TAI Student Eric Sedeno Shares Experience Interning with Photomadic

Many students have a specific idea in their head about what type of company they want to work for. Usually this is a well-known, popular company that students idolize. However, these students often don’t realize that smaller, less well-known companies can provide an equally wonderful, if not even more hands-on experience. TAI student Eric Sedeno is interning this semester as the Jr. Design Intern with Photomadic, a small photo solutions and event marketing company in Dallas.

TAI student Eric Sedeno

Sedeno is an Advertising major on the Creative track with a minor in Graphic Design. He has had a lot of past experience with graphic design, which helped him get the job.

“I actually did not apply to this internship,” Sedeno said. “My boss found my LinkedIn profile and thought that my work was great and sent me an email about their company and what they were about. I visited their office and enjoyed how young and energetic the office was and decided to accept their job offer.”

The atmosphere and culture at the Photomadic office has provided Sedeno with many great memories already.

“One day after work we went to Sandbar [Cantina and Grill] to celebrate [a colleague] Dave’s birthday,” Sedeno said. “We played volleyball and bonded for about 2 hours and it was a great day. The other night we shot a promo video at a brewery in Dallas and everyone had a great time. It was fun to see everyone get even more comfortable and I felt like I was a part of the office crew.”

Many of the skills that Sedeno has learned in his graphic design and creative advertising courses have come in handy during his internship. He has learned many new skills as well.

Sedeno with his boss at Photomadic.

“Although I had a lot of design experience before my class, Intro to Graphic Design has really taught me about how to apply design principles and organize my projects better,” Sedeno said. “It’s really nice to take the design rules I am learning in class and applying then almost directly to what I am doing at my internship. [My internship] has expanded my knowledge of Photoshop tremendously and they have given me time to learn more Adobe programs, which is something I never thought I would have the chance to do.”

After graduation, Sedeno hopes to have a career as an Art Director in the advertising industry. His work experience and school training should help him to achieve this goal.

“My career is going to be as an Art Director in the Advertising industry so having any extra design experience is great,” Sedeno said. “I love being able to expand my knowledge on the programs that I will be using for the rest of my career. I even have my boss as a resource for how I should make my website look and what people in the design side of the world expect things to look like and what matters when they want to hire you.”

Although this was not a typical internship experience, from the application process to the job, Sedeno has had an incredible experience so far.

“I was very skeptical about taking this internship because I had never been approached about working in a place that I had never heard about,” Sedeno said. “But I took a chance, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I have learned a lot and built some great relationships. I have grown a lot as a designer and I am able to make money while gaining all these experiences. I can’t wait to see what else I gain from the rest of these experiences.”

TAI Hosts Portfolio Night for Creative Advertising Students

Attendees at the event.

Wednesday, December 7, TAI hosted a Portfolio Night & Exhibition to display the work of creative advertising majors in both Concepting and Advanced Portfolio classes. The event was held in SMU’s Owen Arts Center and was attended by over 100 people. The night started off with an opening reception and exhibition viewing followed by a portfolio review.

During the portfolio review, DFW-area industry professionals from over 15 agencies reviewed the students’ creative work. Industry reviewers at the event included Amanda Fowler, The Richards Group; Randall Kenworthy, TM; Gus Granger, 70kft; Jason Shipp, Moroch; Kevin Sutton, Moroch; Matt Lindner, Moroch; Zack Ward, Johnson & Sekin; Kent Johnson, Johnson & Sekin; David Wilgus, The Launch Agency; Anna Lee Doughtie, TracyLocke; Arturo Lee, Dieste; Jose Benitez, Dieste; Raul Mendez, Dieste; Greg Hunter, Firehouse; Michelle Sensale, The Richards Group; Abraham Campillo, The Richards Group; Rob Wilson, Illustrator / Designer; Alan Lidji, Lidji Design Office; Keisha Whaley, LDWWgroup; Jim Sykora, Willow St. Agency; Larry Johannes, Willow St. Agency; Mallory Massa, 3 Headed Monster; Blake Cleavenger, 3 Headed Monster; Travis Hanson, 3 Headed Monster; Ken Koester, KoesterDesign; Ky Lewis, Infinite Agency; Jordan Spencer, Infinite Agency.

Some of the work featured at the event.

“The most common thing I heard from our reviewers over the course of the night was that the work was really strong and only seemed to be getting better and better,” TAI Lecturer and Creative Professor Mark Allen said. “After seeing the work in the exhibition and the portfolio review, I had several agencies ask for recommendations for internships and full-time creative positions. My favorite thing about the whole event is getting to watch the faces of my students light up as they finally get to see their work displayed in an art gallery full of creative professionals who are visibly impressed with what’s on the wall—this is the moment when they understand why I push them so hard; why all the late nights and the seemingly endless rounds of changes are worth it.”

Several of the reviewers were also SMU and TAI alums, which provides students with a familiar perspective and encouragement about where they could be in the future. It also serves as a special experience for the alums themselves.

“Getting a chance to sit on the other side of the SMU portfolio review was quite an experience,” TAI alum and Art Director at Dieste Arturo Lee (MA ’14) said. “Seems like it was only yesterday I was having my book evaluated. The only thing that has changed since then is the level of talent, which [has] gone up exponentially. Can’t wait to see what next semester’s students are able to come up with.”

At the end of the night, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, Willie Baronet, and Mark Allen presented awards to students who had particularly positive reviews and creative work. The student awards include:

Best Concept – Tiffany Giraudon & Caroline Moss, Bumble

Best Art Direction – Helen Rieger & Tiffany Giraudon, Hypnotic Donuts (campaign) and Morgan Hoff & Caroline Moss, Converse Chuck II Poster (single)

Best Copywriting – Nicki Fletcher & Jennifer Nelson, Lotrimin

Best Graphic Design (TIE) – Sam Butz (Cookie Cottage, Zero Gravity and personal branding projects) and Tanner Thompson (Hotel California and NASA Interplanetary Missions posters)

Best Video/Commercial – Tanner Thompson & Sofie Rosell, Anonymous

Best Digital/Non-traditional – Laura Walsh & Christina Skertchly, 1-800-GOT-JUNK App

Best Overall – Tanner Thompson & Morgan Hoff, Dallas Grilled Cheese, Co.

Students Morgan Hoff and Tanner Thompson with their awards.

“It was really rewarding to see all of the student’s hard work being shown off at Portfolio Night,” TAI creative advertising student Morgan Hoff said. “I couldn’t believe how many people came to see our work! It was also a great way to show my friends and family what I’m passionate about. The feedback I received from industry professionals was really valuable too, because it helps me improve my work and helps me understand what agencies are looking for when they are reviewing portfolios. Overall, it was a really exciting event.”

TAI Alum Marissa Lopez (’16) Shares How Undergraduate Experiences Influenced Her Career Path

Recent TAI graduate Marissa Lopez (’16) is now working as a Junior Art Director at BBDO in New York. Lopez has quite an impressive resume, participating in both the NSAC Ad Team and AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student (MPMS) program along with a variety of internships during her undergraduate career. Every unique experience that she had in college prepared her for the career she has now.

Marissa Lopez ('16)
Marissa Lopez (’16)

Lopez took advantage of all the internship opportunities she could. She had three advertising internships during her college career, at both large and small advertising agencies and directly for a brand. Working for such different companies allowed Lopez to get an idea of her ideal workplace.

“The summer before my Senior year was when I had my first advertising agency experience,” Lopez said. “I was an art director intern at Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency located in Dallas. I had the opportunity to work on Cricket Wireless, LaLa Yogurt, and AT&T accounts. When I returned to school in the fall I started an internship at Southwest Airlines as a digital marketing and design intern. I took this opportunity because I was interested in seeing the difference between advertising at an agency versus in-house. At Southwest I got to focus on how print translates into the digital sphere and website design. In the Spring of my senior year I worked at a smaller, boutique agency called Willow St. located in Deep Ellum. It was a great experience and I learned so much. The perk of a small agency at an intern level is the one-on-one time you get with industry professionals. During my time at Willow St. I designed packaging, a website and was constantly producing social media content for various brands. I think working at a smaller agency while still in college helped me to really focus in on my graphic design skills.”

All of these internship opportunities taught her some very important lessons that helped prepare her for her job today. While each taught her different skills and lessons, she took away several pieces of advice that can be applied to all internship experiences.

“Some of the most important things my internships taught me were how important work environment/company culture is, time management, and how to successfully handle direction and criticism,” Lopez said. “Once you set foot in the advertising industry you’ll be quick to notice that no one is going to hold your hand. It’s sink or swim, and you have to self-motivate and even fake it till you make it at times. The sooner you can get exposed to that, the better.”

Along with internships, Lopez had the opportunity to be a member of SMU’s NSAC Ad Team. She served as both a creative and a presenter on the team, giving her first hand experience in campaign design and pitching a campaign.

“My experience on the NSAC Ad Team was one of the most rewarding,” Lopez said. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to work with people regardless of what you do or where you’re working. Being able to be a ‘team-player’ is so cliché but it’s the truth. You want people to want to work with you. It’s how you get your hands on the best accounts and work. Ad Team is the closest experience you get to what working on a campaign at a professional level is like, and I’m so lucky to have gotten that exposure. I walked away with so much more confidence as a presenter, and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to put egos aside, be flexible and successfully work with others.”

Once starting her job at BBDO, Lopez quickly learned that while the campaigns she worked on in school have the same elements as campaigns at work, they also differ in many ways.

“In college when you’re working on campaigns for class or Ad Team, you have more creative freedom than you probably ever will again,” Lopez said. “Take advantage of that. The campaigns I’ve worked on at BBDO have a lot in common to Ad Team; there’s a brief, a target, a budget, a team you work with, and some type of deliverables. The biggest difference is the turnaround is not a few months, but instead a week, maybe if you’re lucky two.”

Lopez at MPMS awards.
Lopez at MPMS recognition.

While all of the previous experiences helped her gain skills and lessons for working at an advertising agency, Lopez attributes her current job to AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program.

“MPMS is what got my foot in the door at BBDO,” Lopez said. “It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I was very honored to be given the award. It was so refreshing to see how diversity plays a role in the industry and how it is becoming such a large part of it. I was very fortunate to meet a BBDO recruiter that saw my potential at the awards program. Exposure and networking is so crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity, contest, award show etc. You never know who you will meet.”

After graduation, Lopez moved to New York to start her internship with BBDO. Soon after, she knew that she wanted to work there full-time, so she worked extremely hard to prove that she deserved the position.

Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.
Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.

“The internship was a wonderful experience, and I fell in love with the BBDO company culture and everyone I was working with,” Lopez said. “All of the creatives and the creative work I was surrounded by was extremely inspiring and I knew right away that I wanted to stay past summer and get hired on full-time. I did anything and everything over the course of the summer to prove that I deserved to stay. I worked late hours, weekends, and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity. After 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director on the PepsiCo account and have been hard at work ever since.”

Lopez has used the skills she learned in her advertising and graphic design courses at SMU to achieve the success she has today.

“So much of what I learned in my advertising classes at SMU have translated and helped me in my job now,” Lopez said. “Being able to share and talk about your work is probably the most important one. You have to be able to believe in your ideas and get others to as well. At BBDO there are many people your work has to go through before it actually reaches the client, so you’ve got to be able to pitch and talk about it with confidence. All of the Graphic Design and Portfolio classes that required me to present and create presentations to show my work have all helped me so much today.”

Throughout her experiences, Lopez learned the importance of networking and being able to set yourself apart from others. She hopes that her advice can help current students achieve their goals as well.

“Network and meet as many people in the industry as you can,” Lopez said. “Most people are willing to help and share advice. Also, find a strength that sets you apart from others. It doesn’t even have to be a skill; maybe it’s a personality trait. Everyone is talented and creative, but find that passion or trait that’s unique to you and showcase it in your work, portfolio, or resume. People like to see passion. Also, just be nice. Working hard and being kind and genuine will actually get you places!”

TAI Alum Jenny Lanier (’11) Featured in 2016 Communication Arts Advertising Annual

TAI Alum (’11) Jenny Lanier has had a very successful career since her graduation from SMU. In her three years as an Art Director at Moroch, Lanier accomplished a lot, working with clients like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Mattress Giant. Recently, Lanier was featured in the 2016 Communications Arts Advertising Annual.

“I was featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual for a billboard for McDonald’s,” Lanier said. “The assignment was to push $1 beverages in markets during the summer. Our client wanted something more special. My team and I thought it would be interesting to have a temperature gauge on the billboard to say that each degree of heat is just another reason to grab a drink at McDonald’s.”

One shot of the McDonald's billboard featured in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual.
One shot of the McDonald’s billboard featured in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual. Photo credit: CA Advertising Annual

To be featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual is a very special honor for former advertising students. TAI Creative Advertising Professor Mark Allen, also Lanier’s former professor, refers to it as “the golden ring” for creatives.

“It’s special [to me] because it was a publication I frequently referred to as a student,” Lanier said. “CA Annuals were required books for all of our advertising classes. I remember we would go through and flag the campaigns that resonated with us – ones that we wish we had thought of. To think a student might do that with the project I worked on makes me smile.”

This year, Lanier and her team at Moroch won a gold ADDY in the OOH & Ambient category for their McDonald’s “Refresh” campaign. Lanier also won a silver ADDY in 2014 for an Interactive Web Banner for McDonald’s called “Up and At ‘Em.”

“Everyone loves to be told ‘good job,’ especially when you work really hard,” Lanier said. “These awards are just a little pat on the back that let you know you’re on the right track. I was always proud of my peers for getting published or winning awards. It feels good to experience those honors firsthand.”

Jenny Lanier ('11)
Jenny Lanier (’11)

Lanier attributes a lot of her career success to her time in the creative department at TAI, from the student and faculty connections she made to the practical skills she carried into her career.

“I felt incredibly lucky to be under the tutelage of two amazing professors in the creative department: Mark Allen and Glenn Griffin,” Lanier said. “To say they changed my life is an understatement. When I was in the program, they inspired all of us to want to be great while empowering us to get there ourselves. More practically speaking, the rigor of the program helped prepare me to meet deadlines and practice professionalism with my clients. I also met many talented students who have remained very close friends. Having a tight network of alums is invaluable.”

Currently, Lanier is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. She’s recently accepted an offer to be a Software Designer at IBM in Austin, which she will be starting next summer.

“It’s an exciting time to work in technology,” Lanier said. “I’m eager for all of the opportunities that await me at IBM. My goals for my career have always been to keep learning, work hard, and be proud of myself at the end of each day. I do see myself teaching somewhere down the line. I remember SMU and SCAD professors who made a huge impact on my life. Having a positive influence on other potential students would be extremely gratifying.”

Throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and career experiences, Lanier has learned valuable lessons that she hopes to impart on people who are in the same position she was once in.

“To the creative track students: take advantage of being in Professor Allen’s class,” Lanier said. “It is rare to find someone who not only cares about your academic development, but also cares about you as an individual. Professor Allen is brilliant and I felt like I became smarter just by breathing the same air as he did! So listen to him. To everyone [all students]: Make good connections with both your classmates and professors. Perform in ways that make people want to be on your team. I think you can get a lot of opportunities by being a kind, honest, and hardworking person. Employers will invest in your education and training if they want to work with you.”

For anyone, student or not, looking for a job or trying to establish a name for themselves, Lanier suggests using social media to help build your personal brand.

“On a more tangible level, use your social media presence as a way to show your personality,” Lanier said. “People will comb the depths of the Internet to look you up, so make sure what you say reflects you accurately. If you love photography, showcase your talents on Instagram. If you fancy yourself a comedian, fill your Twitter with shareable one-liners. There are a lot of ways you can convey your personality online, so take advantage of what’s most appropriate for you. An interviewer once brought up one of my Tweets in a meeting because he thought it was really funny. It sounds silly, but it isn’t. Take your personal brand seriously because you always have an audience.”

TAI Alum Sarah Erickson Returns as Guest Speaker in Professor Mendenhall’s Typography Course

Name lecturing in Professor Mendenhall's Typography course.
Sarah Erickson lecturing about brush lettering techniques in Professor Mendenhall’s Typography course.

Thursday, November 3, TAI Creative Advertising and Graphic Design Professor Cheryl Mendenhall had a guest speaker lecture in her Typography course. The speaker was TAI Alum Sarah Erickson (’15), who is a designer for Doodle Dog Creative and owner of and designer for Sarah Ann Design. Erickson specializes in Calligraphy and lectured the students about the ins and outs of Calligraphy in regards to Typography.

Professor Mendenhall’s students were fascinated by Erickson’s lecture, and it is always exciting for professors to have former students come back, especially to lecture on their career and area of expertise.

“Sarah has amazing lettering skills!” Professor Mendenhall said. “It was great to have her back on campus and show us how she’s using these skills in her work and to teach us a few lettering techniques.”

Sample of work by Erickson for Sarah Ann Design. Photo Credit: Sarah Ann Design
Sample of work by Erickson for Sarah Ann Design. Photo Credit: Sarah Ann Design

TAI professors love to have guest speakers lecture in their classes to provide students with a different perspective from someone currently in the industry.

TAI Professor Willie Baronet’s Documentary “Signs of Humanity” Showing in Two Film Festivals

Some of the many homeless signs collected by Professor Baronet
Some of the many homeless signs collected by Professor Baronet

TAI Creative Advertising Professor Willie Baronet has been purchasing and collecting homeless signs from people across the country since 1993. Over the last twenty-three years he has collected over 1,000 signs. For years, Professor Baronet has displayed these homeless signs in exhibits all across the country in his art project “WE ARE ALL HOMELESS.” This past April, his project was turned into a documentary following Professor Baronet’s 31-day cross-country trip buying homeless signs in 24 cities.

The documentary, “Signs of Humanity,” was released in April, and has since been accepted into several film festivals across the country, including the 2016 Dallas International Film Festival and the Chain Film Festival. The film will be playing at the UNAFF 2016 International Documentary Film Festival in San Francisco on Thursday, October 27, and the Unspoken Human Rights Film Festival in Utica, New York on Friday, October 28.

Professor Baronet interviewing for "Signs of Humanity"
One of the interviews from “Signs of Humanity”

Although Professor Baronet has been collecting signs for over twenty years, this was the first time he had done something so concentrated.

“[The documentary] was the first time I did such in depth interviews with folks on the street,” Professor Baronet said. “And the media attention from the trip helped to make it clear how many people struggle with what to do when they see someone with a sign, and often have mixed feelings about what to do. I began to realize this project helped some people voice those concerns and have conversations they might not otherwise have.”

“Signs of Humanity” has given Professor Baronet an amazing platform to voice the issue of homelessness and find a way to help. In making the film, Professor Baronet and the other filmmakers partnered with many organizations that help homeless people.

Help USA sponsored the exhibit in New York at the end of the documentary,” Professor Baronet said. “They also sponsored exhibits at both political conventions this summer in Cleveland and Philly. Maria Cuomo Cole, the chairman of Help USA, is also an activist and filmmaker and has been a big supporter of this project. The Bridge has also been a big supporter, and I also spoke at their annual fundraiser in 2015. They helped sponsor events around our premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival as well. I’ve also partnered with Stewpot and the Housing Crisis Center on projects in the past. All of these organizations are doing great work for the homeless.”

Although Professor Baronet didn’t document many of his early encounters purchasing homeless signs, he remembers quite a few people that have stuck out to him over the years.

Michael from Omaha and Professor Baronet taking a selfie
Michael from Omaha and Professor Baronet taking a selfie

“There was a woman who sold me a sign that her late husband had made,” Professor Baronet said. “There was a man in Austin who wanted to talk about art and his relationship with his father. Michael in Omaha was a veteran missing one leg, who I had a powerful connection to. Cheryl in Detroit is the only person so happy that I was buying her sign that she reached in the car and hugged my neck. Elli in Baltimore was only 17; she was Romanian and spoke five languages, so full of promise and doing what she could to take care of her family.”

One person in particular Professor Baronet has kept in contact with is a man named Eddie who he met in Philadelphia.

“Eddie had a sign that said ‘What if God occasionally visits Earth disguised as a homeless person panhandling to see how charitable we are. Completely hypothetical of course.’” Professor Baronet said. “Eddie and I have become friends, and I’ve reconnected with him twice in Philly. He is a former heroin addict, and now is working and sponsoring others in AA. He and I spoke together on a panel at the opening of a ‘WE ARE ALL HOMELESS’ exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania in September of 2016.”

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-9-33-21-pm
One of the women featured in “Signs of Humanity”

Over his years of collecting homeless signs, Professor Baronet has gained a new perspective on the meaning of “home.”

“I’ve gotten a deeper understanding about what ‘home’ means, to me and to others,” Professor Baronet said. “I’ve learned that we all share many of the pains and privileges of the human experience. Holding a sign on the street is simply asking for help, something I’ve had to do many times in the course of my life. And I’m lucky to have friends and family as a safety net when I need something.”

Professor Baronet hopes his documentary can take away some of the preconceived notions surrounding the homeless.

“It can be easy to put people in boxes based on judgments we may make,” Professor Baronet said. “Even waving and smiling and seeing the humanity in each other can change the dynamic between the housed and those on the streets.”

TAI Student Tanner Thompson Shares Experience Interning at The Richards Group

Being an advertising student in Dallas, one tends to hear about local agencies a lot. Luckily Dallas is full of great agencies, many of which offer intern positions that provide valuable real world experience. This summer, TAI Creative student Tanner Thompson had the opportunity to work as an Art Director Intern at The Richards Group.

As with most jobs, Thompson applied online, sent in his resume and portfolio, had a phone interview, and finally an in-person interview, where he was offered the job. But Thompson soon learned that this position was not like any other job.

Thompson and a group of interns.
Thompson and a group of interns.

“What’s so fun about being in advertising is that there isn’t a ‘typical day on the job,’” Thompson said. “Every day you get to do something different. I know that’s a cop out though, so I will say that a lot of my time was spent concepting ideas for campaigns, ads, layouts, website content, and the like, as well as doing tons of art direction and layouts for a bunch of different brands.”

Thompson worked on many different brands throughout his internship, including Chick Fil A, The Home Depot, Eyeglass World/Oakley, KeyBank, The Main Event, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Schwab Advisor Services, AAA and Shamrock Farms. But his main clients were TXU Energy and South University.

“My favorite client to work on was Chick Fil A,” Thompson said. “The ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ cows have social media pages, and my copywriter and I came up with all the stuff the cows posted for the month of August, which was a ton of fun. I also go to do some in-house work for the agency. I designed the Snapchat Geofiler for the entire agency, which was a blast.”

As much fun as Thompson’s client work was, his favorite memory involved a task given to Thompson and six other interns finding a creative way to remind fellow employees to get their food out of the fridge on Fridays. They came up with a concept of someone in a giant sandwich costume, called “The Stanwhich” walking around the agency to remind everyone to get their food.

Thompson and other interns walking around with "The Stanwich."
Thompson and other interns walking around with “The Stanwich.”

“We needed to get Stan’s permission to not only let us have a giant sandwich walk around the office every Friday which, as you could imagine, may be a bit distracting, but we also had to get his permission to use his likeness with the name ‘The Stanwich.’” Thompson said. “This meant we [had] to present our idea to Stan. No intern groups had ever presented creative work directly to Stan before, and as honored as we all were, we were also pretty nervous. The full-timers that were helping us with the project were super pumped that we would get to present to Stan, but also warned us that he may kill one or two aspects of the idea. We went into the presentation fully expecting to come out with a few bumps and bruises, but instead he ended up loving our entire idea and we got the ‘go ahead.’ The moment right after Stan walked out of the room, we all stood there for a second, silent, and then just exploded with happiness. Nobody could believe that we had just gotten the Stan Richards to let us have a sandwich walk around the office on a weekly basis. Everybody was jumping around, high-fiving and just laughing like crazy. The stress of the presentation was gone, and it couldn’t have gone better!”

Through all of these incredible opportunities, Thompson learned valuable lessons about The Richards Group, advertising, and working as an intern.

“I learned more than I could possibly [share], but I’ll try and hit the highlights,” Thompson said. “Unless someone asks, you’re not an intern. Say yes to everything. Nobody wants you to fail, so don’t. Outdoor billboards should never have more than eight words on them. ‘Make the logo bigger.’ Don’t overuse the intern excuse, but don’t underuse it either. Presentations are only scary if you’re unprepared. People are always late to meetings; that doesn’t mean you can be too. Stan Richards is the man. Make friends with everyone. Don’t forget your key card; everyone likes to laugh at the intern stuck in the stairwell.”

Thompson with another group of interns.
Thompson with another group of interns.

As Thompson’s internship provided him with many valuable takeaways, the most important thing he learned was about his future.

“[This internship] showed me that I’m on the right path,” Thompson said. “I had a blast going to work everyday this summer. In part because of the people, as well as the work.”

TAI Student Samantha Butz Shares Experience Interning with Weller Media Agency in NYC

Many people in the advertising industry will never experience being a part of creating the new culture at a brand new agency or location. But this summer, TAI Creative student Samantha Butz had this opportunity while interning for Weller Media Agency at their new office in New York City.

One of the walls inside the New York office at Weller Media Agency.
One of the walls inside the New York office at Weller Media Agency.

Weller Media Agency is a digital creative agency headquartered in London that focuses on “connecting brands, talent and audiences”. A year ago, they crossed the pond and opened a new office in New York City (NYC). The opportunity to work alongside major musicians and record labels while simultaneously building and agency created a unique experience for Butz.

“I initially contacted the London office because my other advertising friend had interned with them through SMU the previous summer,” Butz said. “[But] since I couldn’t get a work visa, they offered me a position at their NYC office.”

Butz was hired as a creative intern, and worked with the digital team on different musician’s collateral. Her clients included BØRNS, Zella Day, Vevo, and several other artists.

“The days would fluctuate depending on what was happening in the client’s lives,” Butz said, “so, if one musician was planning on releasing a single, we would focus on that client for the majority of the day to create content for them. Content could be anything from a promotional clip of their music video, a gif from a picture of them, or a poster design from a concert picture. My favorite memory was when my design was chosen for BØRNS’ social media campaign. It was crazy to see my designs on his Facebook page!”

Because the NYC office is so new, there were usually only six people working there on a given day. But this provided Butz the unique opportunity to work directly with the Digital Creative Designer, Senior Digital Strategist, and Head of Digital Marketing and Communications. She also got to help out the London office, working with the Senior Designer and Director of Creative Services in the UK.

Butz enjoying New York City.
Butz enjoying New York City.

“This internship was a great experience for me because it gave me an opportunity to explore a different segment of the industry,” Butz said. “Almost all of my projects were digitally driven which is something I hadn’t had a lot of previous experience with. The internship affirmed that I am interested in a creative career with clients that I’m passionate about.”

Throughout her internship, Butz worked directly on many client projects. She learned a lot about working with various types of clients, how a small but growing agency operates, and how to apply skills she’s developed through her advertising classes.

“I learned a lot of technical skills while also learning a lot about client-designer relationships,” Butz said. “Since a lot of our clients were musicians, they were very particular about all aspects of their band or identity. I had to learn how to absorb a brand’s aesthetic in my designs yet produce new and creative content. The creative skills [I learned in my advertising classes], ideation, brainstorming, concepting, and executing, all came into play during my internship.”

Butz in the Ice Cream Museum in New York.
Butz in the Ice Cream Museum in New York.

Butz also gained valuable life experience, learning what it’s like to live in a big city by herself for an extended period of time.

“More than anything, I learned a ton by just living in New York City by myself for a summer!” Butz said. “It’s a totally different lifestyle than in Dallas, or any other place I’ve visited, and I think it’s a great learning experience for anyone. One of my favorite experiences of the summer was being able to visit the Museum of Ice Cream, the art project that was open for a month. Something I loved about NY was the spontaneity and the ideas there; there are so many people with so many different and amazing ideas, you’re constantly seeing or learning something new every day.”

TAI Student Idara Akpan Shares Experience Interning With Razorfish Health

Akpan in the Razorfish Health Office.
Akpan in the Razorfish Health Office.

Many advertising students dream of working in Chicago or New York City, but competition is fierce and many never get the opportunity. This summer TAI Creative Advertising student Idara Akpan took the chance and applied to work in New York City as an intern for Razorfish Health, part of the Publicis Health network.

Akpan applied online, and was then asked to conduct a video interview. The company sent her questions, and she answered them in a short video. She then went through two rounds of phone interviews, including a final interview with the Senior Creative Director.

Working as a copywriting intern, Akpan had the opportunity to participate hands-on on several client projects.

“I created taglines, concepts, and ideas for the Purdue [Pharma] franchise,” Akpan said. “I created guidelines to help with consistency between brands in the Purdue franchise, created and concepted Razorfish Health in-house promotion, and participated in a Publicis Health internship-wide project to create a campaign, Apple Watch app, and phone app for a seasonal allergy OTC product.”

Akpan and a team of fellow interns.
Akpan (far right) and a team of fellow interns.

A typical day on the job included a status meeting regarding all the clients, in which people from the account, strategy, tech, and creative departments would all give updates. Then Akpan would check in with her manager to start working on taglines, brainstorm, or produce copy for the Purdue franchise websites.

“I mostly worked with the creative team, both art directors and other writers,” Akpan said. “I also worked with other interns around the Publicis Healthcare Group Communications network. My favorite memory was staying late for a brainstorming session. It was great to be swapping different ideas next to the Group Creative Director!”

Brainstorming became a big part of Akpan’s internship, and she attributes her brainstorming skills to her advertising classes.

Akpan in the streets of New York City.

“[The biggest skill that I had going into the internship was knowing how to] brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!” Akpan said. “No idea is a bad idea. Put everything – and I mean everything – on the table.”

Her internship also provided a glimpse into what a career in creative advertising is like.

“The internship gave me a better insight on a different side of the industry,” Akpan said. “It was awesome to be in NYC and truly see how each of the departments work together to reach their goal. It also showed me how competitive it is to be a creative in NYC! There are so many creatives, you have to work extra hard to stand out.”

TAI Student Jackson Foley Shares His Experience Interning at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Rarely do students get the chance to work everyday on the set of one of their favorite television shows. But this summer TAI Creative Advertising student Jackson Foley had that opportunity. Foley worked as a Production Intern at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Like many other internships, Foley applied for this position online, through the CBS intern portal. Once he was chosen as a possible candidate for the job, he flew up to New York twice to interview.

“I learned in the process when applying for any job in creative production,” Foley said, “you will always be told when [and] if you got the job on the very last possible day they can tell you. In my case, that was the beginning of May, which gave me two weeks to find a place to live and move everything up there.”

Foley on the set of "The Late Show"
Foley on the set of “The Late Show”

A typical day on the job, if there really was one, involved arriving at the studio at 9am to coordinate with productions managers on the schedule for the day and prepare all the necessary papers and memos for the morning product meeting. After the meeting, Foley would work as a talent assistant or help with a digital shoot for the cold-open until 2pm. Then he would coordinate the progress of the script and print a finalized version for the rehearsal, along with a shot list. He would then run the shot lists to each camera and production staff, and deliver scripts to Stephen Colbert and the executive producers. At 3pm, he would watch rehearsal and then work on production tasks until 4pm, when he would run scripts again—now with the live audience in the theater. Foley would watch the show to make sure nothing in the script was incorrect or troublesome, and then work on digital shoots until 9pm.

“I worked predominately with the production side of the show, so stage managers, production coordinators, show runners and producers,” Foley said. “[Essentially] if the writers are the brain of a TV show, the script manager/runner is the nervous system that delivers the messages to each person that works on the show. Each day I mainly worked as a script manager or digital production assistant.”

Aside from running the scripts every day, Foley had a few more personal interactions with Stephen Colbert throughout the internship.

Foley standing in for a sketch on the show.
Foley standing in for a sketch on the show.

“I was a stand in for a sketch between Stephen and Bryan Cranston, where they acted like villains from a 1920s movie,” Foley said, “and got to speak with him briefly while the set was being finalized. At the end of the internship, he held a ‘seminar’ in a small room for around an hour where we could ask him anything we wanted to know, and he was honestly one of the smartest yet nicest people I’ve ever had the privilege to talk to.”

Foley’s favorite memories from his internship include special live shows “The Late Show” did during both political conventions this summer. Through this internship he realized something very important about his future career aspirations.

“Getting to see how each night came together was extremely satisfying,” Foley said. “From getting to see the writers bring in an actor look-alike for Melania Trump for the Republican Convention, to meeting and talking with John Stewart during the Democratic Convention. Working with ‘The Late [Show]’ really helped me discover my love for working at a place where each day is something entirely different from the day before, as well as how much I want to work in an industry that makes content people can laugh at and ultimately connect with.”

Foley attributes a lot of his internship success to skills he learned in his Advertising courses.

“Understanding how media buying and partnerships work was an incredibly helpful skill for helping set up a partnership between the show and Giphy,” Foley said. “Also, knowing how to layout information in an easy-to-understand [and] aesthetically pleasing way helped me get noticed while making posters/documents internally for the show, which led to a couple of conversations that got me more important [and] interesting jobs.”

Foley also learned some incredibly important lessons that serve as good advice to anyone working in a new position.

Foley with his fellow interns at "The Late Show"
Foley with his fellow interns at “The Late Show”

“In all honesty, what I learned the most from the internship is to always be up for ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting’ jobs,” Foley said. “I was one of fourteen interns, half of which went to Ivy League schools, the other half being those with actual production experience, and the best way I became noticed was by doing the tasks that most didn’t clamor to have. Through that, I was given more and more jobs with increased importance, like costume runs or script deliveries, and eventually served as an interim writer’s assistant during the Live Shows. To make it short: Want to be noticed in a pool of talented [and] interesting people? Be proactive, even when you don’t have to be.”