• Molly Shilling

How Quarantine Creates Opportunity

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

I knew that I would have to move out of Ohio. Although Cincinnati has the occasional film crew move in to use our vintage streets as the backdrop for a 20s era New York, there are simply no production companies or studios operating in the area.

I had my first real production job when I was a sophomore. It was an unpaid internship for Park Slope Productions, a studio known for Alaskan Bush People on the Discovery Network. The opportunity itself was incredible, but it meant that I had to somehow get myself from Cincinnati to New York and find housing that was cheap, and find an actual paying job to support myself. Somehow, I made it work.

I worked three days a week and used my free time to explore the city, take online classes, and network within the industry. Or, I tried to. I often found myself wandering around 30 Rockefeller Plaza, waiting for NBC Pages to ambush with my questions. How do you get this job? Is it at glamorous as it looks? Do you know Tina Fey?

I never would have guessed that less than a year later, I would be interning for NBC in Los Angeles. I learned how to animate and edit videos in their marketing department. I was tasked with finding clips from my favorite television shows and turning them into advertisements that are seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

My favorite clip that I helped to create is the video below of William Jackson Harper performing his character's rap. Check it out!

I also never expected that after two and a half months of work, I would have to return to Ohio after a global pandemic upset the world.

I’m ashamed to say that for weeks, I moped around the house feeling hopeless. I whined about my misfortune. I cried over my sudden departure from the life I had worked so hard to create.

I was pathetic.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about Zoom meetings makes me more nervous than any in-person meeting could. My palms sweat. I have no idea where to look. My voice stutters.

But without Zoom, I could never have interned during the Fall 2020 school year.

When companies went virtual, a new opportunity was created for students like me. Our physical locations no longer mattered.

I applied for every virtual internship that I could find and eventually earned the role of Assistant Producer Intern for a production company out of New Jersey. Then, I began working for CommAgency, a marketing company that operates at Penn State. Soon after beginning the school year, I was contacted by a friend to help out as a reader for a screenwriting competition.

Suddenly, I wasn’t just working on one line on my resume, but three. And although COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives, it does offer unique opportunities for growth.

The world is online and more accessible than ever. I’ve been using Zoom and Linkedin to my advantage to reach out and learn from my peers in the entertainment industry. And because of this horrible situation, people are jumping up to help me and to offer me advice for the future.

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." -Albert Einstein

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