara handled everything very professionally and fit in well with the Anderson team.”
Maggin got her first taste of the entertainment industry last year in an externship hosted by Pamela Roth ’04 at New York City talent agency Don Buchwald & Associates, whose biggest client is Howard Stern. The externship was so successful that it led to an internship with the agency this past summer.
MacLelland knows how crucial externship and internship opportunities are and the networking opportunities they create. Meghan Baker ’07 hosted him for an externship at ABC’s 20/20, and he served internships at CNBC’s Mad Money 5th Anniversary Show with Kara Boodakian ’07 and CNN’s Larry King Live. MacLelland was eager to become part of the supportive alumni community through his first experience as an externship host.
“The externship program speaks volumes about the learning environment Lafayette has created—one that encourages and allows students to expand their knowledge beyond the classrooms on College Hill,” says MacLelland. “My experience as an extern provided me with great insight into the industry I now work in, as well as valuable contacts for my future job search. The relationship between alumni and the campus community is something that sets Lafayette apart from other schools. I’m proud to be part of the tight-knit network.”
Maggin, a double major in English and art, is taking seriously MacLelland’s advice to keep an open mind and expand her horizons. She is studying abroad this semester in Prague at the famous Film and Television Academy of the Performing Arts. After finishing her time on Anderson, Maggin is more excited than ever to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. And MacLelland’s enthusiasm not only for his job, but for showing her the ropes during his busy days on Anderson, was contagious.
“Having a host who is a Lafayette alum definitely made all the difference in this experience. Kyle was very proud to represent Lafayette,” she says. “Everyone was very curious about where I came from and why I was shadowing him. He wanted to help guide me and often you don’t have that genuine encouragement in the workplace. He was a great mentor.”