A Big Week for Disney, A Fun Week for Katie


Every time I come back to write another one of these blog posts, I have to look back through the photos on my camera roll to remember all of the unique experiences that I’ve had over the past week. It’s gotten to the point in which it’s hard to even distinguish between work experiences and personal experiences, because a lot of things I get to do through work are so exciting and don’t feel like work at all. To keep things organized, though, I’ll continue to sort my blog posts by the most significant aspects of work and play:


One of the coolest hands-on experiences I had most recently was being able to be on set for a promotional shoot for a Disney Channel show called “Sydney to the Max.” Usually when there are shoots happening in my building I am able to go but only able to observe; this time, however, I was actually given the duty of filming one of the angles using a small handheld camera in case the writer/producer needed a different angle or some behind the scenes footage. I was three feet away from the talent at all times, and the two main actresses were super fun to talk to. It was funny because they were acting like I was a person of authority as one of the employees on the shoot, but in reality, I was by far the least experienced person there!

Another great opportunity I had was the chance to talk with Dan Reynolds, the VP of Digital Media at ABC and a Penn State alum. He was someone I had gotten in contact with during the application process for internships in Los Angeles, so it was really nice to meet him in person and pick his brain about the path to his success and his time at Penn State. He gave me some invaluable advice and has begun setting me up with different individuals to talk to across different Disney departments, including Freeform and Disney theatrical.

Finally, as many of you may know about, this past week was huge for Disney because of the monumental merger with 21stCentury Fox, signaling one of the biggest unions between two massive media conglomerates. There is a lot of uncertainty still within many aspects of the company, but we employees have received multiple emails from company “higher-ups” explaining the diligence they are taking with all decisions made from here on out. We have meetings every other week with the president of Disney Channels Worldwide, Gary Marsh, and at the meeting this past week he expressed his excitement at the opportunities to come from this move.


We saw the first really nice weather since moving out here in Los Angeles, and by that, I mean it was hot and sunny enough to make the trek to Malibu about 45 minutes from where we live. The beaches were beautiful, the sound of the waves was so relaxing, and I didn’t get nearly as sunburnt as I expected to – a definite success. That was on Saturday, and on Sunday I took advantage of my employee complimentary access to Disneyland and went there for the third time. We spent the whole day in California Adventure Park (and saw Noah Cyrus while there!) and I was exhausted but so happy coming home. I don’t think I will ever get tired of going there and I definitely intend to go back! This weekend I spent a lot of time with my friends, making dinner, hanging in the hot tub, walking around rodeo drive, and going out to an incredible brunch. It was a nice relaxing weekend to have in preparation for a very busy week that includes a networking brunch with the Hollywood Program board on Monday, class on Tuesday, my friend from high school visiting on Wednesday, and working as a Production Assistant on set on Thursday. Friday I will be going to bed early because I will be waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to fly home to Penn State for the weekend! I have my last Alumni Society Board meeting as a student representative, and it gives me an excuse to come back and see a bunch of my friends!

The Journey Continues


While this week I don’t have anything as exciting as Wand IDs to report (though there is another Wand ID shoot this coming Wednesday…stay tuned), my job and my personal life have remained as interesting and as new as ever. That’s one of my favorite parts about living and working in a place that is so different from what I’m used to – every one of my experiences is completely fresh, and even if it isn’t the most extraordinary, the fact that it’s not something I have seen and done so many times before is what really makes my time here interesting.

These past two weeks at work have involved more opportunities to write my own scripts for promotional material for current Disney Channel shows. I have written scripts for more episodes of “Fancy Nancy,” and this time I was able to sit down with an editor as he walked me through my script and showed me what worked and what didn’t. I feel as though this is one of the best ways to learn – actually sitting down one on one with someone who has so many years of experience in the field and knows promo editing like the back of his own hand. It was also pretty cool when we veered off topic for a bit and he showed me a reel of his past work, which included things like the “Camp Rock 2” trailer, “Andi Mack” series trailers, and the “Phineas and Ferb” movie trailer. It was yet another experience that felt almost surreal to me, knowing that these were videos that my friends and I used to obsess over and here I was sitting in the small, cozy editing bay where they were pieced together.

I also had the chance to visit TVA, or Disney’s Television Animation studio, where so many of my favorite cartoon shows were brought to life. I felt inspired just walking around the halls of this incredible building, which had walls adorned with colorful sketches and a small gallery with Disney works done by various employees around the building that is apparently refreshed every month. I sat in on a meeting regarding the marketing strategy for a new animated series coming to Disney Channel called “Amphibia” and had yet another moment of feeling like a small fish in a very big pond as I sat at a fancy conference table surrounded by the showrunner and executive producer of this new show as well as many other important contributors to the network and series strategy. Even though I did feel like a small fish, it couldn’t have been a cooler and more inspiring big pond to be swimming in.

In terms of personal adventures, no surprise here but my friends and I went back to the Mexican restaurant with karaoke on Friday night and sang our hearts out. I really love the group of people I am out here with, and it has been so fulfilling to learn about their lives and get to know individuals that are heading down the same career path as me despite having never met them before. I also went back to beautiful Santa Monica, hiked an INTENSE hike up to the Hollywood sign, saw a comedy show, ate at unique restaurants, and spent more time than is probably healthy in the hot tub.

I am so excited for everyone in PLA to be here over spring break, and I am really hoping to meet up with you at some point! I hope you all enjoy LA as much as I have so far!

More Than Halfway Done…What??

Let me start out by saying that it is almost unfathomable to me that my time in Los Angeles is over halfway complete. Before, when I would tell people at my work that I would be here until late April, it seemed like the end was so far away. Now, it’s in less than 7 weeks! I have a feeling that these next 7 weeks are going to go by so quickly. Isn’t that usually how life goes – that once you overcome the struggle and “getting used to it” phase in the beginning of an experience, the time just starts to fly. Before I know it, I will be saying good-byes to the people, the places, and the memories I’ve made here – but I don’t want to think about that quite yet.

Now let me get into what I’ve been up to since the last time I blogged. As per usual, I will begin with what I’ve been doing at work. It’s been getting harder and harder to keep track of everything I do throughout the days at Disney Channel, especially because this internship is the kind of job in which every single day brings something different. I have some ongoing projects that I’ve been working on, including going through Descendants 3 behind the scenes footage, helping writer/producers on various promo and social media projects, and doing research concerning vendors and current programming. What really makes me excited about the day to day of my job, though, is the fact that there can be a shoot or a really cool meeting on that day that I will get to sit in on! Two weeks ago, there was another Wand ID shoot in my building with the child actors on a new Disney Channel show called “Just Roll With It,” and a few days later I was actually able to drive to a major TV studio in downtown Los Angeles to be on set for a “Just Roll With It” promotional shoot. It was insanely interesting to see the whole set, the talent, and the crew that had to come together to make these marketing promos happen. Plus, my favorite part may have been the catered lunch and never-ending snack station. This upcoming week, I will be working more on my ongoing projects, conducting a research project on High School Musical (wouldn’t it be nice if these were the kinds of research projects I had to do at Penn State?) and working on some promotional material of my own! As someone who loves staying busy, I’m getting very excited about the upcoming weeks.

As for the outside-of-work activities, I just had ten of the most fun days I’ve had since coming to Los Angeles! I had a visitor from Penn State who was here for his spring break, and since he had never been to the West Coast before, I wanted to make it the best experience for him that I could. This blog post would turn into a novel if I described all of the things that we packed into the past ten days, but here’s some: scootering from Santa Monica to Venice Beach and back, walking on the Santa Monica pier (where I was so lucky to hang out with some fellow PLAers for a bit!), going to Disneyland, hanging out in the hot tub, going to three escape rooms, visiting the Los Angeles Zoo, walking around Disney Studios, hiking Runyon Canyon, eating at a ton of different restaurants, walking around Universal CityWalk, eating meals on the balcony, singing karaoke at my favorite Mexican restaurant (what else?) and so much more. I had such an incredible time, and I feel so happy to have shared my life here in Los Angeles with someone so special to me!

I will be back soon with more to report, as always. The weather this upcoming week is supposed to be finally in the 70s and potentially the 80s, so here’s to the L.A. sun that I’ve been waiting for so long to embrace!