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Recent Cinema-TV Alumnus Gary Suderman Takes on the Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Suderman Serves as a Production Assistant on NBC's Today Show

By Rosalee Chan (B.A. Cinema-TV / Pre-Med '12)

Gary Suderman graduated from SMU's Cinema-Television program in May 2009, and less than a year later, he worked as a production assistant on NBC's Today Show coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Gary worked as a part of a team of production assistants comprised of college students or recent graduates who basically did everything they could to help the production run smoothly. Gary was specifically assigned the job of assistant to playback, which he described as “probably the coolest job there.” His department was responsible for monitoring the live feeds from all 10 cameras on The Today Show and assembling them into playback packages to show before and after commercials.

During his time at SMU, Gary specialized in film production, so working on live broadcast TV was a different experience for him. “In film production, everyone working on the film is working for a one to two hour product, and this takes months to years,” he said. “Live broadcast is so different. There are thousands of variables, and all these things are coming together at the same time. You have to be ready to roll. You don't have time to make it perfect; you just make it work. Every day is another adventure, and you get to be the pulse of the world.”

In the mass media industries of film and TV, internships are probably where those new to the field learn the most through hands-on experience. Through this internship with NBC, Gary put his skills to use and picked up important experience in the industry. “I learned that in order to succeed in this industry, you have to be committed,” he said. “You have to be humble and respect everyone, but in another sense, you have to be confident in your ability. You have to know without a doubt that you are the best man for the job. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. In today's ever-changing world of media, you can’t afford to be rigid. You have to grow and modify how you want to approach your craft. You wake up every day knowing that there are going to be changes and you have to be ready to roll with that. ”

When asked what advice he would give to his fellow students and prospective filmmakers, Gary said, “Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to send your resume to a company that you would like to intern with. You don't know what is or isn't possible until you try. You only know what your journey is going to look like by taking the leap. Don't be afraid to take the risk. If you have a story to tell, no one is going to do it for you.”

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