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Learning Entertainment Production at Smithsonian Channel

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Bryan White

This post was originally published on the SOC Dean's Internship Blog.

A productive work environment starts with a team that not only believes in your abilities, but allows you to foster your skillset through hands-on experience. The time I’ve spent with the Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture between Showtime and the Smithsonian Institute, has allowed me to further conceptualize the future of non-fiction storytelling and the scope of running a network.

Before joining the Smithsonian Channel, I had no prior experience in entertainment production — I had spent the last four years in and out of newsrooms from NBC to The Hollywood Reporter. It has been a great challenge, as well as an accomplishment, to broaden my understanding of writing and producing in a new setting.

Over the past four months, I’ve been able to collect collateral material and collate data as we launch our services in the United Kingdom and Latin America. The office is always buzzing with work which is indicative of our commitment to powerful storytelling and making sure our international launches go off without a hitch.

I’ve been lucky enough to finalize rough cuts, edit scripts, and review acquisitions on a daily basis. Every day I am constantly learning from our expansive content that shines a new light on popular genres such as: air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. I especially enjoyed working on our show Geography of Art which is airing in Brazil and featured one of my favorite artists, Icelandic treasure Ragnar Kjartansson.

My favorite moment thus far has been attending the launch of Pandamonium: A Virtual Experience at the National Zoo. The VR video explores the tightly held relationship pandas have with the District, focusing on the birth of Bei Bei, while giving users a 360-degree view of the explorative creatures in their habitat. I was able to survey a portion of the 200+ attendees ranging in ages from 2 to 60+ and create a formal release for our partners that detailed the positive responses from the public. Currently, I am editing a video that features testimonials and additional b-roll from the one-day public trial with the hope that the experience could become a ticketed, daily affair.

I’ve been more than fortunate to grow and learn under the Smithsonian Channel these past few months and I feel more than prepared for my next chapter.