Questions, Questions, Questions | #2

The first three weeks have passed and the rose-colored glasses that come with a shiny new job and new city have begun to fade into a light blush. The city hasn’t lost its luster but the way I see it has fundamentally changed from how I saw it just a year ago when I was a tourist. The rhythm of life in New York has started to make sense to me as I find myself walk-sprinting through crowds of people on my way to work, getting annoyed at the people who seem to not know the unspoken rule that the left side of escalators is for walking and the right side for standing. I have learned new words like “Nolita,” “bodega,” “eighty-six it,” and the pronunciation of “bed-stuy.” For many, their picture of New York is something like “Gossip Girl,” rich people going to expensive stores and eating in boutique cafes all while in the glamorous, picture-perfect world of New York. In reality, manhattan is overcrowded, it smells like sewer every few steps and the streets are littered with garbage. Now this isn’t to say the city is without its charm, but I find myself being attracted to the boroughs outside of Manhattan. Brooklyn being my home and where I work, I find myself falling in love with its diversity and the less-crowded feel of its sidewalks. There’s something to be said about the rhythm of the city and commuting to work. Every time you step on the subway you see a hundred different faces with a hundred different backgrounds and a hundred different outfits. A hundred people on their own individual paths that diverge as we screech to a stop at each station. There’s a restaurant for every type of cuisine in each borough and there’s an infinite number of things to do each and every day for every kind of person. This is both incredibly convenient and very overwhelming. If you ever suffered from FOMO, don’t live here. It will make you feel like you are missing everything even if you occupy every moment of your time. I think what I’ve learned from all of these moving parts is to be comfortable in my own path. I have control over what I do and where I go in life and that’s a powerful thing.

With that being said, this internship has finally taken shape enough for me to layout some goals for myself through the rest of my internship. I really hope to work on confidence with my writing. Despite my inexperience, I feel that I have valuable ideas even if my first draft doesn’t sound as polished as my much more experienced colleagues. Often what’s most important in development is getting ideas on to the page so that they can grow. The longer you keep something in your head the more time you waste on bad ideas. This is something I need to work on.

In addition, I want to practice and learn as much as I possibly can about the writing process  from my coworkers. In my classes at Michigan I often wouldn’t bother asking my professor’s questions, thinking my question was stupid or not worth the effort. But, in the workplace I find myself constantly having questions that need to be answered. Getting over that initial moment of hesitation when asking a question is something I’ve already shown progress in but I hope to completely eliminate that habit by the end of this internship. Asking questions today will save me from making serious mistakes and just spare me the embarrassment that comes with ignorance.

What’s interesting about my internship is that work I do differs from what I initially expected. The biggest difference being that I do a lot more reading that I originally thought I would. A lot of it is research-based and requires me to read a ton of articles and collate data. I discovered that I actually really enjoy doing this. My perception of unscripted work has changed quite a bit and I realize how important it is to write from an informed perspective. Having thorough research is a great way to contextualize unscripted shows and give them the authenticity they require.

To help tie this messy ramble into somewhat a cohesive whole, I will leave this blog with a quick story from my first few weeks. For one of my assignments, I had to go to a rental house to meet with a DP and checkout equipment for one of our shoots. I got there early and had no clue what I was supposed to be doing apart from meeting this person at the rental house and helping them out. As I walked inside and told the man at the desk what company I was here with, they began the checkout without said DP present. I started to get really anxious, I kept looking at the door with anticipation as they slowly brought out more equipment, laying it out on the floor in front of me. I didn’t know what we needed nor how the checkout process worked. I was hoping, praying that the DP would show up so I didn’t mess this up. After about 15 minutes of me pacing and looking at the door hoping the DP would walk through, he showed up. Turns out I was supposed to just stand there, the checkout process is really relaxed and is completely controlled by the person checking the equipment out. It’s just a matter of setting it up, making sure everything works, and double checking that you have everything you need. This experience made me realize I worked myself up for nothing. Unwarranted expectations and imaginations about what is supposed to be happening can cause a ton of unnecessary anxiety and stress. Taking things one step at a time and just simply asking a question can go a long way. A simple “Hey I’m an intern, how does this checkout process work?” probably would have prevented all of that nervous pacing and looking at the door every five seconds. Hopefully, I learn to stop imagining all the things that can go wrong and just ask questions when I’m unsure about something. 

2 thoughts on “Questions, Questions, Questions | #2

  • July 24, 2018 at 9:28 am
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    Asking questions is definitely a skill, and it sounds like you’re really focusing on improving your skill in that way, Matthew. Maybe now that you’re working on it over the summer, you won’t be as hesitant to ask questions of your professors when you get back to school.

    That story you told really is a great example of why asking questions can be so important. I understand that you may not have wanted to seem inexperienced or ignorant–I feel that way too a lot! But I always have to remind myself that people are often much nicer about things than I worry about in my head. It sounds like that was true for you in this circumstance.

    I’m really enjoying following your posts and I’m excited for the next one!

    Maggie

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  • July 24, 2018 at 9:33 am
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    Matthew, I really enjoyed the story at the end of your blog post. It really reminds me to ask myself “what’s the worst that could happen” when I am feeling lost. In the end, the worst case is probably that I look like a fool, and learning to be okay with that remote possibility helps me to put myself out there. Even when I’m in a foreign country and I don’t speak the local language, I’ve found that people do their best to help, and the only thing holding me back is me getting in my own head.

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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