In LA, you can be all over the world

Week 4: Monday July 27-Sunday August 2

From film sets to cultural attractions, Los Angeles offers a plethora of places to explore. Every week I walk by “New York City” before I enter the worlds of the Norse Mythology within which Thor resides. This week, I even discovered different cultures with the help of famous artists from around the world.

Daily overview…

"New York" set outside of production office
"New York" set outside of production office

Monday July 27th: Marvel – Production Office

Tuesday July 28th: Free Day

Wednesday July 29th: Marvel – Production Office

Thursday July 30th: NYFA

Traveled to conduct promotion…

12:00-8:00 Venice

Friday July 31st: TV Production

Tennis scene
Tennis scene

In this industry, chance encounters can often lead to great opportunities. On July 15th, Marvel studios held a free lunch and business fair outside of the studio cafe. Before getting my meal, I stopped to get a free 5-minute massage from the on-site (on the lot) masseuse, Kim. After chatting with her for a few minutes, she revealed that her husband was a writer/producer and in the process of putting together a “spec” (“speculative…shopped or sold on the open market, as opposed to one commissioned by a studio or production company.”) TV pilot for HBO. A week later I got a call from her saying they wanted me on board as a production assistant, or a “P.A.”

On Friday I met with Kim and her husband Paul and helped “dress the set” (“decorative with props and furnishings to add to a stage setting”) for the first shot of the day on Saturday. Then went to pick up some equipment for the shoot.

Saturday August 1st: TV Production

Call Time: 8:00 AMOn location
Arrived at first location and for the rest of the day assisted with production in any way needed, from handling “craft services” (food) and ordering/picking up lunch for the cast and crew to being a background actor.

We finally wrapped at 8 PM and headed to dinner on the pier in Manhattan Beach. I met some incredible people and really had a blast.

Sunday August 2nd: Free Day

DSC01479Visited The Getty Museum! Then had dinner with a friend in Hermosa Beach, which, along with neighboring beaches, was the site of the International Surf Festival. The band ALO was playing right on the beach and a large group of people gathered around. The moment exemplified So Cal – reggae beats, warm sun, setting slowly, tons of people chillin out and jammin away as they sip cool drinks by the beach. It was the perfect day.

Next post…Monday August 3rd-Sunday August 9th

Exciting projects at Ernst & Young

Hello finance / accounting fans,

It’s been awhile since my last post; things here have certainly kept me busy. Just a quick update before I get started: I’m still loving my time up here, the work is really interesting, the people / other interns are really nice and helpful, and of course there’s always something to do here in the Big Apple (speaking of which, I found out that the nickname came from a sportswriter in the 1920’s who described a New York City horse race as drawing horses from all over the country to the Big Apple).

Going a little deeper into those topics, the project I have been working for the last couple of weeks has been the experience of a lifetime. I got the chance to work with Ernst & Young’s team currently advising the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on AIG. Well, I guess I am working for you guys also since technically it’s the American taxpayer who took the stake in AIG. This project has been an incredible learning experience. Everyday I am exposed to the latest inner-workings of the finance and accounting world, and I’m trying to pick up as much as I possibly can. Thankfully, my team has been incredibly helpful and really nice to me, from senior all the way up to the partner in charge of the deal. Unfortunately, I cannot go into any more detail on my work since it is highly confidential. In fact, until a couple of weeks ago (when the Fed released a report stating some of the help it has been receiving on AIG), no one was even allowed to mention that Ernst and Young was advising the Fed on AIG.

What I can do is explain the program that I am in a little further. I am a Transactions Support intern in the TS + program. This means that this summer, I have been interning with EY’s Transactions Support team, advising clients on either the purchase or sale of an asset or entire company. If I am lucky enough to receive a full-time offer, I will do a three-year rotation where I spend 75% of my time in audit and 25% of my time in TS. The rotation is designed to prepare candidates to obtain their CPA license as well as train staff to be effective members of the TS practice. In order to work in TS, you need to have the audit skills that allow you to analyze and understand historical earnings in order to use that information to project future revenue streams and expenses for the company.

I love working in the TS practice because it involves both finance and accounting skills and really calls for critical thinking to help advise a client on acquiring a prospective target. I can definitely see myself finding my niche within this practice and will continue to enjoy the rest of the summer.

Finally before I go, I will describe the typical seniority structure at a Big 4 accounting firm. The hierarchy for a team (which works for one client at a time) is: executive partner, partner, senior manager, manager, senior, staff and then intern (bottom of the totem pole here, but I am definitely still trusted with work that is both important to the project and very detail-specific). Just an example of a team I worked on, was made up of: an executive partner, a senior manager, a manager, and two seniors. Every member of my team has been more than willing to help explain anything that I needed. The biggest piece of advice I can give in working with a team is to always take notes when they take the time to explain a longer, or more complicated, process. It has been my experience that they never mind explaining how to do something because they all remember times when they were new at something. However, I make sure to take detailed notes and get it right the first time so as to not disrespect them by taking up their valuable time at work (only interns get paid hourly!).

Well that’s all for now readers, but be sure to look for another post in the near future as I still have a lot more to say about all the exciting things that have been going on this summer.

Dimitar @ Nestle [Part 4]

Last week, the Nestle interns in Glendale volunteered at Hope Gardens Family Center. The Family Center is a transitional living facility where abandoned women and children get away from their impoverished, urban lives. At Hope Gardens, families learn to succeed financially, emotionally, physically, and scholastically. Once they’ve completed the assistance program, the families return to society with the necessary skills to get a job and support themselves.

People often confused the Ghost Busters as the Insulation Guys (Me and a friend, geared to Insulate!)
People often confused the Ghost Busters for the Insulation Guys (Me and a friend, geared to Insulate!)

A Chinese proverb says: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime” (or something like that). It seems that the folks at Union Rescue Mission (the agency behind Hope Gardens Family Center) have a clear understanding of this concept and are working hard to implement it throughout our welfare programs. Their efforts should be recognized. I personally love the idea of a Family Center and I think that it should be expanded on a larger scale. It’s something that I have never seen before, as we do not have places like this in Ohio (at least none that I know of). It’s the only way that taxpayer money, or donations, could truly help the ones in need.

I truly enjoyed the volunteer experience. There were many interns at the event, assigned to different jobs. Some of us painted, others did yard-work, and some put up dry wall. I spent the majority of my time at the event insulating classrooms and dry walling. One thing’s for sure – I got quite a workout – my shoulders were on fire!

Putting up Drywall
Putting up Drywall (Gotta love the Action Shots)

The best part of the event was the lunch. Nothing is better than a cookout after a long day of physical work.

Arrival in Dominican Republic

Arrived a little past midnight due to the delays, the two interns from HOPE graciously picked me up from the Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic’s Capital) airport since my Spanish isn’t up to par, I studied French in high school… oops! They showed me back to their apartment, which was tiny, I’m extremely surprised they made it through this long without having any serious difficulties. Some serious sacrifice was made here for comfort. There was hardly any place to walk and amenities were scarce. I’m not sure if I could have done it, but it’s definitely spun my perspective of development in another country. It makes me feel very ashamed with my lifestyle back in the states even in PA which aren’t that generous.

Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic

The next day several of the Esperanza interns (HOPE partners with Esperanza in the Dominican Republic) come over before we head out to Jarabacoa. I absolutely butchered the pronunciation the first few times I tried to say it. It is pronounced har-a-bah-coah. We were all invited to this northern city for the weekend where one of the interns went to high school. The trip lasted about 2.5 hours on a first class bus (think greyhound) where we were able to see much of the rural countryside. Buses ran about $6 which seemed like a steal, but everything here is quite cheap in comparison to the States. On the way, it was shocking to see the many small shacks which were in essence four walls and a tin roof covering the top. Often times you could see through parts of the buildings. These also weren’t even the poorest of the poor, they were generally of the lower middle class.

We arrived in Jarabacoa around noon where our friend picked us up via school bus. The definition of school bus in the DR is a pick up truck where you sit in the back, much like a hitchhiker in movies. It was exhilarating riding through the streets and seeing everything up close, I think I’m going to try and sit outside every chance I get in the next coming week. After stopping in town our Jarabacoa friend took us to a Dominican café. One of the girls, a past KIVA fellow and now Esperanza fellow from Brown suggested I try the Chivas or goat. And so I ordered the Chivas. Meals here consist of rice, beans, some type of green salad and the meat. The goat tasted much like lamb or extremely tender beef. It was a delicious first Dominican food experience. Afterwards we hit the local markets looking for items to prepare for dinner. We then went back to the school, where we were staying for the weekend and went tubing. The plan was to enter the local river for a calm 30 minute ride. Unfortunately, we ran into rough waters about 30 seconds in and had to stop! Several of us were banged up pretty bad from the rapids, which unusually were stronger than our friend’s recollection.

Later that evening our master chefs, two of the interns, made mango coconut chicken, rice, and fried plantain (like potatoes) balls, which ended up tasting much like a starchier hushpuppy. After dinner we went back into town to experience some Dominican nightlife and rum. Supposedly Dominicans are famous for merengue (type of salsa dance), rum, and cigars. I was taught how to do basic merengue steps, which are quite basic but awkward since the male needs to shake his hips alongside the female. Let’s just say I don’t think my hips were meant to shake! It was a blast, however, and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

American School
American School

On Sunday we attended the school’s church service which seemed like any ordinary missionary church, luckily it was in English so I followed along comfortably. In the afternoon we walked around town and tried to do some shopping, but in the DR almost everything closes on Sunday. I think this is due to religion. In addition, many of the men sit out on motorbikes and simply chat all day with their friends. Just a connection note: HOPE/Esperanza and many other MFIs tend to loan the majority of its funds to females. The reason for this is because the men often are lazy, and often spend the earnings on alcohol and entertainment, whereas the women will use the microfinance profits to feed their children. It’s odd in such a poor country that people have time to spend not working, but it is a common sight. Another random witnessing I noticed was the crude way females are treated in the country. There is very little respect. Many of the men would often hiss at my female friends to try and get their attention or harass them. They told me stories of how awful it could get and it makes me ashamed that women are treated this way, yet grateful in the same time that in the States it is much better.

DR 3In the evening we visited a Dominican bakery and local restaurant where I was able to try a very flavorful fruity concoction of salmon. I noticed in the DR that seafood isn’t as popular as I thought it would be… seeing that it is an island. The staple food here is fried chicken (but not breaded like KFC). We also made chinola juice (passion fruit juice) with white ron (rum) in the evening, which is a Dominican specialty.

Tomorrow we had back to the capital, Santo Domingo where I’m going to visit the Esperanza headquarters. On Tuesday I’m going out to a bank meeting where clients meet and hopefully hear some updates with how loans are progressing. I can’t wait!

“Never mistake motion for action”

Week 3: Monday July 20-Sunday July 27

Fairly slow week, but every day I get insight from conversations with people I work with that is shaping my career plans and life goals. Ernest Hemingway said “never mistake motion for action.” I love this quote and it seems relevant to this week and this post. Just because you are in motion, does not mean there isn’t action you can tend to. Getting used to a place or job can sometimes make you complacent, but the slow moments are really opportunities to stand out by taking initiative on projects or making the most of your time by getting to know your superiors/co-workers. Since everyone’s path is so unique in the entertainment business, hearing many different stories/paths has given me a better idea of which I want to travel.

Overview of my week:

marvel bldg

Monday July 20th: Marvel – Production Office

Transcribed interview Kenneth Branagh gave for his film  As You Like It

Spoke with Randi Hiller from casting; hoping to pay a visit to her casting agency sometime this month.

Tuesday July 21st: NYFA


Traveled to various locations to conduct promotion…

12:00-3:00 Culver City

4:00-6:00 Venice

7:00-8:00 Hollywood

Wednesday July 22nd: Marvel – Production Office

Finished As You Like It transcription

Researched for Art Department

Intern outing – Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Club =)

Thursday July 23rd: NYFA

Traveled to various locations to conduct promotion…

12:30-3:30 Century City

4:30-5:30 Beverly Hills

Friday July 24th: Marvel – Costume Warehouse

It was incredible to see all of the different fabrics they work with and all of the intricate work these people do!

Saturday July 25th: NYFA

12:00-4:30 Beverly Hills

Took a hip hop class at Debbie Allen Dance Academy, which was such a fun experience! I love dance and did hip hop in high school so made it a priority to take a class in LA.


Sunday July 26th: NYFA

Relaxed poolside at the apartment, then headed to

a special film screening for the NYFA of Punchline and Q&A with David Seltzer at Warner Bro.s Studios. Some of his advice for up and coming filmmakers: be someone people want to work with, i.e. people skills are crucial, and take the time to study your craft, if possible, from every angle.

Next post…Monday July 27-Sunday August 2