All of my life I have known I wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment business, but I never had the slightest idea as to how to get there. As I got older, I found myself more interested with the “behind the scenes magic”. I would often watch “The Making of…” vignettes on TV and wonder how what I saw on the screen came to be. When I was a sophomore here at SJU, I was given the opportunity to work with CBS Sports Network as a runner for The Naval Academy football games. Runners are assistants who help the producers with anything that they need. They do not have any technical duties but their tasks can range from running errands to logging the game, which is what I did. I kept track of plays so when the editor had to build packages (teasers, replays, etc.), I knew what important things had happened during each game. I traveled down from Saint Joseph’s University to Annapolis, Maryland on game day for two entire football seasons (2011-2012 and 2012-2013) that took place over the course of my sophomore and junior year.
While working for CBS, I made some great connections, but the most important proved to be my producer, Steve Scheer. He sat me down at dinner one night and asked where I saw myself in five years. I explained to him that I wanted to go into television and broadcasting so he pointed me in the direction of Media 2, Incorporated, located in New York City right next to Madison Square Garden. Media 2, Inc. (M2) is best known for their production and editing on the US Open, with whom they have been clients of for fifteen years.
I had spoken on the phone with office managers and producers at M2 for about two months before I finally went to an interview in March of my junior year. By April, I had been contacted that the internship was finalized and I was to start on May 13, 2013. I walked in hoping to enhance my editing skills and learn as much as I could about the company. I was shocked to learn that Willie Valezquez, the COO of M2, had a much bigger plan for me. Scheer had spoken to Willie and asked him to take me under his wing! Thanks to Scheer’s recommendation, Willie made me a Production Assistant on the Centric (a division of BET) staple show, The Culture List. The show focuses on exposing the past and present lives of affluent African-Americans and celebrities. This show gave me the opportunity to meet and interview incredible celebrities like Kelly Rowland, Tyrese Gibson, Wyclef Jean and Robin Thicke (who was not so incredible…sorry ladies!). All of these interviews were amazing, but the most incredible six days of the internship happened when I took on my second role for M2 – being an official crew member for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
M2 was contacted by the New York Mets to film all of the coverage and press conferences that the Mets were a part of. This included the 2013 All-Star Gala, press conferences delivered by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and interviews with MLB legends such as Joe Torre, Darryl Strawberry, Sharon Robinson and Dwight “Doc” Gooden. Those six days were absolutely incredible but the hours gave me a glimpse into the ‘real world’ as I would have to be in New York City by 5 A.M. and sometimes, I wouldn’t make it home to North Jersey until 1 A.M.
Overall, the internship was better than I could have ever dreamed it would be! Thanks to the skills I learned during my classes at SJU, what was supposed to be a six-week internship turned into a summer job and ultimately lead to a job offer. While I have not yet accepted this job offer, due to other potential opportunities, it is incredible to know that I have contacts that will help prolong my career.
Joe Lacitignola is a senior Digital Communications Major from Whippany, New Jersey. Lacitignola is a member, Webmaster and Parliamentarian for the SJU chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, participates on the Peer Review Board and has been the Technical Director for TEDxSJU. He plans to be a producer or editor for a major television network upon graduating from SJU.