Two Carson School undergrads earn Television Academy internships
calendar icon03 May 2018
Lincoln, Neb.--Two students in the film and new media program of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film have been awarded prestigious internships this summer from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Candace Nelson, who graduates in May with a bachelor of arts degree in theatre performance and a bachelor of fine arts degree in film and new media, has received a directing internship and will be working on the television shows “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Michaela Wadzinksi, a senior film and new media student from Sioux City, Iowa, has received an animation (traditional) internship and will be working at Bento Box Entertainment, which produces the animated Fox television show “Bob’s Burgers.”
“I cried a lot,” Nelson said of her reaction to hearing she had earned the internship. “It’s a huge honor. It’s very competitive.”
Nelson, who is from Elm Creek, Nebraska, will work under the directors for several TV shows.
“I will spend a week on ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ and two weeks on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’” she said. “And then they’re deciding one or two more shows that I’ll work on. They haven’t explained in too much detail what I’ll be doing, but it sounds like I’ll follow around the directors and see their processes, and that includes being on set while they’re filming, as well as going to production meetings.”
Nelson said it will help her make connections.
“I’m going to be literally thrown in with the big dogs and get to work with a lot of people that have been doing this for years and then be able to put it on my resume,” she said. “The Academy is really big. The other thing they talk about in their e-mails is once you’re part of this internship, you’re like part of this family, and everyone who has done this internship in the past is still connected with that.”
Associate Professor of Film Rick Endacott said Nelson embodies the most unique aspects of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.
“As both a performance major and a film major, she is particularly adept at employing her talents as an actor when directing for the screen,” he said. “This performance sensibility, coupled with her director’s ‘eye,’ are likely a primary reason she stood out to the Television Academy and received this highly coveted internship.”
Nelson said her dream would be to incorporate both her performance and directing degrees.
“The dream would be to be able to do both,” she said. “To direct for television maybe like half the year, and then the other half of the year act in television shows and kind of switch back and forth. You know our field allows us to do both so much, so why not.”
Nelson said she likes what she can do in film and television.
“I like film because you can really do anything with it,” she said. “With special effects, with camera angles, you really can make people believe in almost anything. And, I’m stealing this from an interview I saw with Brie Larson, but she talked about how personal everything was. When you sit in a theatre, you can go with 10 friends, but the only thing that actually matters is between you and the screen. I think that’s also what I like about television is that it’s so long form. You come back to it week after week, that you literally grow with these characters. I find it amazing that when a TV character dies how upset people can get about it because it literally becomes a part of your life.”
Wadzinski said she was excited to get the internship in animation.
“I know I’m going to be with the team that’s working on ‘Bob’s Burgers,’ and one of their new upcoming productions, but I don’t really know any specifics about what I’ll be doing,” she said.
She has always been interested in animation.
“I’ve always wanted to do animation. I also really like television—that’s actually what got me into animating, so the two just kind of came together in a really nice way,” she said. “I really like drawing so it’s this nice combination of drawing and storytelling and just creating characters that I really enjoy.”
Wadzinski also sees a good opportunity to network in the industry.
“Mostly I think it will be a huge networking opportunity to meet with other people who want to do similar things and get to know them,” she said. “Beyond that, I think it will teach me more about how the industry works in a professional way.”
Wadzinski has worked closely with Associate Professor of Film Steve Kolbe.
“Michaela is one of those stand-out, special students that only come along every so often,” Kolbe said. “She is self-motivated and dedicated to expanding her skill and craft. She is a strong leader—yet she takes criticism extremely well and rightly uses the feedback to enhance her work.”
Wadzinski’s love of animation started with watching cartoons on television and grew from there.
“It’s just very charming,” she said. “There’s so much you can do with animation that you can’t really do with any other medium. And there’s still a lot that we haven’t done that can be explored that I find really intriguing.”
Wadzinski plans to learn a lot from the internship.
“I hope to get a better understanding of how the animation industry works and hopefully help grow my skills and meet new people,” she said.
The Television Academy Foundation’s summer internship program provides more than 50 industry-wide internships in more than 30 categories to college students nationwide. The program gives both undergraduate and graduate students in-depth exposure to professional television production during an eight-week summer period in Los Angeles.