Not Naked, But Afraid
Picture me, Sydney Swearengin, walking into my first day as an intern at the Jeffrey Scott Agency. I just finished my first year of college at Pepperdine University, and I was excited and nervous about what this internship had in store for me. I felt kind of like how I imagine those people on the show Naked and Afraid feel, except I was very much clothed and very much in Downtown Fresno, not a tropical forest. I walked in on my first day and was immediately greeted by a bunch of friendly people who already knew my name.
I was introduced to everyone and put right to work. The upcoming projects were Art Hop for the month of June that Lauren, JSA’s Events Queen, was planning, and a commercial shoot for EECU the next day that Jessie, JSA’s Commercial Queen was directing. I gave some input on how we should decorate Art Hop, and came up with some prop ideas for the shoot the next day. And just like that, my first day was over.
The next day, I went to the EECU shoot. My job was basically to follow Jessie around and learn, which I did quite well if I do say so myself. I was impressed by how JSA used many locals in the commercial rather than out-of-town talent. It’s awesome when a business represents the community around them, and it became evident early on in my internship that JSA truly believes in their community.
I was surprised by how long the shoot was for only a thirty-second commercial. There was a lot of lighting and camera adjustment to get the perfect shot. On set, I got to employ some of my acting skills I learned as a Theater and Music major when the director asked me to read the cue
line for the actor from behind the camera. It was my shining star moment. The people working the shoot loved to joke around and have a good time which made for a productive but fun day.
The next week, I got to explore a little bit of Downtown Fresno’s tech scene. Jessie took me to Bitwise, a super cool business that encourages collaboration within the tech world. We were working with a production company called Meza to put together fifteen-second spots I had cut from raw footage. I got to watch the video producers edit together the footage to make the spots I wrote. Then, Jessie left me in the care of the Meza team, and I traveled with them over to the newest Bitwise building, the Hive. I watched as the Meza team filmed a commercial for a company called OrdrSlip that came out of Bitwise. During that shoot, they had employees tell stories about how they got to Bitwise and then to OrdrSlip. These stories were incredibly touching, and it was awesome to hear about the good Bitwise does for Fresno and its people.
July’s ArtHop exhibit was a collaboration with the Poverello House in memoriam of Papa Mike, who founded and ran the Poverello House in Fresno. The display included Papa Mike’s own photography of the people he served as well as many other local photographers’ pictures of the homelessness around them. For this exhibit, I compiled some information from the Poverello House and the photographers into a handout to help people navigate the exhibit. It was a compelling experience to help set up this exhibit because I’ve always been passionate about homelessness in Fresno. I was happy to see that others noticed the issue in our city and wanted to help be a part of the solution through their art.
Here We Are
In reflecting upon my experience here at JSA, I can firmly say it was one of the most fun and productive I’ve ever had. I appreciated that they took my interests into consideration and had me work mostly with the creative side of the agency. I feel like I learned a lot about a field I will potentially interact with as an aspiring actor. I also saw a side of Downtown Fresno I had not seen before. Through this internship, I feel like I’ve truly realized the beauty of Downtown, an area I hadn’t explored thoroughly before. Seeing the life and the businesses that thrive in Downtown has given me hope a new hope for my City.