RealJobs: Courtney Mazzone

Courtney Mazzone’s work day on Wednesday, February 10, 2010.

I came in at 9am again this morning and it’s even more of a ghost town today than the past few days.  For one, everyone that’s going to Vancouver is out there already and two, it’s snowing!  The office is almost empty.  The last of the three producers that I assist is still around but he’s still in the control room at this point.  He had to be in at 5am to fill in for the senior broadcast producer (the one that flew out to Vancouver last night) which means he’ll probably leave early today too.  That’s good news for me in terms of having downtime to get my segment written for tomorrow and stepping out of the office to go to setup at 4:30.  I also want to head up to the edit room today to see how editing is going on the taped spot I’m helping with, have time to work on the Selena Gomez bio I said I’d do for my coworker and also check out the footage I shot last week when I went on the shoot.

The guest for my segment tomorrow just sent me a note and let me know that the NY Times had an article on aphrodisiac foods in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Because her segment tomorrow is a nutrition game about aphrodisiac foods, I read through the article to make sure we didn’t miss anything.  Now I’m working on revising the questions she sent me for the game and creating lower-thirds for the segment tomorrow.

Booked a car for the producer of mine that is still here – he has to be in tomorrow at 5am again to run things in the control room.  Starting Friday our makeshift control room in Vancouver is “hot” which means we will only use our normal control room (1A) for news updates during the Olympics.  We use the 1A control room for the first 3 hours of the show and a different control room – Jimmy Fallon’s 7A control room – for the 4th hour.  We have to use a separate control room for the 4th hour because 1A is often used from 10-11am to update the first three hours of the show for the other three time zones.

I said I’d talk more about the typical career path for TV so here goes.  You have to get your foot in the door somehow and the way to do that is usually by interning at the show or knowing someone.  I didn’t know anyone that worked on the show so I took the intern route…but I didn’t intern at the Today Show.  I interned at three different places in NBC before getting my job here.  In order to intern for NBC, and I think most other TV networks are the same, you have to be able to get school credit or else get paid, for legal reasons.  And by get paid I mean you have to get an outside grant or fellowship to supplement your living expenses as you intern.  I took advantage of my grad student status to intern.  I started out interning in NBC Sports & Olympics Communications (i.e. PR for NBC Sports & Olympics) in January 2008 because I knew the Olympics were in Beijing that summer and I was hoping they’d send me back to China because of my previous China experience and language knowledge.  After interning there for about a month I found out they’d done all of their Olympic hiring months before.  So no Olympic job but the good news was, now that I had my foot in the door it was easy for me to find a second internship within NBC.  I wanted to get some TV/film experience and I LOVED watching Late Night with Conan O’Brien, so I decided to intern there.  From day one I loved it!  Working in comedy was great and the schedule was great too – 10am start time and 7pm end time (dinner included).  We also got to watch Conan’s rehearsal every day and help with segments.  I interned September 2008 until the show wrapped in late February.  I’d finished my master’s coursework at that point but hadn’t written my thesis so I was able to continue interning, and I did that so I could get a job with the show when they moved out to LA.  The problem was, they wanted everyone to move out there on their own so I elected to stay in NY and continue interning at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  I also LOVED it there – I was working closely with the segment producers on the show, helping with researching guests, and really started to understand how a show like that works.  I interviewed for a job when it opened up but didn’t get it and at that point had been out of school working for free for 6 months…so I decided to look elsewhere.  Having my food in the door at NBC helped and I met with several HR people.  I thought I might be interested in working in news and interviewed for a position with Nightly News with Brian Williams.  Didn’t get that job but they passed my resume to the Today Show and the rest is history.

I know I said I’d talk more about producing segments but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow.  I promise I’ll get to that but I will say that I did most of the planning for my segment tomorrow today, including going to a setup at 4:30.  Here’s a picture of what the set will look like for my segment tomorrow.


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