The Introspective Intern: 74 Interns, No Canadians, and A Few “Rock” Stars

By Emily Tugwell

As you can see from my title, I have quite a few things to discuss. But sadly, the last part of it isn’t what you think. Working at Boston Court has not in fact helped me launch a wildly successful music career (I’m so punny, aren’t I?).

I actually spent the entirety of Tuesday creating rocks for the set of Heavier than… And I want to tell you all about rocks and such, but first I need to back track quite a bit. We shall travel back to last week…

Last Wednesday was the annual Los Angeles County Arts Commission Intern Summit (what a mouthful), which was held at Pasadena City Hall. Being an LACAC intern and all, I had to attend. I’m going to be honest, I really wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. And as I walked through the grand halls, my footsteps echoing behind me, I was a bit nervous to meet everyone. After all, there are 73 other interns. That’s quite a few people. However, there was free breakfast being served. I know that sounds like a bizarre thing to mention, but when you find yourself in an awkward situation/conversation, you can just take a sip of that coffee or munch on some grapes and just slowly back away from the awkwardness. Well, that always works for me anyways.

We had several welcomes from various people, including the Mayor of Pasadena, Bill Bogaard, and Laura Zucker, the executive director of the LACAC. Then we trekked to the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Pacific Asia Museum, which had a small, but truly amazing exhibit on colonial photography (Try to go see it if you can!). And after lunch, we were off to the Armory Center for the Arts, which I had never before visited and feel quite ashamed to admit. The space was beautiful and I would love to go back and see if I could get access to their darkroom (photography is a budding hobby of mine). There I attended two workshops: “Tools to Thrive” (aka marketing) and “Entrepreneurship in the Arts.”

The speakers for Tools to Thrive were quite interesting: one was the Marketing Director (don’t quote me on her title) for the Hammer Museum and the other two co-owned a marketing business. But the idea that really stuck with me is not one that I find particularly savory. The speakers were basically discussing that it is extremely important to network. With everyone. All the time. There was even a point in the workshop where they had each of us collect the names and contact info of our fellow peers. And their reasoning behind the exercise was along the lines of this: you should network constantly because you never know where the people you meet will end up. In my opinion, I see this as being somewhat shallow and fake. I personally want to keep in contact with people that I feel connected to in some way. People that I may want to collaborate with in the future…not every single person that crosses my path. I realize that I’m not looking at the concept of networking from the right perspective. I’m definitely taking a personal stance rather than a business-savvy one, but I also feel like working at Boston Court has somewhat influenced my opinion. Brian has told me quite a few times that marketing for large theatres (think the Ahmanson, Broadway, etc) is completely different from small theatres (like BC, Circle X, 24th Street, the list goes on). And it’s true! Large theatres need to get THOUSANDS of people in the door in just a single/few nights; small theatres need to get a few thousand over the span of a production. At Boston Court, we take a far more intimate marketing approach because we have to build lasting relationships with our patrons. The workshop really opened my eyes to the fact that marketing really varies depending on your business/organization.

The second workshop was more my cup of tea (I’m British, so I [think I] can get away with typing that). The speakers were Karen Mack, the founder/executive director of LA Commons, and the fantastical Charles Phoenix, who gives walking tours of LA. The entire workshop focused on the fact that if you have an idea, TELL SOMEONE. Ask questions. Get over whatever personal doubt you may have and get some feedback on that idea. If you keep it to yourself, how will you ever know if it’s worth pursuing? And these were great lessons for me to learn; if you read my last post, you’ll know that I struggle with unleashing my creativity and have a (slowly dwindling) fear of failure. So it was great to meet and talk to people that have been successful with their entrepreneurial ventures. It really made me feel more confident in my own ability to create. All in all, it was a fun, interesting day.

A few days later on Friday, it was North America Day (formerly known as Canada Day)! There was a smorgasbord of things to eat, meaning that we each ended the day by being in an extreme food coma. It was the perfect way to start off the long Fourth of July weekend, which was filled with my family burning flags and lamenting the fact that the sun does now set on the Union Jack. Just kidding, but some would like to believe that this is how we British celebrate the 4th.

And after the weekend, I built rocks! I came ready in paint-worthy clothing and spent most of my time creating rocks out of roofing paper. This was eventually followed by the creation of rocks out of chicken wire and muslin. And there was also paint involved, which was the best part of it all. Though it was ridiculously hot all day, I was still glad to be outside, helping create the set of Heavier than… I can’t wait to see all of my creations on stage, and I hope you will see them too, but I’ll give you all a sneak peek right now, along with a few haikus about my production experience. Enjoy!

Shade is hard to find

An awning provides shelter

Unrelenting heat

Sunlight hits the ground

Warming rolls of roof paper

Burning my pale skin

Midday comes and goes

Paper rocks fill every nook

And hands keep working

Bucket of taupe paint

Fingers plunge into its depth

My childish joy

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