The screen cuts on; string instruments shriek a high-pitched, dissonant chord; the dark silhouette of a shark swims through bright blue water. Welcome to Shark After Dark. Millions of viewers will tune into the Discovery Channel to see this Shark Week programming, but for Callie Fiertz, ’17, this is an average day at her internship.
“Adventure, nature, curiosity are but a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Discovery Channel. I decided to apply for an internship at the Discovery Channel because these are things that I always try to incorporate in my experiences,” said the London native.
As a development and production team intern, Fiertz worked behind-the-scenes on Discovery Channel programs, like Shark After Dark, and researched new story ideas.
“It is hard to describe how amazing it is to be able to see a project in its very infant stages and watch it grow throughout development, production, and then to air,” said Fiertz.
When Fiertz started her internship in June, the development and production team was finalizing the format of each episode of Shark After Dark, determining which clips would be shown, which games would be played, and which celebrity guests would appear. While the scripts were written, Fiertz browsed through hours of promotional footage for the program featuring Shark After Dark host Eli Roth in Tahiti, noting time codes for specific shots requested by different networks and press.
“For example, one clip was of Eli in the ocean surrounded by twenty lemon sharks reading the line ‘Eli Roth here! Don’t miss Shark After Dark, Tonight at 11, Part of Shark Week on Discovery!” Fiertz recalled.
Later, when the scripts were finished, Fiertz, armed with her all access crew pass, spent time on set during rehearsals, helping the production team and stopping by the Craft Services table, which “has every type of food known to man.” Fiertz met various shark experts, as well as celebrity guests such as Kevin Hart and Chelsea Handler.
“One eye opening moment for me was when I was sitting in the audience on set, watching the rehearsals and one of the executive producers came and sat next to me, and we started talking. We were talking about how great the set looked, how funny Kevin Hart was, my experiences shark diving. After asking about how she got into the business, she went on to inform me that she was also one of the producers of The Bachelor,” remembered Fiertz. “It was this particular moment that it hit me how fortunate I felt to be exposed to such influential people in the business and how amazing it was for me to be able to help out on such a fun but hugely impactful show.”
Fiertz, who says that she was unsure about her future career path prior to her Jepson Internship at the Discovery Channel, says that she now hopes to pursue a career in the television industry: “This internship has reminded me of the power of networking, making connections, and having lasting and memorable impressions on those you work for.”