Read about the summer internship of our Director of Events, Devin Carroll, and her experiences with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
By: Devin Carroll
This summer I worked as a Marketing and PR intern for Saratoga Performing Arts Center, better known as SPAC. My first week, I was concerned about what exactly my job would be for the summer. Not only was I overwhelmed with excitement to work for a venue that I grew up going to concerts at, but it was also their 50th Anniversary season and the last season for their President, Marcia White, who saved the non-profit from financial crisis twelve years earlier.
Week one I learned that this wasn’t going to be like my past internships. They didn’t hire me to help me, to help my career, or to build my resume. They hired me to help them, to do real work, to dedicate myself to their cause: bringing the arts to the public. But I wasn’t going to be handed the assignments I wanted, or respect for that matter, without earning it. That meant that in that first week and even the second, I made sure I worked hard. I did everything I was asked in a timely manner and I did so without making any mistakes. I wasn’t going to be trusted with bigger assignments until I proved I could handle it. This become a challenge I loved.
By the end of the summer, I was working overtime every week. Some days I would be at work for thirteen-hour days if there was an event that evening. And I loved every second of it. Not only did I get to be a crucial part of the SPAC team for their most iconic season, but I got to experience it up close and personal and contribute to the amazing things they were doing.
My job consisted of a lot of different things. I was solely handed over the task to plan the pre-show events, which were usually a couple hours before concerts where we would plan things like Girl’s Night Out, American Girl Night, and Date Night. That meant I was in charge of booking activities, contacting vendors, designing the schematic of where everything was set up, and so on. Event planning was something that I didn’t even know I liked until I started doing it everyday.
I also did a lot of different writing assignments, one of my favorite aspects of the industry. I wrote media advisories and press releases for events. I even got to write talking points for our President when we had star dedication events. I was also responsible for the “Run-of-Show” for every concert of the season—which, by mid-season, was almost every night. The Run-Of-Show was a document that had a play-by-play description of what was happening, where it was happening, and when it was happening that was distributed and reviewed by everyone that worked for the organization. I was responsible for obtaining all of that information on my own so everyone who worked there knew where they had to be at any given time and the event could run smoothly.
I did clip reports of all the news coverage we had every morning, I called and emailed journalists and press to obtain coverage at our events, I acted as their contact when they arrived, and so on. I also got to help coordinate interviews between visiting artists and local media so they could get press coverage in the area and SPAC could promote that they were at their venue.
Every day was different. Every day was fast paced. And in between all the tasks that I did, even the little things like getting a present for an artist or escorting Jacques De Amboise, a famous New York City Ballet dancer from the 60’s, to his seat, I was taught about hard work, quality work, and the immense importance of attention to detail in this industry. Of course, listening to artists like Miranda Lambert and Dead & Company’s rehearse during the average workday was just an added bonus.