Wabash Blogs 2008 Summer Internships

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An Exciting Summer in Chicago

Rob Fenoglio '09 - “Sweet home Chicago” – that seems to be the theme of my summer so far. This summer I am interning at Navy Pier as a Summer Production Assistant. For anyone who is unaware of the major attraction that is Navy Pier, it is essentially a working pier (the Navy actually docks ships at the Pier) with many shows, rides, and events that go on every day. Things are never the same and that helps keep the days interesting and amusing.

I grew up near Chicago, so it is really fantastic to be living in the city all by myself, thanks to the Kemper Grant, and taking in everything this amazing city has to offer. Not only do I get to live in Little Italy (I’m Italian, so it’s like being at home but without all of the guilt my mother so lovingly provides), but I also get to be a part of something I love: Entertainment.

As a Summer Production Assistant, I have spent my summer helping organize major events, including the Navy Pier premiere of “The Dark Knight” on July 16, many of the shows that take place on stages located on the pier, finalize band contracts for performances in the Beer Garden, and deal with the crazy antics of behind-the-scenes producing. The experience has been everything I have hoped for and more!

Not only have I been able to see what a producer does, but I have also had hands –on experience with performers and bands on the weekends when I stage manage the Dock Street and Beer Garden stages. I never would have thought this much effort and skill is needed to produce a show everyday or manage a band for a few hours. The knowledge gained during this internship has been nothing short of priceless.

It is quite interesting to see how things are run behind-the-scenes and how something can be going perfect one moment, then the tide abruptly changes and everything feels like it could fall apart. Being able to think on your toes and critically to keep everything together is something Wabash has definitely taught me and that has been extremely helpful during this internship. Being a stage manager on the weekends has illustrated how much preparation goes into a band’s performance or a variety performer’s set. It has allowed me to have a newfound respect for performers and all of the things they do to prepare for a show and all of the things that must be done to keep a show running smoothly.

One of the perks of being part of the Entertainment Team at Navy Pier has been my access to some of the promotional ties with “The Dark Knight.” Anyone with knowledge of the film is aware that Chicago stands in for Gotham City and director Christopher Nolan shot almost all of the exterior shots here in the city last year and a major scene at Gotham Pier was shot on the East End of the Pier involving two ferries. Seeing how Navy Pier has an IMAX screen inside the Family Pavilion and some of the film was shot on the Pier, Christopher Nolan wanted to have a premiere here, in honor of the city.

I was able to attend some of the events during the premiere and was given a special screening on the film’s day of release. I was able to get a few photos of the Tumbler (Batmobile) and the Batpod (motorcycle) because they were on showcase in the Crystal Gardens for the VIP event that night. I was unable to attend the VIP party, but was able to see the vehicles before the official party.

My experiences producing and the knowledge gained in dealing with contracts have been extremely beneficial to me in my future endeavors in the entertainment industry. Once again, Wabash has helped me find an unbelievable internship and has supplied with the resources and knowledge to help me achieve everything I have wanted to during this opportunity. If you’re ever up in Chicago during the remainder of the summer, stop by and enjoy the unique atmosphere Navy Pier has to offer.