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March 15, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - A Northwest student may have found his niche this spring assisting with the casting processes for some of television's most popular reality shows while he interns at a top production company.
Rob O'Doherty, a junior from Omaha, Neb., is spending this trimester in Los Angeles as an intern at Bunim/Murray Productions, which is behind a multitude of popular reality shows, including "The Real World," "Project Runway," "Road Rules" and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," as well as the Emmy-winning HBO documentary "Autism: The Musical."
O'Doherty who is working on a public relations major and advertising minor at Northwest, is taking the internship for college credit. He began the 16-week internship Jan. 20 and was immediately involved in a number of projects and pitch meetings. Although he's spent the majority of his internship working with the company's casting department, he's also worked with the creative, development, business and post-production teams.
O'Doherty's interest in the entertainment business can be traced back to his high school career when he was a finalist for "The Real World." When he arrived at Northwest, O'Doherty started as an education major but realized communications was a better fit for him.
He was grateful when he applied for the internship last fall that Bunim/Murray didn't turn him away a second time.
"I always thought it would be cool to venture out to L.A. and try working in entertainment," O'Doherty said during a recent phone interview. "I definitely wanted to try it while I was getting college credit."
He spent two weeks working with the casting department on a new show, "Courtney and Chloe Take Miami," seeing the casting process from beginning to end.
"The casting department has been really busy," he said. "That was my emphasis when I came out here. I wanted to learn about casting and I've definitely been able to do that. It's very hands-on and I like it a lot."
One of four interns, O'Doherty has had the opportunity to sit in on a creative development meeting and a pitch for a new reality show. One of his favorite experiences, he said, was assisting with an open casting call in Burbank for the show "Bad Girls Club" on Oxygen. About 300 girls showed up with hopes of being cast.
"It was my second week here and I was still learning a lot, but I got to sit in on the interviews," O'Doherty said. "It's cool to understand the process, like how we cast for these shows and the way they select their candidates. You think it's based on the way they look or the way they act, but it really just depends on what captures our casting director's eyes. It was good to see how that process works out."
Outside of his work as an intern, O'Doherty has few complaints about life in Los Angeles. He's enjoying the relaxed vibe and has taken advantage of some sight-seeing opportunities. Then there's the traffic - O'Doherty said it takes him about 40 minutes to travel the 10 miles from his home to the studio.
"It's definitely nice not having to deal with Maryville winters," he said. "It's definitely been an adjustment, being out in Los Angeles. It's been a ride, definitely, getting used to the traffic."
But O'Doherty already is thinking about a possible return after his graduation.
"That's one of the things I love about the company is that they have such a high retention rate," he said. "They consider the internship an interview. They want to hire you back because you're familiar with the company. If I was offered a job back out here, I would definitely, definitely take it. I think I did find my niche out here."
At Northwest, O'Doherty is the Student Activities Council President-Elect and a Northwest Student Ambassador. He also is a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and the Epsilon Nu Chapter.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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