Going Places: Viacom Intern to Full Time Success Stories Features Howard Tseng

Howard is a Campaign Activation & Branded Content Coordinator at WHOSAY, Viacom’s recently-acquired talent & influencer marketing company. Prior to obtaining this role, he was a Coordinator in Viacom’s Distribution & Business Development team and has also interned in MTV Integrated Marketing (Velocity) for two semesters: fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.

Howard Tseng, Coordinator, WHOSAY, started off as a Viacom intern in 2015. Now, he’s a full time employee.

Campus to Career: Hey Howard! Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you landed here at Viacom?

Howard Tseng: I attended CUNY Baruch and studied advertising and marketing. While I had several internships throughout school in the music industry, I wanted to get a better understanding of the media and entertainment business as a whole. Viacom felt like the perfect company for me, since many of our brands involve both music and television. I was super excited to get my first internship at Viacom, and realized it was a great fit for me early on.

Viacom is a great place to explore your interests across the entertainment landscape. Do you have any advice for interns who are less sure exactly what they want out of their internships or careers?

Ask questions! Asking thoughtful questions about what your department does and the impact it has on Viacom’s overall strategic goals works two-fold: it gives you deeper knowledge of your own department, and helps you understand more about what other teams do within the company. Networking and informational meetings with other employees never hurts, too.

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Going Places: Viacom Intern to Full Time Employee Success Stories Features Samantha Kestenbaum

Viacom’s Campus to Career department oversees Viacom internships, post-graduate programs and entry-level opportunities. Going Places is the department’s latest series on intern success stories, featuring interns who have achieved full-time employment opportunities at Viacom and Paramount Pictures. In the first installment of Going Places, Campus to Career interviewed Samantha Kestenbaum, Office of Global Inclusion (OGI) Coordinator, to chat about her experience. Kestenbaum interned at Viacom during the fall and spring of 2017.

Samantha Kestenbaum, Office of Global Inclusion (OGI) Coordinator, started off as a Viacom intern in 2017. Now, she’s a full-time employee.

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Viacommunity, VH1, Comedy Central and EMERGE Werked the New York City Pride Parade

On Sunday June 24, roughly two million revelers filled the streets of downtown Manhattan to celebrate the culmination of Pride Month: the 49th annual New York City Pride March.

Among them walked a contingent of nearly 350 Viacom-affiliated marchers, a procession of employees, media and corporate partners amidst a pair of Comedy Central- and VH1-branded floats. EMERGE, Viacom’s employee resource group focused on LGBT employees and straight allies, and Viacommunity, Viacom’s social responsibility arm, had helped rally the boisterous crew.

Fans at the 2018 New York Pride Parade. Photo by Sarah Stone.

“June is a special month for EMERGE as we have the opportunity to bring awareness, engage, and celebrate with Viacom employees while we have the spotlight on us this special month,” said Emily Albertson, a senior manager at Comedy Central and EMERGE leader.

“We always see an influx of new members joining in June, which help us lead the charge in continuing to fight for LGBTQ rights for the rest of the year. We love having the opportunity to show employees that Viacom supports all of their employees regardless of sexual preference or identity.”

The day’s weather forecast predicted thunderstorms and scattered showers, but as a harbinger of positive energy, clouds parted around noon –  just in time for the parade to begin.

VH1 sponsored the parade with a float for the first time, choosing its award-winning show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, to represent Viacom with a glitzy, purple contraption emblazoned with show’s sassy catchphrase, “Sashay Away.”

VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race float “Sashay Away” was a fan-favorite at the 2018 New York City Pride Parade. Photo by Sarah Stone.

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For One Tech Intern, Viacom’s Experience Room Stands Out

The psychedelic animated VR world of “Chocolate,” an experience created for the song of the same name by San Francisco based musician Giraffage. Created by 3D animator Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT.

Viacom’s global headquarters at 1515 Broadway shoots 53 floors out of the endless hustle of Times Square. Even amid all this frenetic energy, though, one part of the building really stood out to me as a Media and Technology Services (MTS) Finance intern: the Experience Room.

Situated amid the MTS teams on the 11th floor, the room hosts an ever-updated showcase of the new and emerging technologies that Viacom is exploring, developing, and strategizing to promote MTV, Nickelodeon and other brands. The room doubles as an incubator for Viacom engineers developing products and a fun, engaging place for other employees to experience them.

The room feels futuristic – it is outfitted with integrated smart assistance and voice-activated lighting. One of the gadgets I found particularly fascinating was a voice-activated smart wall mirror, which provides weather information, displays the time, takes notes, and even compliments you.

A section of the room is a mini-museum, outfitted with a chronologically arranged line of devices ranging from a flip phone to Microsoft’s “Hololens” – a headpiece that projects holographic images.

Viacom engineers rotate into the room to work on new technologies, join an existing project, or develop new ideas using the room’s resources. One rotating engineer is at work on a SpongeBob SquarePants robot. The prototype can move around and interact with kids. The engineer would like to equip it with enough information that it can be used as a source of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education for children.

The engineering team is also working on a smart photo booth that can transform its background, factoring in different color combinations and even the type of clothes people are wearing.

The highlight of my time in this space was playing a pair of Viacom NEXT’s Virtual Reality (VR) games: one where I smashed things to collect points in a ring within a simulated Experience Room; a second where I immersed myself within the first ever VR music album with The Melody of Dust, which had such an incredible level of optimization and features embedded within it that I felt as if I were physically in a different world altogether.

The Experience Room now has open hours where employees experience what the team is working on: Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I hope you’ll visit the 11th floor to enjoy this amazing space and draw inspiration from the way that Viacom is developing its present and shaping its future.

2017 Nickterns Spruce Up California Boys & Girls Club

The summer 2017 Nicktern class united to create a mural at the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. The mural, which is one of their largest to date, covers more than 300 square feet and employs a number of Boys & Girls Club themes. The mural was designed by Colton Davis, Gabrielle Dolbey, Tom Fields, Courtney Lovett and Alyson Wong.

Former Paramount Intern Harnesses Lessons of the Lot on Way to Short Film Oscar Nomination

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Waiting for the Oscars

As a boy, Jean de Meuron would rise in the dead of the European night to cheer the Academy Award recipients ascending gilded stages on the far side of the Atlantic. He relished this annual celebration of a world he deeply admired: he was a student of Hollywood history, a fan of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones, a dreamer gripped by the allure of the American entertainment industry.

So here he came, from Switzerland, in 2008, embedding himself in studies at the New York Film Academy, USC, UCLA and the New School; bunking down in internships at the Weinstein Company, MTV, Viacom International Media Networks and Paramount. He would go anywhere – New York City, Los Angeles, Mexico, Buenos Aires – as he produced student films and peppered executives with questions at every stop. He learned about marketing campaigns, about the importance of everything from color schemes to timing to creating effective trailers.

It was an immersive course in filmmaking and marketing, fueled by an unwavering vision of what his life ought to be. It was this resolute focus that led him to the 2012 Basel Gässli Film Festival in his native Switzerland, where he met a young director named Timo von Gunten, a preternatural talent whose work – the editing, framing, storytelling – echoed legendary Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. And it was his partnership with von Gunten, as executive producer (along with Bela Böke) on the short film La Femme et le TGV, that last month opened up the Oscars in a way de Meuron’s boyhood self would not have believed: live, at the event, as a nominee.

Jean de Meuron (right) with La Femme et le TGV producer Giacun Caduff and director Timo von Gunten at a luncheon for Oscar nominees. Photo courtesy of Jean de Meuron.

Jean de Meuron (right) with La Femme et le TGV producer Giacun Caduff and director Timo von Gunten at a luncheon for Oscar nominees. Photo courtesy of Jean de Meuron.

It would be the culmination of a lifelong ambition, the highest professional acknowledgement in one of the most prominent creative industries in the world. But like an artisan crafting a beautiful piece of furniture, a filmmaker does not spring wholly into the existence with the knowledge of his art, but learns it through a long apprenticeship. For de Meuron, his time at Paramount would prove crucial to plan, produce, edit and promote La Femme et le TGV.

A rich, nostalgic world

It helps to understand, first, what they have made, for an Oscar nomination is reserved for those things that are exceptional.

La Femme et le TGV is set in an idyllic mountain landscape pancaked with cliff bands in the green and field-dotted wilderness outside the impossibly quaint town of Monbijou, Switzerland. At the center of this world is Elise Lafontaine (Jane Birkin), and hammering through it in a shimmering streak of steel and noise is the twice-daily TGV high-speed train. Every day for 32 years, at 6:18 a.m. and again at 7:13 p.m. Lafontaine has leaned, Swiss flag waving, from the window for these joyous passings.

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Celebrities, Collectables, Cody – How CMT Interns Created #12DaysOfGiving

Being an intern at CMT has amazing perks – we get to work on huge events, see celebs around the office, and create content for one of the top channels in the country (Party Down South anyone?). However, the best perk is the opportunity to truly make a difference in our community.

Viacom encourages employees to pursue their passions, and interns are treated no differently. We (the CMT Nashville fall 2015 intern group) were determined to figure out a way to raise awareness for a cause that is near and dear to our hearts: Feeding America.

We had three goals that we wanted to accomplish with our project:

1. Increase Feeding America donations nationwide

2. Raise awareness for CMT One Country and increase their Twitter following (@CMTOneCountry) by 5 percent.

3. Set precedent to encourage future interns to launch their own Viacommunity campaigns.

The team did a food drive among the CMT Nashville interns and collected 52 pounds of food for Second Harvest, their local Feeding America food bank.From left to right: Abbey Hogan (Business and Legal Affairs intern), Taelor Owen (Corporate Communications intern), Shannon Lilly (Hot 20 Countdown intern), Rachel Burns (Integrated Marketing intern), Jessi Clark (Hot 20 Countdown intern), Adam Pisarsky (CMT.com Mobile intern).

The team did a food drive among the CMT Nashville interns and collected 52 pounds of food for Second Harvest, their local Feeding America food bank.From left to right: Abbey Hogan (Business and Legal Affairs intern), Taelor Owen (Corporate Communications intern), Shannon Lilly (Hot 20 Countdown intern), Rachel Burns (Integrated Marketing intern), Jessi Clark (Hot 20 Countdown intern), Adam Pisarsky (CMT.com Mobile intern).

Making It Happen

With 10 interns across multiple departments, we utilized everyone’s skills to create a multi-faceted campaign that we called #12DaysOfGiving.

With the support of our co-workers and supervisors, we worked with Public Affairs to create a holiday sweepstakes raising awareness of CMT One Country and Feeding America. To enter, participants simply posted a photo of how they’re giving back to Feeding America on social media with the hashtag #12DaysOfGiving. We promoted the campaign through verbal and graphic mentions on the Hot 20 Countdown, social pushes across numerous CMT handles, custom co-brands, talent interaction, and even an article on CMT.com.

To drive entries, we rounded up some insane prizes, including tickets to the 2016 CMT Music Awards in Nashville, generous donations from Public Affairs to local Feeding America food banks, a signed guitar from the 2015 Artists of the Year celebration, a shout-out by CMT legend Cody Alan, and signed CMT merchandise.

CMT Feeding America - 3CMT Feeding America - 4CMT Feeding America - 5

From left to right above: Luke Bryan, singer and songwriter Sam Hunt, and a signed guitar from CMT’s Artists of the Year celebration.

What We Learned

#12DaysOfGiving was Nashville’s largest intern project to date, and it made an impact both internally (with 52 pounds of food collected at CMT) and nationally. The campaign was a huge learning experience, and we can’t believe that we actually pulled it off (with lots of help of course).

Some of the lessons we learned:

·         Never believe that you cannot accomplish something because you’re “just an intern.”

·         If you have an idea you want to accomplish, ask. Most co-workers and supervisors are eager to help.

·         Campaigns are created by the hard work and collaboration of multiple departments. Start planning early to ensure that you can access everything you need.

·         Create a backup plan for every situation. When faced with “no,” always say “what if we do ___ happens instead?”

·         Make sure to thank everyone who has helped you. Everyone is busy, and it is generous of them to lend you their time.

Keeping our lessons in mind, we never could have pulled this campaign off alone. We worked with virtually every department at CMT to accomplish our goals, and we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful mentors and supportive co-workers. Thank you to everyone who has worked on this project, especially Public Affairs, Radio, Legal, Social Media, and CMT.com.

The next time you find yourself thinking that you’re “just an intern,” think instead about how you can leverage your talents to create lasting results for a project you’re passionate about. After all, seeing celebrities gets old quickly, but your memories of making a difference never will. ​

Meet Your 2015 MTV VMA Intern Correspondent

by David Corpuz, Social Responsibility

​​For the second year in a row, Viacommunity has partnered with Viacom College Relations to find the next Viacommunity Correspondent for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The contest gives Viacom’s summer interns the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work the VMA red carpet and ask celebrities pro-social questions on the causes they care about. This year, the response was overwhelming. Viacommunity was blown away by the diverse and unique talents of our extraordinary interns. Though it was a very difficult decision, Viacommunity narrowed the candidates down to eight finalists who truly stood out. ​​

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Viacommunity, MTV VMAs Intern Correspondent Contest Winner Casey Wasklasky On His Red Carpet Debut

by David Corpuz, Social Responsibility

For the first time ever, Viacom’s social impact umbrella Viacommunity held a company-wide intern contest to choose the Viacommunity correspondent at MTV’s 2014 VMAs! Interns wrote to Viacommunity about the importance of talking with celebs about giving back to raise the volume on social causes. It was a timely effort, as the 2013 VMA show-stealing Miley Cyrus dedicated her presence at this year’s show to social issues, by sending a homeless young man to accept her award on her behalf. 

 The winner, Casey Waslasky, describes his once-in-a-life time experience below, and we’ve included some footage from his interviews above. Thanks Casey for charming everyone on camera and off, and bringing attention to the importance of community involvement.
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