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Melissa Feuchtinger

BFA, Film & TV, 2014
Los Angeles, CA

What's your Career Success Story?
I'm in the DGA Assistant Director Training Program that, through rigorous on-set work and seminars taught by the guild's professionals, will teach me to be the best AD the Director's Guild has to offer.  So far I’ve worked on HBO’s Silicon Valley, MTV’s Awkward, and most recently, ABC’s The Goldbergs. Before the program began last May, I was a Set Production Assistant on Nickelodeon's See Dad Run, working with an outstanding group of ADs that trained me to be an applicant worthy of DGA acceptance.

What aspects of your education, including internships and/or student projects, helped you get this?
Before I was hired to work full-time on See Dad Run, I interned for the show the summer before my last semester at NYU. My work ethic and desire to pursue a career on-set while interning definitely helped me secure a position on the staff for their next season after graduating. That, in turn, gave me the opportunity to gain more set experience and helped me to be a better applicant for the DGA Training Program. Additionally, working on student productions at NYU and taking Sight and Sound: Studio taught me to work under pressure and hone my problem-solving skills with time restraints. Those are invaluable skills for an AD to have.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to accomplish this same achievement?
My advice would be to ask people for help. It's often humbling to go back to people who helped you get an internship or job to help you one more time, to consider you for a full-time position, read your script, pass your resume along, etc. But there's no harm in asking; there's nothing to lose. Similarly, there's no harm in applying. Apply for programs, apply for jobs - even if the qualifications seem a little out of your league. At the time of applying for the DGA AD Training Program, I was still finishing my last semester at NYU and thought that they would never accept a recent graduate. Had I kept a negative mindset and not mailed in my application, I wouldn't have the current satisfaction of proving my past-self wrong!