RealJobs: Courtney Mazzone, Production Assistant, The Today Show

Courtney Mazzone’s work day on Monday, February 8, 2010.

Hello BC, I’ve missed you!  Here’s a little background on me.  I graduated in ’05 and had no clue what I wanted to do so I went to China for two years.  After two years I came back to the States to attend grad school so I did that from September 2007-December 2008 and then I thought I wanted to work in TV and/or film so I started looking for jobs in the media world while I was writing my master’s thesis and in July 2009 ended up at the Today Show.  I gave you the condensed version because you probably want to hear about what I do, right?

Officially my job is not so exciting – I’m an assistant to three of the senior producers on the Today Show.  It’s an entry-level position so even though I’ve been out of school for five years I’m just starting out in my career.  Like I mentioned above, I was in China for two years after college and then spent about two years in grad school so really didn’t start pursuing a career path until January 2009.  And to get your first job in the media/entertainment industry, like many other industries, you have to start at the bottom and to even get your foot in the door you have to know someone or start out working for free as an intern, which is what I did.  I’ll write more on that later.

Now on to what I did today – I got into work at 9:00am which is the latest I’d ever come in.  Today should be one of those less-hectic days.  My work start time varies, depending on whether I have greenroom duty, have a segment that I produced in the show that day, am babysitting a segment that someone else produced, or just have a day in the office.  If I have greenroom duty, I have a car pick me up at 6:15 so I can be at work between 6:30-6:45.  Whenever we have to be at work before 7am or after 9pm we have a car service bring us back and forth.  If I have a segment earlier in the show I’d come in earlier as well but today I’m babysitting a segment at 10:47, which means I can come in at my normal time, then I’m in the office the rest of the day.

I was in the office doing boring administrative things from 9-10:30ish (handing out newspapers, answering phones, setting up conference calls, printing and distributing our weekly checkerboard – a schedule of what segments are in the show for the week for every hour – then had to run to the studio to “babysit” a segment.  What that means is someone else produced the segment but couldn’t be here for the actual live segment so they asked me to take care of everything.  I had to come in to the office last night for set-up for two hours to make sure all the props were displayed the way I wanted them displayed.  Then the day off I checked in on the guest, made sure everything looks the way we set it out last night in setup, prepped the hosts (give them a summary of the segment and answer any questions if they have them), make sure the guest is prepped and then I run to the control room to make sure the director and assistant director knows what technical elements (graphics, video, etc) we’ve prepared.  So I did all of that from 10:30-11 then headed back to the office.

Today has been more administrative-heavy (read: BORING, probably the most boring day I’ve had in a while) because everyone’s gearing up for the Vancouver Olympics so I don’t have that many segments these next few weeks.  Plus one of the producers I work with is the senior producer in charge of the Olympics so she’s out in Vancouver already.  I won’t see her for a month because she’s out in our temporary office in Vancouver the whole month.  She’s officially the senor producer in charge of special projects, and another of her big special projects is Where in the World is Matt Lauer series but that’s still on a temporary hold because of the economy.

Another senior producer that I work with – the senior broadcast producer, who is second-in-command to the executive producer – is flying out to Vancouver Thursday after the show so once he’s out all of the staff that are going to Vancouver will be out there.  During the Olympics we’re only doing the 4th hour of the show live so it’ll be reeeealllly slow.  I am supposed to help with Olympic research in the evenings but that won’t start until later in the week.

So while in the office today I started working on the next segment I’m producing – a recurring nutrition segment with one of our Today Show Contributors.  More on that tomorrow.

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2 responses to “RealJobs: Courtney Mazzone, Production Assistant, The Today Show

  1. Claire Kennedy

    Hi Courtney:

    My 13 year old son is trying to save a historic house out on the North Fork of Long Island. Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller summered there in 1936. He would like to be able to talk to you for some advice as far a media goes. Could you email him at:

    savehkhouse@hotmail.com (or me at clairekennedy1@optonline.net)

    In the mean time, here is his facebook link for you to check out.

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=120417881302002

    Thank you!!

  2. How did you get your production assistant job at the Today show? I am a television major, and working for the Today show is a dream of mine. I am graduating in May and looking for entry level positions.

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