By Logan VanDine
STUDENTS majoring in film and television know about the semester-long trip to Los Angeles. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about the field, participate in exciting activities and get internships that may eventually lead to a job. For Rider graduate Kaylee Ettinger ’22, her experience led her to an Emmy.
Ettinger was awarded for her 2022 World Cup graphics in the Outstanding Technical Team Studio category.
“I was just in shock and could not believe it, and actually, it still has not fully hit me yet,” she said with a grin across her face.
Originally from Staten Island, New York, Ettinger was always interested in the film and television industry and knew she wanted to get involved in it.
“In high school, I was in the media and communications program there and I became really involved in it,” said Ettinger. “When I was little I would always make little videos, but I would always be behind the scenes putting on little shows.”
When it came time to pick a college, Rider was not a tough decision. She had a family friend who worked for 107.7 The Bronc, so she already knew about the school, but her tour of the university offered her an early glimpse of its “Semester in Los Angeles” program.
“I always wanted to live in California and I wasn’t sure if I was ready yet because I was right out of high school, but I still knew right away Rider was the place for me,” Ettinger said.
Having to wait a few years until she was eligible for the trip to LA, Ettinger got involved right away through a plethora of opportunities, including BroncVision, where she held a role in the graphics department.
“I started even a little before classes started freshman year, and I also did the Lead Camp, which is a leadership development program to meet some friends before school even started, and with the television studio too,” she said.
When Ettinger was finally eligible for the Semester in LA in 2022, she had no nerves and was just excited to get out there.
Professor Barry Janes, who runs the program, talked about how great of an opportunity it is for film and television majors.
“Rider’s Semester in LA is a unique and incredibly valuable Engaged Learning experience. It’s one that really helped Kaylee by providing her with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the film and television industry,” said Janes via email. “Being in LA allowed Kaylee to meet with industry professionals and work directly in sports television in an industry she loved.”
Before getting her first internship and job at Fox Sports, Ettinger recalled one moment she enjoyed the most while she was out there when she went to the NFL Honors awards show at SoFi Stadium in LA.
“It was really cool because we were actually watching it behind the scenes while we were in the audience,” she said. “It was really cool to see a bunch of athletes and I have to say it was probably one of my favorite memories there.”
Besides the outings and sightseeing that the Semester in LA presents, students can also find some of the best internships available, just as Ettinger did when she started out with Spectrum Networks.
“I interned with Spectrum Networks with the Dodgers and Lakers as a sports content intern, and I would find some footage from games,” said Ettinger. “For example, finding Lebron James’ best shots from all different kinds of angles, and I would make like a 10-second package that the network would use during the broadcast.”
When Ettinger was still in Los Angeles hoping to find a job in her field, Fox Sports had an opening. Although she did wind up flying home, she completed a few remote interviews with the network and was hired for a position as part of the graphics help desk.
Ettingers’ first gig for Fox was the second annual “MLB at Field of Dreams game,” which is played in a cornfield, emulating the 1989 film where a farmer builds a baseball field that attracts the ghosts of baseball legends in Iowa.
In 2022, Fox Sports covered the World Cup in Qatar, one of the most-watched sporting events that year.
“I was definitely learning over time,” said Ettinger. “I was excited too but I was still starting out so definitely a little nervous but still a lot of fun, despite working overnight.”
Janes said it was an incredible achievement for Ettinger and her team at Fox, but he wasn’t surprised.
“Kaylee was a great student and a fantastic intern while in our Semester in LA program,” said Janes. “I just knew Kaylee would achieve great things.”