July

31

UToledo Film grad rockets from internship to job in New York

Posted Jul 31st, 2019 by Angela Riddel  Category: Community Interest, Toledo.com

 

John Leo, who graduated from the University of Toledo this year with a BA in Film, credits the relationships he built at UToledo as one of the major reasons for his current success. Leo says, “Networking really is everything. You’ll hear it said time and again. You don’t fully understand it until you’re embedded in it.”

His film professor, Holly Hey and fellow film grad, Eva Noria, helped him land an internship at Running Man Productions in New York. “I found out about the internship through Holly Hey. She has a relationship with one of the owners of Running Man. She told them about me, and Eva Noria put in a good word for me. [At UToledo] I worked with her on student projects.”

Leo wasn’t long into his internship when he met someone on a project who told him about a job opening with Lion Television which also has a New York office. Through that connection, Leo was hired by Lion Television. It is an entry-level position as an office production assistant.

Since his graduation, Leo has put his film coursework to good use in his internship and new job and has continued to build upon what he was taught. At UToledo “we learned on Final Cut Pro. But at Running Man they use Avid.” Even though the two video editing software systems are a little different, the basics are the same, Leo says. “The basics transfer easily from one software program to the other. The language of the industry is the same.”

At his internship, Leo was tasked with the usual go-fer activities assigned to every intern. But he also received training on Avid and learned to perform quality checking of edited episodes of clients’ TV shows for errors in the text and technical flaws, such as audio pops and clipped frames.

For Lion Television, he’s driving a company vehicle to run errands and make deliveries. But soon he will be driving the vehicle used in the gameshow series “Cash Cab” as part of the show. He also worked with the people who installed the hidden cameras in the car.

Leo graciously accepts the humor of the situation. “When I was in college, I dreamed of being a great filmmaker. I didn’t think gameshow.” The work is a short-term contract position, but Leo knows that it will likely lead to other projects.

Leo says his experience at UToledo provided a wonderful foundation in the kind of humble professionalism and relationship-building that lead to success in the film industry. “What really makes a difference on the job is how you treat people,” Leo says. In college, he worked with other students on projects and they worked on his. They learned to treat each other with respect and not to act like a know-it-all. “In the film industry, it’s important to be passionate and have a solid work ethic. But if you are patient, understanding and kind, people will do things for you. They would much rather have people who are enjoyable to work with than standoff-ish people who know it all.”

Leo adds that education doesn’t stop when a student graduates. “I was anxious at first because I didn’t feel like I knew enough about broadcast TV and how TV distribution works. But I discovered it was more important that I continue learning and talking to people. Education will continue through your whole life. If you think you’re done, you’re not. If you stop, you’ll just stop growing.”

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Angela Riddel - The University of Toledo

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