Name: Elizabeth Bohnsack School: Rutgers Year: Senior Age: 20 Major: Journalism and Media Studies and Criminal Justice Internship: Development intern, Triple Threat TV (unpaid) Hours: 9-5, four days a week until August 30
Every Thursday this summer, Elizabeth Bohnsack and her fellow Triple Threat TV interns walk into the television production company's Harlem office and prepare for a meeting at the Idea Factory. The Idea Factory is a place the staff and interns created, a place where television shows are born.
At the Idea Factory, which used to be a separate office but now exists in name and spirit only, people talk about their days. They talk about existing shows and throw out ideas for new ones. This way, the summer interns get to have a hand in creating the reality shows and documentaries that Triple Threat TV develops and produces.
"Just a little conversation about something that happened throughout your day can spark a whole TV show," Bohnsack says.
Not many 20-year-olds go to their internships every week knowing they have the chance to create a TV show, and Bohnsack knows it. It was this opportunity that attracted the Scottsdale, Ariz. native to the internship in the first place.
As a gymnast at Rutgers, Bohnsack doesn't have time for an internship during the school year. She wanted to spend the summer before her senior year at a place that would allow her to gauge her interest in a prospective career. When Bohnsack, who is interested in a career in television production, saw the Triple Threat TV internship listed on an entertainment careers Web site, she got excited.
"It said you wouldn't just be an errand person, that it was actual hands-on experience," Bohnsack says.
Bohnsack knows she wants to work in television, but like so many 20-year-olds, she is still trying to figure out exactly what career is right for her. In a month-and-a-half on the job, she's learned enough about TV production to know it's something she might like to pursue. While she's learning a lot at Triple Threat TV, however, she doesn't hide her lack of passion for certain aspects of the job.
"I'm not 100 percent committed to the research part of it," Bohnsack says. "It's kind of bland for me. I don't' see myself at a desk job, on the telephone and that kind of thing. I'm much more interested in being out there."
Whether she ends up writing scripts, shooting film or broadcasting sports (something she's always had a desire to do), Bohnsack thinks this internship is the perfect fit for the here and now.
"This is a really good place to start," she says. "You get to see things from how they begin to how they end, as opposed to just seeing the middle, which I think is what happens with networks."
Currently, Bohnsack is part of a team putting together biographies for the Biography channel. She is assisting with research for the biographies of NSYNC, Kiefer Sutherland, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Lopez.
Bohnsack may tire of the research, but the easy-going office environment makes it easier for her to handle.
"It's really an open atmosphere, it's really relaxed, everybody hangs out together outside of work," Bohnsack says. "It's not a stressful, uptight environment. It's so much easier to work in that kind of environment than in a stuffy, less exciting place."
Whether it's working on the biographies, plotting in the Idea Factory or grabbing a drink after work, the interns are a friendly group. They even eat lunch together everyday.
"We have a lunch stipend of $6 a day and we all basically sit around until around 1 p.m. and finally someone will break and say they want food, and then everyone else will say, yeah, I do too," Bohnsack says. "We have a whole binder full of menus so we order. We all pick one place and order from it together. It's kind of dorky, but kind of cute."
Bohnsack isn't always the one to say she's hungry first, but she is a leader at other times. She said gymnastics has given her numerous skills that benefit her in the workplace.
"Everybody that ever talks to us as athletes tells us that being an athlete will help us out forever," Bohnsack says. "Even when I was trying to apply for internships, I remember they would always ask me, 'What are your strengths?' and I had so many, just because of doing a sport."
Spending 20-30 hours a week doing gymnastics since she the age of 7 has taught Bohnsack time-management and dedication. She's also learned the value of teamwork and the importance of leadership.
"I'm used to having leadership positions, to knowing how to step-up and get things done," says Bohnsack, whose team chose her as a captain for the upcoming year. "When you're in a team atmosphere and you know what the coaches are looking for, you have to be in that leadership position."
The same is true in the workplace, Bohnsack has found. She has yet to pitch a show at an Idea Factory meeting (though she's cooking up an idea that came to her recently while watching tourists go berserk when the track-assignment screens at Penn Station malfunctioned), but she leads in other ways.
"A lot of other people have come up with ideas and I'm not afraid to give them my little tidbit," Bohnsack says.
And as Bohnsack knows, that tidbit could turn into a show.