“Don’t Panic?!”


My name is Geoff, and I am interning with Jigsaw Productions for my Senior Project. I will be working with them in New York City for three weeks. I want to recount the events of my very first week to you. My project started off on an amusing, if foreboding, note. When I arrived on Sunday the 2nd, I arrived in New York City and met up with my relatives, whom I would be staying with during the first two weeks of my Senior Project. That night, we went out to one of their favorite restaurants, Lili’s, an excellent place to get Chinese food. After we had finished our sumptuous meal and were handed the check, we each got fortune cookies. When I opened my cookie to read the little slip of paper, I found that it simply said, “Don’t Panic.” My relatives and I laughed and joked at the fortune, but I couldn’t help but think-would I have anything to panic about during my internship?

The very next day, my relatives rode with me to my internship so that they could show me which subways and buses to use during my commute. When we arrived at the building where Jigsaw Productions is located, my relatives departed as I entered and took the elevator up to the 17th floor. When I first walked in the doors of Jigsaw Productions, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The walls were lined with posters from their past documentaries, all incredible and extensive in their depth of knowledge and storytelling. Yet, I saw so few people in the office. I had imagined that the staff would be much larger, but there were only around 30 people in the office, and most looked to either be in their late twenties to early thirties. I wondered how so few people could be working on so many high quality projects.

Upon entry, I was directed to sit down in the computer area and to sign a confidentiality form while they figured out which documentary I would be working on. The confidentiality form restricts me from speaking specifically about the projects going on around the office, as some have not yet been announced or are still in production. Unfortunately, it also means that I can only speak generally about what I have been up to around the office in all my blog posts. While it is a bummer that I can’t give you all the details on my project, I will do my best to tell you as much as possible about my day-to-day activities.

Anyhow, I was assigned to work on one of the larger projects, which had a team of five core members. Doesn’t sound like much? I didn’t think so either, but I soon learned that most of the projects only have two-person teams, making this project massive by comparison. As I said before, I can’t tell you the nature of the project, but suffice it to say I am very excited about the topic. After I was introduced to all the project’s members, I was given my very first assignment: ordering various news articles chronologically. I was given several folders filled with news article from over the years, and told to put them in order for easy access. This proved to be a segue into much of the work I would do later on in the project, which also required organizational and logging skills. After I finished my first assignment, I was given a new one: photo logging. Photo logging became my primary job over the week. It required me to download and catalog photos on Archive Ox, a website made specifically for Jigsaw’s work. When I cataloged a photo, I would also include various details such as the photographer, the owner, and a detailed description. I was also given side work, such as scanning photos from books, and transcribing interview recordings. Each day these tasks grew easier, until I could work at a rapid pace to complete my work. By the end of the first week, I was feeling very confident about my internship. Nothing to panic about here!

Ultimately, my greatest challenge of the week didn’t turn out to be my work itself. Rather, my challenge was getting TO work every day. New York transportation has been something I’ve struggled with learning, despite many visits to the city over the years. Although my parents had made a point of explaining the grid design of the city and how it worked in accordance with public transit, I still couldn’t really say I fully knew what I was doing.

The first day went well enough-I got to Jigsaw and back without a hitch. It was on the second day, however, when things started going south…literally. Somehow or another I mixed up the uptown and downtown subways, and while I got on the right line, it was going in the wrong direction. I realized this a few stops too late, and knew I had to get off and switch trains. Simple enough, right? Just get off, cross the street, and get on the uptown train. Well…not quite. Somehow, in the process of doing this, I walked into the station of a different line, and in my efforts to get on the uptown subway, I had neglected to check and see if the number was right. Again, realizing this too late, I got off as soon as I could, now completely confused as to where I was. From the subway maps I had an inkling of where I had ended up, but nothing looked familiar since it was night time. As I wandered around, looking for street signs or landmarks, the fortune cookie flashed through my mind reminding me, “Don’t Panic.” I took a few deep breaths, and was finally able to get my bearings so that I could find the subway home. From that day on, I resolved to pay closer attention to my surroundings so that another incident like this would not happen again.

For the most part, this proved to be a remedy to my problems. Unfortunately, though, if you thought that this was the end of my trials, you would be wrong. Another test came on Thursday, when I was asked to pick up a package for Jigsaw, first thing in the morning. I was told that I could just go to the office and then redirect myself from there for a more easy trip, but I declined and decided to go from my home. You’re probably wondering why I would do this to myself, after the incident on Tuesday. Well, to be honest, I wanted to master the city, and not have it constantly loom over me as a source of stress and confusion. I knew that I would have to learn how to utilize the transit properly, or else I would never truly be able to experience the city. The first chunk of the trip went well. I knew where to get off, that I would have to walk to another station, and switch lines to get to arrive at my final destination. However, finding the station turned out to be harder than I had expected. The maps in the subways showed fairly clearly where I would find this station, but I for the life of me could not find it. When I put it into Google Maps, it was even worse-it told me to go in circles. I refused to let this stop me, though, and pressed on searching each street until I found my station, hidden within a building. From there, my trip went smoothly; I arrived at my destination, picked up the package, and was able to make my way to Jigsaw from the store. When I arrived at Jigsaw, I felt triumphant, knowing that I had overcome a challenge and grown stronger as a result.

All in all, my first week went very well. It was very exciting to start my internship and to begin learning about the film industry. It was also a relief to have learned a little more about navigating the city by the end of the week. I have high hopes for week two, and I am eager to continue my internship.



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