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  • jv9968a 5:31 pm on December 11, 2011 Permalink
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    Final Reflection 

    Dear Future Intern at Riot Act,

    Congratulations! You have landed yourself in an internship right in the center of Washington DC’s entertainment industry. Riot Act is DC’s first Comedy Theater and that means there is always a million things going on and even more things to get accomplished. Here are my tips to making the most of your internship:

    Take initiative. On my first day, I was completely overwhelmed by all the new people and their openness to my ideas. I was used to being told what to do and completing it. At Riot Act, they trust you. If they hired you, that means that you are cable and they don’t want to waste your time. I was put on the team that worked with social media and Riot Act’s online presence. I was put in charge of writing and sending out Riot Act’s social media press release and I quickly learned that online, a picture grabs attention a lot fast then a page of words.
    Don’t be afraid to fail. The first event Riot Act hosted with an outside company, we experienced a ton of issues. This was the first time we had to collaborate with people outside our staff and while the event was not a disaster, there were small details that were overlooked. Who was in charge greeting people as the entered? Where is the best place to serve food without overcrowding? What the incentive for people at this even to come back to Riot Act and see a comedy show? We ended the event with a meeting where we listed what was to happen next time we hosted an even, and the next time we did, it ran a lot smoother. Everything is a learning experience.
    Traditional PR should never be forgotten, but it is not the only tool. I spent many days simply walking into hotels and business’s introducing Riot Act. Most people were receptive to this kind of commitment. A press release can do wonders, but people remember a friendly face over a nicely worded emails. We established connections just by making it through the door and handing out free passes to invite people to experience Riot Act first hand. It’s refreshing to know that what you are marketing is worth while. Once Riot Act got people to come once, it was almost a guarantee they would come back because of their great experience. (More …)

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  • jv9968a 6:47 pm on December 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , making connections,   

    Making Connections 

    As the semester winds down, I am forced to look into my future plans. While I have greatly enjoyed every minute of interning for Riot Act, I will not be able to work with them next semester due to my schedule. Regardless, I will maintain contact with them because of the wonderful team I worked with and because they can help me when I graduate. Even though I have decided I probably would be happiest at a PR Agency, it doesn’t make my connection to Riot Act any less important. I know that if they ever have a lead or a contact, they will let me know. They also worked fairly close with me, and if and when I need a reference, they are the first people I will call. Maintaining connections takes work. I will stay in contact by email, but I also plan on dropping by Riot Act at least once a month: to catch a show, get lunch, or simply say hello. Life moves fast and people come in and out of that building everyday. It is my job as the intern to make the effort, not the other way around. My thank you card was only the beginning of the appreciation I plan on showing the people at Riot Act. Whatever does happen in my future, I want to be able to thank Riot Act for preparing me for what lies ahead. So, thank you Riot Act. It’s been wonderful.

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  • jv9968a 5:53 pm on December 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: holiday break, ,   

    Thanksgiving Break 

    As I returned to my internship after a wonderful 5 days off, which I was lucky enough to spend at home at my family, I quickly learned that most people who worked at Riot Act got a glorious 24 hours off.

    In the world of a new business, especially a business in the entertainment industry, days off are few and far between. Riot Act had a comedian performing the Friday after Thanksgiving and had to promote that comic all week to help ticket sales. As a small business, everyone was working around the clock just to be able to take the holiday off.

    It’s just a reminder that when I graduate in May, I will no longer be a student with allocated time off. PR waits for no one, and that’s what is so exciting about the job. Luckily Riot Act has avoided any major crisis’s, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t always work to be done.

    Up this week is another event on Thursday for Yelp and another comic to promote for the weekend. I am well rested and ready to hit the ground running.

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  • jv9968a 5:46 pm on November 19, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: customer service, , ,   

    Social Media 

    Riot Act has utilized social media of all forms, besides being a presence on Facebook and Twitter, they have created deals on Groupon and Living Social (and other website based deals). It has been a huge success. Thousand upon thousands of these deals have sold and phones have been ringing of the hook.

    This is a great way for Riot Act to get know. The goal is to get people here, and once they see a show, or drink at our bar, they won’t need more incentive to return. Lure in with good marketing, but make sure the product is worth the price.

    As an intern I have been helping funneling the plethora of phone calls that have been coming in recently. It is hard to remember “The Customer is Always Right”when answering the same question over and over again, but it is extremely important to not only be nice but inviting. Riot Act wants to be known for great customer service; friendly, patient, helpful. Part of this training is knowing the area. Know where to park, know directions to the club, know good places to eat before the show, and good bars to go to after the show. If Riot Act can become a one stop destination, it makes the night easier on our patrons and they can enjoy themselves.

    Riot Act is serve with a smile, mixed in with helpful advice and endearing tips.

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  • jv9968a 9:35 pm on November 18, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Project Assistant   

    Coffee Time 

    Coffee time is bonding time. It’s a small moment in the day to breathe, take second, and enjoy a warm beverage. Caffeine is the drug that surges through Riot Act day in and day out. With nights that can run as late as 5:00am and with an opening time of 10:00am everyday, coffee (or tea) is a much needed commodity in the office.

    As an intern, I manage much more reasonable hours then the rest of the office, but I am a little java junkie myself. So my new goal is anytime I go to get coffee, offer to get coffee for those in my office.

    It shows that I am taking a small initiative, and that I care. It is a simple act that can help me stand out or at least keep my managers awake through the end of the day.

    It is always good to keep looking for minor things that can set interns ahead of the curve. Interns these days are smart, and are all groomed and bred from fancy colleges. This means, that work wise, they can all be on an even playing field – especially if the intern tasks are more mundane. To stand out (in a good way!), it might take some creative thinking. My way to stand out – caffeine.

    Soon they will start associating the coffee rush with my presence, and never want to let me go. Just kidding, but they will definitely appreciate the thought.

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  • jv9968a 5:16 pm on November 17, 2011 Permalink
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    It’s Okay if This Isn’t It 

    I love my internship. I love the people I work with. I love the responsibilities they give me, but 11 weeks in I  realize that this probably isn’t what I want to do after graduation.

    And that’s okay.

    It’s not PR I don’t love, it’s working for one company. It can get a little stale. I think I would happier at a PR agency with more clients and a higher demand of PR activity.

    For Riot Act, every weekend we have a new comic. They are usually performing Thursday – Saturday, but at some point of a lot of the PR for each comic can become cut and paste. Each comic has there own style and certainly there own target audience, but generally it is fairly similar. This is not a bad thing, I just realized this is not my thing.

    Doing PR for one company, or one specific non-profit means you get become specialized, and increase relationships with partners. It give you the opportunity to work long-term techniques and take risks if the audience is already stable.

    On the other hand, PR agencies work with numerous clients at once, a person can become specialized in one area of PR – social media, grass root campaigns etc.

    Even though my internship is not exactly what I want to do in the future, it has given me an incredible amount of experience – not to mention it’s been a blast! That’s the point of internships. I’m happy I was able to discover this while in school, while I only promised a five month commitment instead of a two-year one. This will help me narrow my job pool when I graduate, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

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  • jv9968a 8:24 pm on November 13, 2011 Permalink
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    If At First You Don’t Succeed 

    Last week Riot Act had one of it’s first rentals. A group of young professionals had rented out the show room for lunch and paid for a comic to entertain them while they eat. It was on a weekday afternoon, which is normally not a profitable time for a comedy club, so this was a great way for a little extra profit.

    Needless to say, it was a little rocky. We had over 200 young professionals, all very eager to explore Riot Act, but all very hungary. Unfortunately, without thinking of the congestion, we had set up our show room with one buffet line. This was the issue.

    As the intern, I helped the everyone set up the room, and then greeted people as they entered. It was about 20 minutes into greeting that I noticed people were leaving especially fast. I met to talk to my manager to discover that the line to get food was winding all around the room. People were getting fed up with waiting and decided that they could get their food elsewhere.

    At the time, there was very little we could do. We apologized to the young professionals and promised there would be enough food for them. We couldn’t offer refunds, since they hadn’t actually paid us. We just tried to be as friendly and receptive as possible and handed out Buy One Get One tickets for our comedy shows.

    This showed me, that even big companies make mistakes. This was not an event that was thrown together last minute, but it was one small detail that was not thought through and it threw the whole even off. Next time we will obviously have two, or even three, buffet lines. Until then, we will just learn from our mistakes and hope we don’t offend anyone enough for them not to give us a second chance.

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  • jv9968a 4:50 pm on November 8, 2011 Permalink
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    Halloween Extravaganza 

    Here is the conversation that happened at my internship on Halloween:

    Paul: “It’s weird, we are selling out tonight, but not tomorrow night.”
    Me: “Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but you guys aren’t doing any Halloween specials. I know when I go out tomorrow, I’m going to do something Halloween themed. You guys should encourage people to dress up or give out candy.”
    Paul: “Yeah, yeah! That would be really great! We could give out free tickets to another show to the best costume!”
    Me: “Yeah! Even just a little Halloween flavor would entice people.”
    Paul: “Let me tell John [the owner].”
    (10 minutes later)
    Paul: “John loved your idea, we are promoting costumes starting right now. Too bad you didn’t think of this two weeks ago.”

    While the timing may not have been my best, I love that the people at my internship take my ideas seriously. I am given relevant tasks for PR with no one constantly critiquing me over my shoulder. Since Riot Act is smaller, I seem to matter more. I still do some clerical work, but everyone does. There is no hired office administrator, they can’t afford one. Everyone pitches in for everything. It truly is a team effort.The best part is how much everyone believes in Riot Act, we are all fighting for the same thing, and as an intern this make my job extremely rewarding and exciting.

    Sure, I’m an undergrad student, but they don’t care. A good idea is a good idea.

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  • jv9968a 3:50 pm on October 25, 2011 Permalink
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    What To Wear When They Don’t Care 

    I started my internship at Riot Act Comedy Theater in late August, and on my first day there, I dressed up. No one had mentioned any dress code, but seeing as this was a professional establishment, I assumed business attire was appropriate

    When I arrived, my boss greeted me in shorts and sandals. As it turns out, during the day, the Comedy Club is fairly casual. They want to be approachable, cool. Riot Act opened in mid-August, they were the new kids on the block. Of course my boss would suit up for meetings and every night for the shows/events, but during the day he was able to take it easy.

    I casually asked what was appropriate for an intern to wear, he replied “Whatever I want.” Suddenly the freedom of my clothing became overwhelming. Do I dress down? Do I wear flip flops? What do my clothes say about my respect for my internship?

    I decided to take this freedom and use it to my advantage. I decided to always dress to impress, but since I did have this ‘wear whatever I want’ allowance, I was going to be creative. I wanted to show Riot Act I took my position seriously, while also expressing my creativity. Since I was held down by the term ‘business casual’ I started arriving at my internship in a bright red dresses, or patterned tights, chunky jewelry, or yellow high heels. To me, my outfits say I’m composed but expressive; I know how to do a lot with a little; and I have confidence in myself.

    Obviously, not all internships are this flexible, but the point is – know how the clothing you wear to an internship reflects upon you. If there is a serious dress code, follow it; if there is some flexibility, use that to express your individuality. It can give you an edge and it can make it memorable. It doesn’t take a lot, accessories are small and can make a huge statement.

    Dress to Impress. It’s fun, it’s free, and you will look fantastic.

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    • Francine Blume 6:39 pm on October 27, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is great! You should post a photo of you all dressed up at your internship site! The kind of contrasts nicely with the other blog post encouraging folks to wear whatever they want to the interview so that they can be themselves. I don’t really endorse dressing creatively at interviews because that usually makes people not take you seriously. But how great that you found an internship where you can dress creatively!

  • jv9968a 3:19 pm on October 25, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Introduction: Jordan Van Clief 

    Hi! I’m Jordan Van Clief. I’m a senior double majoring at American University and I’m currently the Marketing Intern at Riot Act Comedy Theater.

    I found this internship on AU’s career web over the summer. Riot Act was being built this summer and opened up this August 11th. To me, the idea of starting an internship with a brand new company was exciting. I would get to see what it takes to launch a successful business in a recession.

    This major also was a great combination of my majors. It was primarily a Public Communication internship, but the theater element was a big reason I applied, and probably a big reason for why I was hired.

    As a new company, there are always a million things to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. As an intern my job ranges from stuffing envelopes to events to writing our monthly press release, but more on that later.

    As for my future in PR, I have no idea. Perhaps as a senior I shouldn’t be admitting that, but I have six or so months to decide. I love my internship with Riot Act and the things I’m learning here will definitely be a marketable skill for the future.

    Stay tuned to find out more, this is only the introduction.

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    • Francine Blume 6:40 pm on October 27, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      We don’t like internships where people are just stuffing envelopes! Has that gotten better yet?

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