Ryan Lutz ’13 – Before this summer, I had given very little thought of what I wanted to do after Wabash. Thanks to the Small Business Internship through Career Services I got to spend the past eight weeks working with Desho Productions—a small productions company in Washington DC. Because of this experience I have a better idea of what I want to do when I finally leave the sea of scarlet in Crawfordsville, IN.
For the past eight weeks I was one of three interns along with the president Aisha Davis who made up the core of Desho Productions. This meant that we all did a little bit of everything: public relations work to pre-production to the actual management of the event. The two biggest events I worked on this summer were the “Live! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza” concert series and the “DC Dance Festival”.
Live! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza is a weekday lunchtime concert series held right next to the Ronald Reagan Building and the EPA building. Every weekday we would feature local musicians ranging from the teen sensation Sytuation to the living legend Smokey Robinson — who I actually got a handshake and a photo from after the concert.
So on Monday through Friday I would go out to the plaza and be the stage manager. This entailed making sure the sound people were on time and setting up for sound check, calling the musicians making sure they got to the stage in time for set up and sound check, then making sure everyone was in place to start the show on time. Once the show started, the challenging work really began I had to take pictures and videos of the band, do decibel readings, count the number of people in attendance and make sure everything went smoothly.
Being a stage manager for the Live! concert series was a lot of fun. I got to get out of the office, direct other people, and every time the show went smoothly, I knew it was because I did a good job.
The next big event I was a part of this summer was the DC Dance Festival sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. For this event we had to shut down two blocks in the middle of downtown DC, as well as contact numerous artists, vendors and other companies to make this festival happen. It was a tedious process, which involved numerous trips to the DC Permitting Office to get the street closures. Even with all of that I still enjoyed every bit of the experience.
Even outside of this internship I really made an effort to become a part of the city. So naturally I went out and discovered nearly every part of Washington DC. For example, I joined a rugby club to help keep me in shape. I have to say the guys in that club were a big reason why my summer was so much fun. From practices to tournament these guys really took me under their wing. Another thing I did was take salsa dancing classes, and I can now say that I am a capable and experienced salsa dancer.
Event planning is a high risk, high rewards business, and I enjoyed every minute of it this summer. All the late nights and time spent working on the weekends was tiring I’ll admit, but fun and worthwhile nonetheless. All the hard work paid off though, and I ended up making valuable contacts with a person at IMG (possible internship for next summer?) I even have a connection with the fashion business in New York City. Its has been a really great summer, and I would like to thank Aisha Davis and the rest of the Desho Production family for being an integral part of that.