Feature Article: Fan Experience Interns

Lights beaming down, audience roaring, the Show is About to Begin.

This is not live theatre. This is Autzen Stadium on a fall Saturday filled with football, entertainment and good times. The experience for a fan is quite the opposite for a team of 10 interns who breathlessly await orders through a busy ear piece.

Vigorously prepared for the production of a football game months in advance, the pre-production jitters never fade. Though the interns modestly refer to themselves as “glorified babysitters,” the interns control the camera operators, who the duck makes laugh, when the cheerleaders dance and manage appearances all to the beat and rhythm of live television.

Few realize how much preparation goes into the flow of a game. Similar to a bustling stage crew, the Fan Experience interns prepare long before football season starts. One of the interns, Kerissa Sheley, details that, “before football season even starts, we write down each game on a note card and lay it out on a big table. From there, as we get closer to each game, we will write down the order of events on the white board. We supplement each time out and pause in the game with every type of media possible.”

These interns create all of the promos, videos and music played in the stadium at every game. They also create activities for the fans on the field as well as activities set up around the stadium to make “the Autzen Experience” unforgettable. The team is a blend of university students with diverse talents in pre- and post-production of video. Kerissa states that, “everyone’s friends. We didn’t know each other before starting the internship but it’s a remarkable team that blends together really well.”

Kerissa says that even with all of the preparation, “the timeout schedule from what network is covering the game arrives about three days in advance. Then we make edits and shuffle things around until morning of the game. That is when we finalize the script detailing when everything happens during the game.” It’s different from any other job because, “no one knows exactly what’s going to happen on game day until about an hour before kickoff which has taught me a lot of patience.”

There are many lessons to be learned from an internship like this. Kerissa says that she’s “learned when people are drunk they will do just about anything. During the Umpqua ice cream challenge, a girl ate an entire pint in one bite. All kidding aside, I’ve learned many important lessons. Like don’t freak out or get overwhelmed in high pressure situations. Most importantly, it’s all about timing. Feeling the flow of the game and falling into a routine establishes a sort of feng shui. I think these lessons have transitioned into my life really well.”

sophia cleugh