Ella Lafontant Interns with the FPA Department

The FPA Box Office/Marketing Intern will create a schedule for marketing for each show of the semester. They will write a press release for each show, and make sure to acquire pre-production shots to go along with that press release. They will also upload those photos to the FPA Flickr account. They will acquire the poster designs and have them printed, with Terrie Pratt handling the financial aspect. They will bring thirty-five posters for each show up to the third floor of the Campus Center and leave them with Celia Norcross with instructions that they should go up around campus exactly 3 weeks before the opening night for each show. They will coordinate with the assigned House Manager who will handle putting up the other posters around North Adams, Pittsfield, and Williamstown. They will create the program for each show and have them printed in the Copy Center. On the first day of performances, they will pick up the safe box and the iPad from Terrie Pratt, they can coordinate with one of the theatre professors to keep it in their office if need be. A Facebook event should also be created and published under the MCLA FPA Theatre page two weeks before opening night. Finally, they will help to run the Box Office for the shows, unless also assigned another job that involves work during performances. The Ticketleap website/app will need to be learned

When I started out with this internship, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into. I had never done any of the things that were being asked of me, and while I knew that I could definitely accomplish the tasks, I still felt nervous since a lot was riding on my shoulders. I started with the posters, and got all of them for both shows printed at once. I also coordinated the posters that would be put up around campus with Celia for both shows right away. This was really great because I didn’t have to worry about them anymore. It became more difficult once I got to the press release and the contacting of high schools. I found it very tough to figure out just how to acquire permission to put posters up in the schools, and once I did for many, I would not be contacted back. I ended up not being able to actually physically bring the posters to any schools because of the issues with communication. I think that, if this internship becomes something that happens every semester, the interns should work on building up a relationship with certain schools in order to guarantee that the posters will be put up.

It was also difficult to coordinate with the theatre faculty in order to get information and pre-production shots for the press releases. Of course, it was easier in a way because I have direct access to them and they have an investment in the press release getting done, unlike the high schools. But it was still challenging, especially making sure to get pre-production shots that did not reveal too much of the unfinished designs, since the press release goes out early in the process. This job made me realize that I struggle with pressing people for something I need, even when what I need is important and relevant to them as well.

The program is also a struggle to make. I do not have a Mac, so I had to make sure I was able to work in the Mac lab on the third floor of Bowman. I also had to learn how Macs work, as well as Pages, the Mac version of Publisher. This was a challenge but I figured it out. The hardest part was making the program look good, because the layout when working in Pages is extremely confusing. I figured out exactly how it worked and the program for the second show of the semester, Our Country’s Good, ended up being a lot easier to make since I had learned the operating system and such when making the first program. I also learned to coordinate with Elizabeth Manns, the woman who knows how to print the programs in the Copy Center. Communication is key, but it isn’t very hard because she is wonderful.

What probably ended up being the easiest part of this job was actually working the box office, which I only did for Riot, since I took on being wardrobe head for Our Country’s Good on top of this internship. Ticketleap is an extremely well designed system and, while large groups of people crowding into the small space that is the Venable Theatre box office to purchase tickets will always be stressful, it was made significantly better with the easy system put into place.

Overall, I learned that running the box office and marketing for a theatre is a difficult task, especially doing so while also a full-time student. I felt overwhelmed a lot of the time and I felt like sometimes I wasn’t as successful or timely as I should have been. But I also felt like I did do a good job and there are things that I’m proud of. Most specifically the press releases which I think both turned out quite well. I know now that I can confidently say that I can do these things, and I feel more prepared to step into different roles within the theatre, which is my main goal as I leave college.

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