SVG Inaugurates Annual Intern Gathering

On Aug. 11, HBO opened its doors to 30 SVG members and 70 of their summer interns for the first-annual SVG Sports Intern Meetup. The afternoon gathering, held at HBO Studio Productions in Manhattan, brought together interns and professionals from across the sports landscape for networking and education, with professionals sharing their stories about getting started in the business.

“It was an honor and a privilege for HBO to host the intern inaugural event,” says Jason Cohen, director of East Coast production for HBO Sports. “I truly hope it becomes an annual staple as it is a terrific mechanism to help to develop the next generation of television professionals.”

In addition to engaging the interns in casual conversation, representatives of five SVG members gave a presentation on how they got their start, offering advice for those looking to dive into the world of sports production. Cohen broke the ice by showing an audition tape from his days at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. He used the video to help tell his story of moving up through the ranks of sports production — and how stepping into a new role, even that of weatherman, is not all bad.

Joe Inzerillo, SVP of multimedia and distribution for MLB Advanced Media, offered a different perspective, having started his career at the age of 14 when he volunteered as a tape operator. He provided a look at the digital side of the sports-production business and offered his thoughts on the right — and wrong — ways to start a career.

Christina Mixon, director of graphics for the NBA, offered hope that a seemingly catastrophic situation is not necessarily the end of the world. A car accident derailed her plans to compete in the Summer Olympic Game but turned out to be the beginning of a wonderful career in sports television.

From the West Coast, Andrea Berry, SVP of broadcast operations for Fox Sports, shared the twists and turns in her career. A Chicago native with New York experience currently running sports operations in Los Angeles, she has seen it all. A true road warrior, Berry told stories of her life in production trucks and how travel can change one’s perspective on production.

And SVG Advisory Board Chairman Steve Hellmuth shared his story of how he went from juggling careers in catering and independent filmmaking to EVP of operations and technology for the NBA. He polled the audience to ask whether they believed that strategic vision or exceptional operations would be the key to the success of sports, and weighed in with his perspective on the operations side of the business.

Following the presentations, interns and professionals alike were treated to a tour of HBO’s brand-new production studio, home to Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. Attendees had the opportunity to walk through the control rooms with the engineers in charge, learning about the productions and the technology that powers them.

“Interns today are extremely fortunate to be afforded opportunities like this one,” Cohen said after the event. “I hope they make the most of it.”

SVG has set up an SVG Member Interns Facebook group, where interns can share stories, contact information, and stay connected with SVG throughout the year. Intern coordinators interested in getting involved in next year’s event should contact Carolyn@sportsvideo.org.