chapman buzzfeed

Chapman alumni illustrate BuzzFeed’s culture with a little help from Pete the Panther. Back row: Ryan Bergara, Micki Taylor, Michael Reilly, Steven Kanter, Alex Allsup, Megan Baxter, Devon Joralmon, Crystal House, and Jacob Moncrief. Lower front: Chantel Houston.

You may have heard of BuzzFeed from your friend’s Facebook post revealing which Disney princess she resembles, or 10 songs likely to make a dude cry — but you may not know that the company is more than personality quizzes and pop culture. BuzzFeed is a global news organization that serves up news and entertainment segments for the next generation of socially connected media consumers. It is also the employer of the next generation of innovative content creators — many who also happen to be Chapman University alumni.

“Not only are Chapman alumni equipped with a strong technical foundation, they show a unique commitment to continued learning,” says Andrew Gauthier, Executive Producer of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. “All of the Chapman alumni on our staff are hardworking and skilled, but what perhaps truly separates them is their curiosity and desire to uncover new areas of opportunity.”

In true BuzzFeed style, here are the thoughts and experiences of 12 Dodge College grads who work in the company’s Motion Pictures Division.

How these alumni landed their jobs:

  • Four saw the job or internship online and reached out to the alumni working there
  • Two worked their way up through the internship and fellowship programs
  • Two applied online and had inside referrals
  • One has a father with hookups
  • One is freelancer with a great reputation
  • Two straight up cold applied

Courses or Dodge experiences that help these alumni succeed at BuzzFeed:

  • Intro to Visual Storytelling, Production/Set Management, Production Financing, Senior Thesis, TV pilots, location documentary, editing, hands-on experience of any kind, film history, screenwriting, and Byte-sized TV. In short…“All of them. The folks that have that diverse background; writing, directing, cinematography, editing, seem to have the most success. The better you know the craft of everyone you’re working with, the better and more streamlined the communication will be.” – CHRIS JOSEPH ’02

Description of the company culture:

  • Collaborative, high energy, experimental, progressive, always changing, young, silly, fun, creative, diverse, unpredictable, positive, spontaneous, vibrant, supportive. “You can be working on one big project one moment and then get thrown into something else immediately after that’s wrapped. It sounds exhausting, but the free snacks keep you up.” – DEVON JORALMAN ’15

Tips on landing an interview:

  • “Watch lots of BF videos to see what kind of content you are most interested in. Take time to compose a unique resume and cover letter that reflects who you are as a person. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite professors or anyone you have worked with to write you a letter of recommendation. Submit to or any other job posting site. If you don’t hear anything back, keep trying! I applied to the internship many times before hearing back.” – MICHAEL REILLY ’06
  • “Have a background and materials to show in the digital video space. Anything YouTube or Facebook is a plus.” – STEVEN KANTER ’13
  • “Reach out to alumni, ask them if you can meet them for coffee or a drink. Chapman alumni are the perfect place to start when looking for any job.” – JACOB MONCRIEF ’15

People/Personalities that fit in most:

  • “Someone who is eager to learn and wants to collaborate with a variety of people. Someone who also likes to ‘wear multiple hats.’ There are a lot of cross-departmental projects that happen. The lines are often blurred between your actual title and what you do.” – JACOB MONCRIEF ’15
  • “Positive people who are open to learning from each other. Internet content is constantly changing and evolving and you have to be willing to take risks and experiment.” – CRYSTAL HOUSE ’04
  • “I think it isn’t limited to any person which is pretty cool.” – RYAN BERGARA ’13
  • In short, an open-minded, positive, multiple-hat wearing, risk taking, creative team player without an ego who gets the job done.

Editor’s Note: The above is a condensed version of the original article. You can read the full-strength version in the spring 2017 issue of In Production Magazine (pages 30-31) here.