TAI Student Austin Inglett Works as Assistant Media Buyer for Davis Lenz Media

Austin Inglett in the Davis Lenz Media office.

TAI digital media strategy student Austin Inglett turned his summer internship with Davis Lenz Media into a permanent Assistant Media Buyer position, where he has conducted media buys for various clients including music festivals and political campaigns.

“During [the] spring semester, I honestly just applied everywhere I could for internships that aligned with what I am studying here at SMU, Advertising and Markets & Culture,” Inglett said. “Haley Beth Davis, my boss and also my ‘work mom,’ liked my résumé and cover letter I sent in, and invited me to her office for an interview. The rest is history! Ironically enough, I was hired even before I was formally accepted into the Temerlin Advertising Institute, though I was fortunately formally accepted a couple weeks later in April 2017.”

A typical day for Inglett is almost entirely task-based. With some tasks taking longer than others, Inglett has learned that the reward is worth the time and effort.

“Getting rewarded for your hard work is one of the best feelings you can have,” Inglett said. “During the summer, I was working on a very complex Excel document for one of our clients, Voodoo Music Festival – one in which I had to call numerous stations and continuously update the statistics and information – and it was incredibly exhausting. After spending a ton of time on it and sending it to the client, I was thrilled to hear that Voodoo loved my work, and to celebrate, my boss took me out to get some sushi! It was super satisfying!”

Juggling school and work has also been a challenging yet rewarding experience for Inglett, who has learned the value of time management while trying to balance assignments for both.

Inglett’s office.

“I have had to complete some assignments over a couple weeks in advance so I wouldn’t overload myself during the times where work was busy,” Inglett said. “Keeping a planner or a to-do list is definitely the best way to juggle work and school! Furthermore, in my experience, I feel that the education I am receiving at SMU is excellent; however, more recently, I have found that the true learning comes from the combination of work experience and the classes you take. Gaining a thorough understanding of the operations of agencies, as well as client-side organizations, and getting lots of hands-on experience using the tools you read about in your textbooks is absolutely crucial to setting yourself up for success.”

During his time at Davis Lenz Media, Inglett has learned irreplaceable lessons about working in advertising, and working in the “real world” in general.

“Be friendly and form positive relationships with those you work with,” Inglett said. “This will help you to complete tasks at an even faster rate! To go along with [that], a little bit of trust goes a long way, especially with those whom you work with. Don’t simply double-check your work before you send it to a client – quadruple-check it at the very least! Accuracy is vital in media buying & planning! Cherish the quiet times – life can be rather stressful when everything gets busy. This sounds super generic, but practice does indeed make perfect. Once you get into a rhythm with all the software and tools you need to use, everything gets easier and more refined.”

Inglett at his desk.

All of these experiences have helped solidify Inglett’s desire to work in the advertising industry as well as his love of advertising.

“Since I took my first advertising class, I really felt ‘at home’ with it,” Inglett said. “I, of course, hope to continue working in advertising as a media buyer/planner, or another position I feel I can excel at. Agencies like The Richards Group and Leo Burnett have been tremendous inspirations for me, so I can certainly see myself working at a larger agency. I’ve had a wonderful experience working in the world of advertising so far, so why stop now?”

TAI Student Amy Cooley Interning with Kidd Kraddick Morning Show

TAI student Amy Cooley is spending this fall as a social media intern with the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show. Far from an average internship, Cooley is active with the radio show, on-air and off.

Cooley and singer Rita Ora.

“As the social media intern, my primary responsibilities include live-tweeting the show,” Cooley said, “so yes, I’m there at 6:00AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, also scheduling tweets with the content from that day’s show for the rest of the day, and writing posts with the content for the show’s affiliates – stations other than 106.1 that play the show around the state and country. Other tasks are keeping their followers engaged on Instagram and Snapchat stories.”

Cooley has had many unique opportunities throughout her internship so far, including meeting musicians and getting to go on the air.

“It’s been a really interesting opportunity,” Cooley said. “Because my daily tasks are so trivial – literally did the cliché coffee and breakfast run a couple of times – but at the same time I’ve had really cool opportunities to meet incredible artists that I am now a huge fan of their music, like Rita Ora and MAX. I’ve also started my own podcast with my co-intern. I even got to go on the radio to promote the podcast, which was probably the coolest moment of my entire life.”

The experience of working for a radio show is very different than working for an agency. Having done both, Cooley has learned how the culture varies at each workplace.

Cooley and singer MAX.

“Most of us that intern at agencies have the benefit of really feeling like a part of the team, being fully embraced and given real work on projects,” Cooley said. “Over the summer [interning at greenlight ad] I felt like I already worked at the agency full-time. Here, I’m getting a very different experience, which I need to take bigger advantage of, to learn more about radio. But it’s not as tight-knit because everyone is so busy doing their individual tasks. There isn’t as much time for mingling. It takes time to become closer to the people here because everything is happening in real-time.”

That being said, working at the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show has taught Cooley many lessons that she might not have learned at an agency.

“It’s been interesting to see how advertising ties into the actual medium,” Cooley said, “like knowing the specific requirements for a radio promotion, how the promotions affect the ratings of the show, and hearing the hosts of the show record their radio spots. As Temerlin students, we’re obviously so used to hearing it all from the theoretical perspective on the advertising side, but now I’m seeing it in action. I’m also learning, in case I ever wanted to go into radio, what makes for good content and how to keep a conversation going and make it interesting through doing the podcast.”

Cooley recording her podcast.

Like many students, Cooley is taking advantage of doing multiple internships to help decide what path she wants to take after graduation, completing an account service internship at an agency and now a social media internship for a radio show.

“I’ve got account service under my belt, now I want to see what something completely different is like!” Cooley said. “I’ve always loved performing, growing up doing theater, and maybe radio is a combination of this and advertising? But I’m always going to be interested in brand strategy. I’ve thought about exploring entertainment marketing, so this experience kind of ties into that. Social media plays such a big role in everything in general so this helps for that, too. Overall, I just thought this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, since this is such a well-known name, that the internship could only help me no matter what.”

TAI Student Sara Jane Stephens Interned with Trader Joe’s

This summer, TAI student Sara Jane Stephens worked as a Marketing and Merchandising Intern at the Trader Joe’s headquarters in Monrovia, California.

Stephens at the grand opening of the Trader Joe’s store at USC Village.

Her regular responsibilities in the marketing department included drafting articles for the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, assisting with marketing promotions and communications on social media, the Trader Joe’s website, and radio advertisements. But before she could start any of that, she worked as a crew member at the store level for one week.

“[Working as a crew member] allowed me to see how the store is run and was a great opportunity for me to interact with customers and other crew members,” Stephens said. “Working at store level was essential to my success in the office because without truly observing and understanding the operation of a Trader Joe’s store or interacting with customers, I wouldn’t have truly understood the Trader Joe’s brand. Once in the office, I divided my time between drafting articles for the Fearless Flyer, assisting the Marketing department with marketing communications, and responding to customer emails with the Customer Relations team. Each day was completely different, which was exciting!”

Outside of her regular responsibilities, Stephens had the opportunity to participate in many different aspects of Trader Joe’s business, including a food and wine tasting, judging a photo competition on Instagram, and visiting suppliers.

Stephens and a co-worked on a supplier tour.

“There were so many fun and memorable moments,” Stephens said. “I was able to go on a tour of one of the Trader Joe’s snack suppliers in Southern California, which I would say was my favorite memory from the summer. The supplier that we toured makes tons of snacks for TJ’s and it was really fun to see the process of how everything is made and packaged before being sent off to all Trader Joe’s stores around the country. It was also fun to take an ‘off-campus’ field trip with the rest of the Marketing team. Another favorite memory of mine was participating in a food and wine tasting. There’s so much thought, time, and energy that goes into choosing and evaluating each and every product or bottle of wine that hits Trader Joe’s shelves, and I loved observing the process. After seeing the diligence in selecting food and wine for the stores, I can understand why everything at TJ’s is so delicious and well-priced!”

Being on the Strategic Brand Management track of TAI’s advertising program, Stephens has learned a lot about the importance of brand image and brand loyalty for a company’s success. And she was able to apply many of the principles learned in class during her internship.

“I would say that my internship at Trader Joe’s allowed me to see all of the work and collaboration that goes into portraying brand image and ensuring brand loyalty amongst consumers,” Stephens said. “The Trader Joe’s brand is their store, so the brand image of Trader Joe’s is not only demonstrated through their marketing communications such as the Fearless Flyer, social media, or radio advertisements, but also at store level through their friendly, knowledgeable crew members, delicious products, and the unique design and feel of each store, all of which lead to highly loyal Trader Joe’s customers. My internship at Trader Joe’s was a wonderful opportunity to observe the many facets of brand management that I have learned in my TAI advertising classes.”

Throughout the summer, Stephens learned all about the Trader Joe’s company culture, along with many other valuable lessons that she can apply to her future career in advertising and marketing.

Stephens and another Trader Joe’s intern, Taylor Camarena.

“I learned so much from my internship at TJ’s,” Stephens said. “I learned a lot about time management, brand management, and the importance of customer relations, but above all, I learned how good teamwork is essential to the success of a company. Throughout the summer, I was constantly in awe of how closely the marketing team worked with one another to not only ensure the success of their marketing communications, but also the success of one another. Furthermore, Trader Joe’s as a whole is a ‘no bureaucracy’ company and firmly believes that everyone in the company plays an important role in the brand’s success. This “no bureaucracy” mentality, which is a practiced value of all crew members including the CEO, makes Trader Joe’s the company that it is. I am really grateful to have observed and learned how strong teamwork ultimately leads to a strong brand at my internship this summer.”

One day, Stephens hopes to be a part of a marketing team for a big company like Trader Joe’s, and her internship helped to prepare her for that.

“I really like the idea of working for one brand and working to maintain and manage their brand through marketing communications and advertising promotions,” Stephens said. “I loved my internship at Trader Joe’s as much as I love their delicious food, and am very grateful to have had a summer working for such a wonderful company.”

TAI Student Joanna Fennessy Interned with Havas Health & You

Fennessy at Havas Health & You office

This summer, TAI student Joanna Fennessy interned with Havas Health & You in New York City as a Strategy Intern. Working at a health and wellness agency, Fennessy worked on global and US pharmaceutical brands including Sanofi Genzyme’s Lemtrada and Aubagio, and Pfizer’s Crisaborole.

“I developed a global brand positioning recommendation for Pfizer,” Fennessy said. “I operationalized a cutting-edge Research Lab rolling out network-wide early Q4. I was also responsible for secondary research on primary targets and cultural trends.”

During her internship, Fennessy worked with the Strategy Planning and Innovation team, consisting of ten account planners across various levels.

“The agency was in the middle of 2018 brand planning brainstorming sessions for all three accounts,” Fennessy said. “This was exciting because I was able to participate in a lot of the sessions and given the opportunity to give my input. This also required me to really learn the ins-and-outs of the three drugs I was working on, so I could provide insightful and meaningful comments. While this was challenging, since pharmaceutical drugs are not second-nature to know about, it gave me a lot to do on my off time when I wasn’t tasked with something from my supervisor. It was rewarding and exciting to teach myself about a cutting-edge field of advertising that I had never been taught about in school!”

As an intern, she also had to work with the other interns on an Intern Project and present it in front of a large group of Havas employees.

Fennessy with other Havas Health & You interns and employees

“My favorite moment was creating a new cutting-edge Research Lab as part of our end of the program Intern Project,” Fennessy said, “and [then] presenting it in front of the Havas Health & You CEO, top-level executives, fellow interns, and employees at the end of the internship program. The presentation was a huge success and the Research Lab will be rolling out network-wide this year!”

With all of the hands-on experience she gained throughout the internship, Fennessy took away many valuable lessons that she can apply throughout her career.

“I learned that ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease,’” Fennessy said. “Being a curious and ambitious person goes a long way. Even when there are slow days at the office, asking not only your supervisor, but also other colleagues if there is anything you can help them with makes you stand out of the crowd. It shows you are eager to learn, willing to take initiative, and confident.”

Overall, her internship provided her with an amazing experience that confirmed her desire to work in an advertising agency setting and be in the account planning and strategy discipline.

“Working on Madison Ave in New York City, home of the Mad Men, has been a dream of mine!” Fennessy said. “I absolutely loved the corporate culture of Havas and would love to return to the agency, and if not the agency definitely the city, when I graduate.”

Temerlin Advertising Institute prepares its students to become future advertising leaders in all areas of the industry, including growing niches such as healthcare.

TAI Creative Student Riley Frost Interns with Brass Tacks Collective

TAI creative advertising student Riley Frost has been working as an apprentice at Brass Tacks Collective since July. While her experience is considered an internship, it is far from the average agency internship.

“Brass Tacks Collective runs on a paid apprenticeship program,” Frost said. “My day-to-day job is working with a team lead that acts as a guide throughout the creative process for each project. I work with other apprentices in a collaborative rather than competitive manner, and one of these days will be given the responsibility to lead a project.”

Frost in the Brass Tacks Collective office.

Frost was encouraged to apply for the position by TAI creative advertising Professor Willie Baronet, and she has loved her time there since the beginning.

“Our days at Brass Tacks are full of jokes, sing-a-longs, and tons of fun,” Frost said. “We work for several non-profit organizations around the Dallas area, and those heart-warming experiences are some I will never forget. Our team goes into every meeting with confidence and of course a sense of humor. One thing is for sure; boring days at Brass Tacks do not exist.”

Brass Tacks brands themselves as a “teaching agency” that is made up of paid “apprentices” working on local clients. Since starting, Frost has gained valuable skills that she can apply to her future career.

“It has only been about three months since I started working at Brass Tacks, and I have learned so much,” Frost said. “I have learned how to use new programs such as Sketch and Invision, as well as deepened my understanding of the Adobe Programs. Production skills aside, I have learned how the real world of advertising works. Clients can be difficult, but you have to go into each situation poised and patient.”

Frost has also taken the skills she’s learned in her advertising courses and applied them to her work at Brass Tacks.

“Everything I have learned [in my advertising classes] has come into play in some way or another,” Frost said. “The main one though is the importance of having a concept behind any design or campaign.”

Working for such a unique agency has given Frost a perspective on what she wants for her future career in the advertising world.

“It has taught me that I want to work at a small agency rather than a huge machine of a company,” Frost said. “I want to do work for big clients, but also want to give back to the community. Brass Tacks has taught me how to balance both.”

One thing Frost wanted to make sure that everyone knows is that, “Brass Tacks rocks.”

The Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research (TAI) trains students to search for unique solutions in advertising, preparing them for work in advertising agencies, media firms, corporate marketing departments, design studios and more.

TAI Student Laura Walsh Interns with Moroch

Walsh and other Moroch interns.

The summer of 2017 has been filled with many student accomplishments, as we’ve had several students interning at some of the top agencies locally and nationally. TAI Creative Advertising student Laura Walsh spent her summer interning with Moroch Partners at their Dallas office.

“Because Moroch is great at having creatives work on a variety of clients, the entire creative department was basically my team,” Walsh said. “I worked with a specific team depending on the client. There were times that I would concept with the Executive Creative Director and maybe two others for commercials and then there were times where we as a department concepted together. I also worked with other studio and production interns to create content for social posts.”

Walsh supported clients such as Vision Works, Taylor Hooton Foundation, Llano Wines, Teazzer’s Tea, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. Assisting with the conception and production of several McDonald’s commercials was especially exciting to Walsh.

Walsh covered in McDonald’s french fries for National French Fry Day.

“I learned more than I ever could have imagined,” Walsh said. “Even when there were slow days and I was working on more boring project I still felt like I was learning. I learned more about the creative process in an agency environment, that some clients are awesome and others you want to throw out the 11th floor window. As one of my Creative Directors said “Everything is a teachable moment. Even when you screw up and accidently insult the client’s eating habits during a presentation.”

One of Walsh’s favorite memories from her internship was getting covered in McDonald’s French fries for National French Fry Day. She emphasizes that one of the best things about Moroch was that there was no typical day.

“Some days were filled with kickoff meetings and brainstorm sessions and some days were slower in terms of work than others, but every day was great and something new,” Walsh said. “On any given day you could find me creating logos, ads, website content, branding collateral, content boards, presentation decks etc. I also participated in campaign concepting and brainstorm sessions as well as client photo shoots and video/commercial production.”

Moroch slide
Walsh on the Moroch slide.

A lot of the experience that Walsh has had from class and projects helped her be successful in the internship.

“I think honestly everything I’ve learned came into play at some point or another, especially with my creative core and graphic design classes,” Walsh said. “[The internship] definitely solidified a career in advertising.”

Temerlin Advertising Institute is lucky to be located in a top 5 media market, giving our students easy access to all kinds of agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

TAI Student Cheyenne Tilford Interns with DDB Chicago

Cheyenne Tilford posing with Ronald McDonald statue.

Gaining internship experience is an important part of growing your skillset, and something we encourage all students to take part in during their time at SMU. TAI Strategic Brand Management student Cheyenne Tilford spent this past summer interning with DDB Chicago.

“I was the global account management intern working on the McDonald’s account,” Tilford said. “I was tasked with managing the global network; making sure all DDB offices working on McDonald’s across the 42 markets were performing to standards, formulating plans to strengthen global creative excellence, rebranding the famous Hamburger University, as well as working with the other nine interns to generate an integrated marketing campaign to promote a new product.”

Working solely on the McDonald’s account, Tilford had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of that client, even getting to work on a team creating a new campaign for a new McDonald’s product.

“We were assigned an intern project where the other nine interns and I had to develop an entire integrated marketing campaign from start to finish,” Tilford said. “The product we were launching was a new line of burgers. It was super exciting. We got to go to McDonald’s headquarters and even taste the burgers. My favorite part of the campaign process was the research and brief-writing portion. I loved digging for insights using research presented from the client and various social listening tools.”

Tilford and other interns provided with plenty of McDonald’s throughout internship.

Being an intern, you never know what you’re going to be tasked with. Luckily Tilford completed a variety of tasks, giving her valuable experience that she can use throughout her career.

“Each day was different, which made it exciting,” Tilford said. “Some days I would be sending mass emails to the account managers across the 42 markets. Sometimes I would attend meetings with clients. I helped in the rebranding of Hamburger University, drew up plans for how DDB-McDonald’s could achieve creative excellence across all markets, coordinated a global brand planning workshop and much more. Some days I would be writing and researching all day, and other days I would be in meetings and discussions. That is the beauty of advertising; every day brings something new and exciting.”

Along with her direct manager, who was an Account Executive, Tilford worked with several other members of the global team that were at the VP level or higher and worked in international offices. All of these factors made her internship that much more beneficial for the future.

“This internship got me even more excited about going into advertising,” Tilford said. “I refined my skills working on Excel and creating sleek presentations. I also boosted my communications skills, both written and verbal. In addition, I gained more confidence as the internship progressed to voice my opinion. It is a very exciting time for the field with so many changes happening. I find excitement in this, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for me.”

Tilford and other DDB Chicago interns.

Internships are one of many opportunities TAI students have to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. In addition to gaining valuable professional experience, Advertising majors can also earn course credit for an internship. Learn how to become a TAI internship provider here.

TAI Student Wade Burton Shares Freelance Design Experience

Many creative advertising students and professionals alike have a working job as a freelance designer. However, not everyone is able to turn it into a successful job outlet. TAI creative advertising student Wade Burton is currently enjoying success as a freelance designer, while balancing the hefty load of schoolwork that comes with his major.

Wade Burton (’18)

Burton didn’t start designing with the intention to be a freelancer. After downloading Adobe Illustrator and playing around with it, he became inspired to constantly create.

“It was a very natural progression from there,” Burton said. “Friends and friends of friends started seeing this work I did, probably on my Instagram or Snapchat, and started reaching out. When labels need to be used, I prefer designer to graphic designer simply because when these people tap me for work, what I have realized they want more than my computer clicking abilities is the way I think, and that’s easily the most rewarding part of the freelance work I do.”

Through his experience freelancing, Burton has become firm in his viewpoint of creativity and creative work. He prefers to take a less mainstream approach to his work for clients.

“My learning experiences freelancing are also fairly nontraditional as far as I understand the industry,” Burton said. “[TAI] Professor Mendenhall once spoke to 99% of graphic design work being able to create on the computer screen what your client dictates to you, and 1% being you executing your vision. I took this to heart, and told myself from the start that I always wanted to operate exclusively in that one percent – to the occasional chagrin of Prof. Mendenhall’s project grading rubrics. I made the conscious decision that if I ever wanted to get into design full-time, I would only do so upon being recognized for my personal style. I hold respect for graphic designers, and I hold even more respect for those who break the mold, going against the status quo and earning recognition and praise for it.”

Created for the Perot Museum, from Burton’s portfolio.

As part of his time in the advertising program, Burton was able to be a member of SMU’s 2016 NSAC Ad Team. Through the Ad Team experience got a glimpse of what it’s like to work under the guidance of superiors.

“Ad Team taught me how to exercise humility and practice respect for authority,” Burton said. “Working under a boss is a subject that my freelance work never really broached on, because I always maintained total control of the product until the contract’s completion. Additionally, Ad Team taught me how rewarding a project’s journey to completion can be once you see it entirely through. Even in summer internships, that feeling of completion is frequently lacking. In the agency world, it can take months or even longer for something like a TV spot to go from project brief to production to airing. Ad Team provided a complete experience of this lifecycle in a single semester, even if it didn’t end on a nationally displayed television commercial.”

TAI’s Creative Advertising program has taught Burton a lot about the creative world, especially the many different approaches to creativity and how to apply that in the advertising industry.

“Temerlin’s Creative program has shaped the way I think about creativity as a whole,” Burton said. “Lots of people will say that you can’t be taught creativity, which I would agree with to some extent. But you can be better taught how to think creatively. Thanks to Mark [Professor Allen] and Willie [Professor Baronet], I have learned to take in everything as inspiration. Whether it’s inspiration for what not to do, or work that I wish I had come up with, I have learned a greater appreciation for everything artistic because sources of inspiration come from all over. Mark and Willie have also taught me the importance of creating good advertising work. Their constant feedback and willingness to help and see us succeed pushes me to always create the best work possible. These are people who I didn’t really know two years ago, and now would be ashamed of disappointing by doing anything short of excelling in this creative program.”

Created for Southwest Acupuncture, from Burton’s portfolio.

Burton is currently an art direction intern at McCann Humancare, a health subsidiary of McCann New York, where he’s been able to put his creativity to the test.

“It’s a pretty common industry stigma to work in health, or pharma as most people will call it,” Burton said. “So I learned quickly to get over that because worrying about other people’s negative opinions of your job can really slow you down and there’s no time for that, especially when you’re working in NYC. I’ve also come to learn that of the most exciting aspects of working ‘pharma’ is that the extensive restrictions breed creative excellence. The second week that I was here, the McCann Health network swept the floor at Cannes, heading home with 25 Lions. Suffice to say, any lingering fears of having to do mundane work subsided upon receipt of that announcement.”

All of his experiences, both school and work-related, have truly helped shape him as a person and guide him towards having a successful career while leading a healthy lifestyle.

“I believe that all of my experiences speak directly to my strengths of independence and adaptability,” Burton said. “Living in New York City is not easy, especially going into a creative field. Being able to live comfortably on my own and constantly roll with the punches has prepared me for life after graduation. I think independence is something extremely undervalued and under-taught. Having friends and a burgeoning social life is fantastic and undeniably necessary to personal health, but finding your own way in this transition out of college into the workforce doesn’t happen if you exclusively live other people’s lives with them and are afraid to be independent.”

TAI Student Ryan Blitzer Graduating with MA in Popular Film and BA in Advertising

Click the picture to view Ryan Blitzer’s website.

Many students take on the impressive challenge of double majoring or completing a 4+1 program during their college careers. TAI student Ryan Blitzer has been able to do both in his four years at SMU. Last May, after his third year at SMU, Blitzer completed a BFA in Film & Media Arts. This May, he will be graduating with a Masters degree in Popular Film and Media Studies along with another Bachelors degree in Advertising.

“I will be the first to graduate with a new +1 MA in Popular Film and Media Studies,” Blitzer said. “I actually completed my undergraduate degree in film in 3 years, so I’ll be graduating in 4 years with my Masters degree from SMU. The program focuses on application of techniques and commonalities among different types of film. The classes often help to drive specialization of a study of a certain genre (i.e. horror), and most who graduate with this degree will pursue a Ph.D. in Film. While the program does not have a lot of production, I’ve been able to take electives to satisfy my on-set urges and work 1:1 with professors in the film department. It’s been an awesome experience; I’ve even been able to present in Las Vegas on one of the papers I wrote!”

Blitzer became interested in film in high school when he took a set of classes in TV production, which eventually required him to make short films. From there, he applied to film schools across the country.

Shot from one of Blitzer’s specs for Wii U. Click the picture to see the full spec.

“My favorite thing about filmmaking is the ability to connect with people through a medium that people accept readily,” Blitzer said. “The idea that someone could tell a story that truly impacts someone’s life is humbling, and I love that there are so many opportunities to create different types of films.”

Blitzer chose to add an advertising degree later in his college career. Initially viewing the major as a “backup” to a career in film, Blitzer quickly realized that he very much enjoys advertising, especially creating commercials.

“My favorite thing about advertising is that the skills are adaptable to a wide range of applications,” Blitzer said. “Learning to tell stories through one spot or one print ad is very difficult, and when you combine both skill sets [advertising and film] you are able to tell a more cohesive and stronger story that connects with more people.”

During his past four years at SMU, Blitzer has had impactful professors that have helped him realize his goals for the future.

“If I were to pick a mentor in each department, for film, it would be Professor Troy Perkins, and for advertising, it would be Professor Willie Baronet,” Blitzer said. “Their support has driven me to be more acutely creative and accelerate the refinement of skills I’ve learned. They really taught me about the stories behind the pretty pictures, and how to form the stories that can impact the most people emotionally and realistically.”

Post-graduation, Blitzer has accepted a paid internship position with Mary Kay and hopes to eventually move into freelancing. He is currently interning with charlieuniformtango, a commercial product and post-production company located in downtown Dallas.

Photograph by Ryan Blitzer as part of collection called “A Different Perspective”

“My internship with charlieuniformtango [CUT for short] has been phenomenal,” Blitzer said. “CUT is mainly known for post-production; several spots they edited were in the Super Bowl this year. I was able to shadow many of the post-production editors, graphics artists, etc., but my principal duties were in production. I worked with several of the directors and executive producers on sets including the Texas Rangers, Mary Kay, Dr. Pepper and Gamestop. Being in a professional environment allowed me to refine skills and see a slightly different workflow to commercial and short filmmaking than what I was used to. I’ll be able to adapt and use those skills in future freelancing.”

TAI Students Elissa Evanich and Bella Pepin Intern with D Custom

Every semester multiple SMU and TAI students intern with D Magazine, as they have a wide variety of positions available to students and allow them to gain experience during the school year. This semester, two TAI students on the Strategic Brand Management track, Elissa Evanich and Bella Pepin, are both interning with D Custom, a content marketing agency owned by D Magazine.

Evanich (left) and a group of interns at D Custom.

Evanich serves as a Content Marketing Intern, while Pepin is a Social Media Intern. Both work on social media but different aspects of it. Evanich does competitive research and social media analytics, while Pepin primarily produces content for D Custom’s social media platforms. That being said, the average day of an intern is similar regardless of position.

“I come in and check my email first,” Pepin said. “There are always emails about happenings or free stuff from the D Magazine team downstairs, so I look out for those. I write, edit, and schedule out social for the week. I go to all the meetings my manager attends, which is a lot. We have an intern project due at the end of the semester, so we work on that during work hours too.”

As the internship has progressed, Evanich has learned the importance of certain skills to the world of content marketing.

“Content marketing is interesting because it learning how to write as the voice of the brand,” Evanich said. “This internship has given me additional experience in writing and speaking professionally. I think being able to not just sell yourself but also your ideas is very important. ”

Evanich also emphasized the importance of Google certifications in content marketing and encourages anyone interested in the field to pursue the Analytics certification as soon as possible.

Along with specific skills relevant to content marketing, Pepin has learned some broader lessons that apply to all agencies and jobs.

“[I’ve learned that] not every person is right for every job,” Pepin said. “Agency culture and workplace culture are of supreme importance. The industry can change in an instant, but I like knowing that I am learning whatever I can today to be better tomorrow. [I’ve also learned that] I love Dallas more than I thought.”

A unique aspect of working for D Magazine or D Custom is having other TAI students going through the same experience as you. While most interns all have a separate title and purpose, they work together and help each other out during the workday.

“We work together on a lot of stuff,” Pepin said. “It is nice to have a familiar face and someone to talk to if I’m struggling. Sometimes there are ah-ha moments when things that we’ve learned at TAI are applicable to what we are doing, and it’s cool to know that she gets it.”

Sharing the internship experience, Evanich and Pepin have been able to learn and grow together, applying what they’ve learned in their Strategic Brand Management classes as well as learning new skills.

“We both have a similar skill set since we have been in the same classes,” Evanich said. “So if I don’t know how to do something, she doesn’t either. In that way, we both can ask another employee to help us out, and we both learn from the experience.”

Both Evanich and Pepin have enjoyed learning and growing their skill sets at D Custom. As their internships are almost over, Pepin has advice for any students that are looking to apply there in the future.

“If you are planning to apply to D Custom, know the difference between the agency and D Magazine,” Pepin said. “D Custom is completely separate and different from the publication, and you should know why before [you] apply.”

If you are interested in applying for an internship with D Custom or D Magazine and have any questions about the experience, feel free to contact Elissa Evanich (eevanich@smu.edu) or Bella Pepin (ipepin@smu.edu).