Lia Capotorto, a third-year theatre student in the College of Arts, Media and Design, is currently on co-op at AMC Networks in Manhattan. An active member of on-campus theatre groups, Lia has taken advantage of the new opportunities she’s found in NYC, forging new connections and striving to make the most of her time living what she describes as “every theatre major’s dream.” We were able to catch up with Lia about her co-op experience and working in Manhattan in this Q+A. Read more below!
What are your responsibilities at AMC, and what does an “average” day at work look like for you?
At AMC, I work in Corporate Communications. We manage public relations and marketing for AMC Networks, which owns and operates award-winning brands AMC, BBC America, IFC, IFC Films, SundanceTV, WE tv and streaming services SundanceNow and Shudder. I assist with daily administrative tasks for our executives and department employees, talent relations, and corporate philanthropy. I may help with event planning, organizing travel for executives and talent, and drafting communications. Furthermore, I maintain multiple ongoing special projects given to me by my supervisors. I am responsible for sending out “Trade and Business Press” daily to approximately four hundred executives and employees of AMC Networks and AMC Networks International, including our CEO and COO. This press roundup is a compilation of top news in the industry and how our various networks, shows, executives and special projects are performing.
What would you say has been the most rewarding experience of your job at AMC so far?
Lia at AMC Networks in Manhattan.
Well, there’s no business like show business. Working for AMC has given me a profound perspective on the ever-changing landscape of the industry. It’s a really exciting time across various entertainment mediums in an era of mass media consolidation and just a never-ending list of shows, streaming services and just a general diversity of what is available on screen. I think AMC is brave and takes risks in terms of what they create, so it’s amazing to watch how they navigate the current media climate. During my time I’ve gotten to witness exciting and transformative moments such as Emmy nominations, BBC America’slaunch of “Doctor Who”with the first female doctor, and Rick Grimes leave “The Walking Dead,” so it’s been very busy. I’ve also seen the company go through leadership changes. So, the most rewarding part of my job has been to watch how a company and the overall industry grows and changes with new ideas, technology and leadership. I would also add that I am fortunate enough to get to observe how our top executives conduct themselves and perform professionally and that is something I’ve learned a lot from. Everyone I’ve had the opportunity to meet at the company from general managers to fellow interns has been very nice.
What kind of unique opportunities has living and working in NYC made possible for you?
What opportunities hasn’t it given me? It’s my favorite place in the entire world– the energy, the buildings, the people. I have a hard time talking about New York without wanting to break into song. It’s always been my dream to live and work in New York and to get the chance to do it for six months, it’s surreal. I used to take the train seven hours from my hometown upstate for just 24 hours in New York (thank you Mom & Dad.) I would come down just for a forty-five-minute voice lesson. So, to be in New York full time and not have to do some crazy commute is the best. I’m so thankful for this experience and to everyone who made it possible.
Living in New York is every theatre major’s dream. So much theatre. So much art. So much inspiration. I’ve had the opportunity to continue my acting training with acting classes, see daring theatre and be in rooms with some really cool people. I attended a fundraiser called “The Band Visits Cariani” and it featured the original Broadway cast of The Band’s Visitperforming excerpts from playwright John Cariani’s plays. Cariani was also an actor in the original cast of The Band’s Visit. It benefited Wintergreen Arts Center in John’s hometown of Presque Isle, Maine. I bought a ticket because I’ve always been a huge fan of Cariani’s work and I wanted to participate in some way. So I walked into the theatre and took my seat and all of the sudden all of these amazing artists started walking in: Tony Award winners, and then there’s just me, in this little maybe hundred seat theatre. It was so funny. Afterword, I got to attend the post-show gala, and actually, Northeastern grad, Ahmad Maksoud, is part of the cast and I went up and chatted with him about our professors and our education. It was so nice. I also got a chance to meet John Cariani, which was awesome. Seeing Kate McKinnon on a Q train was okay, too.
Lia sits on the “Draper bench,” a reference to AMC’s hit show “Mad Men.”
What are some of your interests and passions, and how have you been able to incorporate them into your academic and professional experiences?
My interest and what I am most passionate about in life is storytelling and finding new ways to share stories. Everything is telling a story and everyone’s a character. You learn how to tell stories from the time you are born, and when you go to school you learn story construction. So, whether I’m playing a character in a play or writing a press release, how am I using my skills as a storyteller to convey a clear message? That’s my main interest. That’s why I study theatre, because everything is theatre, because theatre is ultimately storytelling. So when it came down to what I wanted to study, there really wasn’t a question. Theatre was always going to be it for me. I’ve always loved acting, singing, writing and making people laugh, and I think every job requires a sense of humor, so I really do love my degree and I can’t wait to see the opportunities it will open for me.
I know one thing for sure: I feel very strongly that what we put onstage and on screen should accurately examine today, as well as reflect the past, so we can create a better future. The entertainment industry has a huge impact on humanity, whether we like it or not, it’s something that is really ingrained in our culture. Working in the entertainment industry and having the chance to create work, start conversations that matter and ultimately communicate new ideas to the world is something that drives me.
I want a career that’s collaborative and involves working with the public. The way we communicate is amazing to me, and I am just fascinated by the responsibility of communication, which has sparked my interest in working in public relations. I see so many parallels between communication and theatre and I look forward to digging into that further. It’s been great to see how much overlap there is between these two fields while working in communications on co-op.
Lia during her 2018 Dialogue to Ireland.
Are there any other particularly notable extracurriculars, classes, organizations, etc. that you’ve had at northeastern that you feel were instrumental in preparing you for co-op?
I am lucky that Northeastern has given me such wonderful friends and communities, that make co-oping outside of Boston so hard. On campus, I can often be found in a rehearsal room working on something with the Theatre Department, NU Stage Musical Theatre Company, hiking through the snow at 11pm for Silver Masque’s Fortnight, hanging lights in the Studio Theatre or working in the Theatre Department office. All of these amazing organizations have equipped me to act professionally, take risks and to be collaborative, which is so important in the workplace. Additionally, this past summer I went on a Dialogue of Civilizations to Ireland which was instrumental in preparing me for co-op. It was an excellent opportunity to immerse myself into the world that lives beyond the Northeastern campus and certainly helped me when I first moved to New York.
You’re a Beyond Boston blogger for Northeastern; is this your first blogging experience?
It’s been so fun to be a Beyond Boston Blogger and share my experiences living in New York. It’s not my first blogging experience. In high school I had a blog about the summer I spent in New York attending NYU Tisch Summer High School. Recently, I became a student blogger for BroadwayWorld.com and I am now writing for them once a week. I’m glad I am documenting my experiences and that I get to share them with people!