Get Your Hands Dirty: Video Transcript

Chad Wollett (BA Mass Communication, Miami, 2002) [Coordinating Producer for NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon]: I've always been one to want to videotape things and put edited projects together. You know, in high school I did a highlight reel for the basketball team. I took a broadcasting class, and I produced our morning show, and so I wanted to attempt to make a career of that. I wanted to attend Miami University from the time I was in 8th grade.

Here at Miami, in my senior year, myself and two other students co-created, produced, shot, directed, and edited 5 episodes of an original sitcom. We put on a premiere event, complete with a limousine, all of our actors were there in tuxedos. There was a red carpet. The mass comm school sent over some production majors that were interested in entertainment news. And so somebody was reporting live from the red carpet, and I think we had over 200 people attend the screening, the premiere screening of the first episode. And it was really like a dream come true.

I want to be part of a project like that, and I think that I am now on The Tonight Show.

I started as an NBC page in Burbank, California. I had an assignment while I was a page working in the late night programming department for Rick Ludwin, who's a Miami alum. I worked for Rick for 4½ years as an assistant and his coordinator, overseeing his schedule, answering phones, coordinating travel. In that job, I was able to visit New York and the late night shows that are produced in New York pretty often.

A liberal arts degree is critical in any profession, but for me, you know, the show that I work on, the production that I'm a part of, encompasses all parts of not only pop culture, but also politics, news, and I just think having a basis to connect on multiple levels with the content, but also the people that work on the show, you know, being interested in literature as well as music, and having a little bit of background in history, can be really useful. Not to mention, I deal a lot with our ratings and analyzing those statistics.

A very wise man once told me, if you only follow the curriculum, it'll be very difficult to get a job, because you're not going to have anything on your resume that's professional experience or similar to it. But if you can do additional student projects, if you can work on video pieces that are for the university, or for local businesses, or for the sports teams, that's real-life experience. Just because it's only seen here in the community of Oxford doesn't mean it's any less credible, and so get your hands dirty.

[April 2016]