Media Tech Internships: Hack Studios, AISD.Tv, and The Zebra

in ARS News/Showcase by

The week of February 10th-14th the junior class of 2021 was out interning at different internships around Austin relating to each students’ pathway. Each student throughout the week would write a reflection on their day at their internship. These are some of the excerpts from the media tech students’ reflections on their internships. 

 

Arden Price and Abrianna Dement, The Zebra

For Arden and Abrey’s internship, they both interned at The Zebra, which is an insurance company based in Austin. Over the course of the internship, the interns at The Zebra worked on creating a landing page for The Zebra’s new project. 

 

Arden 

Monday 10th, The Zebra

Today I was the first person to arrive at my internship site, so I was kind of nervous waiting there by myself, but by the time everyone else showed up, I didn’t feel nervous anymore and I was fine the rest of the day. All the mentors at the Zebra were really nice and helpful and I was almost surprised because I thought we would have to immediately jump into work and learn everything, but they did a really good job easing us in. Today was mostly preparing for the project we would be working on this week. In the morning we got a tour of the office and listened to different presentations, then in the afternoon we had a ‘sprint’ where we worked on developing an idea for our product. We learned a lot about the company and its goals, as well as the goal of our project so we could understand what we were supposed to be doing. We chose which roles we wanted, and I chose Project Manager for the Marketing Strategy Team (which is the position I wanted). We are working on creating the landing page and marketing strategy for a new product they are hoping to launch. I’m mostly excited to jump into the real project work tomorrow and work closer with our mentors and get to work with the data and software we need. I hope to be able to create a schedule for my team quickly when I get in tomorrow since that’s one of my jobs as Project Manager and I think it would help us maximize the limited time we have.

 

Tuesday 11th, The Zebra

Today was a lot more interesting than Monday. Since we got all the information and preparation done yesterday, we were able to jump right into working. We split into our different teams and starting working in our respective projects. Our main mentor Dan was gone for today, but he left us with a template to fill out. We spent most of our morning filling that out. It led us through thinking about our target audience and developing an ad campaign that would most effectively reach that audience. We landed on a campaign based around social media, and trying to reach new demographics as well as ones that already know the Zebra brand. We divided our project into the three main parts and starting working on two of them. The first part involved creating a new instagram page for the company and the second part involved making posts for the company’s existing instagram and twitter. We created the new instagram page and starting collecting photos and stories from employees to post on it, and then we finished eight example posts for the company’s existing social media. While working on these parts we decided to sit out in the common area rather than in the office we were in. It let us feel more relaxed. We also got to talk to a lot of employees when looking for stories to share on social media and I learned a lot about the company culture by doing so. Tomorrow I want to post the pictures we got and then start working on our third part (creating YouTube ads).

 

Friday 14th, The Zebra

On the last day I came in really tired since I had to babysit the night before, but it was okay since we didn’t have much left to do. Hannah finished the storyboards at home so all we had to do that morning was practice our presentation. We went over it together a few times in front of some of the people from the other team and made our last edits based on that. After that we practiced a little with the microphones and then took a break since there was nothing left to do. We talked to some of our mentors and played ping pong while we waited for lunch to be delivered which was really nice so we could calm our nerves before presenting. We ate lunch and then started our presentation after all the ARS staff arrived. The landing page team went first and then us. Our presentation was streamed live so other people could watch which was slightly intimidating, but having the ARS staff the actually made me feel slightly less intimidated. When we finished our presentation, our mentors came up to congratulate us and then the surprised us each with a check for $500 for our work that week. I still don’t really believe it, but I’m very thankful for it, not just for the check but for the whole experience there. They were extremely kind and helpful to us and I learned a lot from the experience.

 

Abrey

Friday 14th, The Zebra

Today was my last day at The Zebra. I’m honestly going to miss all of my ‘bosses’ here, and the hard work me and my whole group has done to complete this finishing product. We did a lot of work in only a week , to see the outcome so quickly is a bit crazy to me. The environment in the workplace is so calming , and you can tell that people like where they come to work everyday. We had to present our final project to several of the ARS staff and some of the Zebra staff. It was nerve racking at first , but when i started talking and presenting , I felt really nice and proud of all the work me and my teammates completed. After we finished up, some of the Shebras ( women who work at The Zebra) came up front to give us a final goodbye , but then surprised us all with a 500$ check each. It definitely was a surprise, and i had no clue we’d be getting any compensation for our hard work other than a great learning experience, but it turned out we got both. I highly enjoyed working with the members of The Zebra , and have gotten a whole different view on working in tech.

 

Monday 10th, Hack Studios

The morning got off to a shaky start when the rest of my peers went to the wrong location. I am sure you will find a more detailed account on their page, but with the 10-15 minutes that I had alone at the office, I was introduced to many people. Jason, who will be in charge of us for the duration of our internship, Diana who is the boss and a producer, Lucy who interviewed us and is also a producer, and Goldie, who runs animation.

It is at this time that the rest of the interns arrived along with Chase, who is in charge of editing. We received a schedule outlining our internship, which started with the first day of shadowing the employees. We did not do this, we did a quick tour, at which point we were re/introduced the team at Hack and given a tour of the office.

When we got back to the table that we would be working at for the remainder of the day, we almost immediately began to brainstorm ideas for a short using a system that Jason showed us: child, mild, and wild, wherein we come up with three not-necessarily similar ideas that are tame and completely doable if a little boring, solid middling level of interest, and our ideal project respectively. the last of which we had the most fun developing, and the first we didn’t even bother to present at the pitch meeting later that day. At this point, the second woman with whom we interviewed came in: Ashley. As far as I can tell, she is an actress.

During the development process and before the pitch meeting, we began to more fully establish which characters would be featured in our story. This was my favorite part of the day. We accidentally worked too late and missed the designated lunch time so we stopped. Then we to a nearby sandwich place for lunch.

When we got back we spent another hour preparing for the pitch meeting before going in front of the producers and most of the rest of the employees at Hack that we had met so far. I was nervous at the beginning but it was ultimately almost underwhelming and we received a lot of really valuable feedback. We ended up going with our ideal story. Then, while we waited for our space to clear out, we sang Into the Unknown in the kitchen.

We spent the rest of the day Fleshing out the characters and minutia of the plot. This lasted for a little over an hour and then we went home.

I would say that the most challenging aspect of the day was that the man in charge of us: Jason, was very involved to the point of overpowering in the brainstorming process. This was ultimately not an issue as we gradually became more vocal ourselves. I would say that overall, I had a good day and am looking forward to tomorrow.

Lucero Sustaita, Hack Studios

For internship week Lucero interned at Hack Studios a production company based out of Austin. The interns at Hack worked on one main project throughout the week which was to make a narrative film.

Lucero

Friday 14th, Hack Studios 

We got in about an hour early to finish editing this morning and I spent the first four hours of my day in a corner of the Hack Studios attic editing our project to a presentable place. When we had everything cut exactly the way we wanted it and done except for the voice audio, Jason came in and tried to sync the recorded audio to the short. For a reason that I do not understand, this failed and we ended up using the camera’s lesser-but-still functional audio.

After Jason spent about an hour trying to do that and making minor edits to our short, we did any last finishing touches that we could do and got our project to a point where we could at the very least pretend that we actually had a finished product.

The people who came to see our presentation liked the film and had a lot of questions, we answered and then gave them a brief tour of the house.

My Dad came to get me about ten minutes late which gave me the opportunity to chat with Goldie (in Animation) about her job and my dad’s job: patent lawyer, which coincidentally led her to tell me about her need to get in contact with some such person. So now I have her business card, an invitation to contact should I need anything so long as I put her in touch with the world of patent law.

Anabelle Glass, AISD TV

For Anabelle’s internship, she worked at AISD’s TV station and worked on one documentary over the course of the whole week.

Anabelle

Monday, February 10th, AISD TV

Today the group of six that were going to be interning with the AISD community and Communications got split into pairs and separated into different departments. When we first arrived we went over the general project we were going to do in the week we were there. Which is that this week we are going to make a short feature on the new lunch line system that has been added to a few AISD high schools and we will be doing a feature on Ann Richards and how it has changed over the years. After we were introduced to everyone we went on a tour of the PAC and the TV station controls which was my favorite part of the day because it was really interesting to see all the equipment that goes into running a TV station. Following the tour we checked out the equipment we are going to need for our film projects this week, this included a camera, tripod, lavalier microphones, and the memory cards. The equipment we are going to be using this week I am mostly familiar with, but there were a few parts of the camera and the tripod that I hadn’t seen before, but we were able to practice with them a little bit and I feel a little more confident using them. Tomorrow we are interviewing Ms.Waugh for the Ann Richards piece and we might interview a student or teacher. After the interviews, we will also be attending a marketing meeting at the AISD headquarters.

 

Tuesday 11th, AISD TV

Today we started our first project which is a film promo for ARS. So instead of going to our work site today, we stayed at school and interviewed Ms.Waugh, a student, and teacher about how Ann Richards had changed over the years. We also got some shots of the construction of the new school to be used as B-roll for our film. After we got the footage we needed we went to the AISD headquarters to attend a marketing meeting with all departments of the community and communications section of AISD. The meeting was like a round table in that all each department shared something about what they had been working on. Tomorrow we will be at the PAC all day editing our footage from today and hopefully, we will finish our film by the end of the day tomorrow. I am excited to finally get to the editing portion of this project and see it all come together.

 

Think of the most random and forgetful person you know. Anabelle Glass, a freckle-faced junior should pop into your mind. Glass is in the Media Tech Pathway at Ann Richards. You will probably see her hanging out with her friends in front of the library or in a stairway. When Anabelle is not at school or with friends she is cooking some delicious grub or doodling on some scratch paper. Anabelle is the Editor and Chief of the ARS Polaris Press along with Lucy Stagg.

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