We had the opportunity to catch up with Tori before the Thanksgiving break where she let us know about this exciting opportunity. Tori is a 2011 graduate from the BFA in Television Broadcast Journalism. She provided the following insight to her experiences post-graduation.
Q. How did you get connected with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade?
A. I was connected to this opportunity by my supervisor on the show. She was hired as the production supervisor, and picked me to join her team.
Q. What does your day-to-day look like leading up to the show?
A. Leading up to the show, I worked with the writer to put together the 3-hour show script, had meetings with the producers, Macy’s, and NBC for script notes, musically broke down all the parade performances beat-by-beat for the AD, and met with the hosts for their notes on the script. A few evenings leading up to the show, I would sit on 34th street with the AD for music rehearsals and take down any notes he had for music breakdowns.
Q. What did your day-of look like?
A. On show day, I had a 2am call time! In the early morning, we rehearsed all marching bands and Broadway performances. I sat in the production truck during these rehearsals In case the Director or EP had any notes they needed me to adjust in the script. 30 min prior to showtime, I stationed myself on the host platform next to Teleprompter and was on standby to find out if the wind was going to affect the balloons flying. This very important call was coming 15 minutes before going live. Luckily, the weather was on our side, so we did not need to change the script last minute. During the show, I was situated between the hosts and prompter for any changes that may happen. During commercial breaks, I would talk with the hosts to prep them of any changes. For instance, the Ronald McDonald balloon got punctured along the parade route, so we had to change the script around to let viewers know what happened and why they had to watch a clip of it instead. The show ended up going smoothly and it was an amazing experience all around!
Q. What has been your trajectory since graduation?
A. Since graduation, I have been working my way up the script department in Live/variety shows. I started on this path from my internship at Dr. Phil where I assisted the script team, and from there made connections that got me my first job as a script PA on the NHL awards in 2011. From that show, I have been working nonstop in script!
Q. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
A. I recently got accepted into the DGA as a stage manager, so in the next five years, I hope to be a Stage Manager full-time! My main goal is to stage manager on a reoccurring talk show.
Q. What is a piece of advice you wish someone had told you as a student?
A. I would say it’s okay to struggle. Not everyone will always have a gig in this crazy freelance world, but stay positive and eager and form as many connections as you can. Don’t be afraid to let people know your career goals, because most of us have been in your position, and got to where we are now with the help of supportive colleagues.