CREATIVE – This spotlight series features T. Howard Foundation (THF) alumni working in creative roles.
Masha Paul (THF ’13)
Assistant Video Producer, AV Studio, Netflix
Please describe your role.
As a contracted assistant video producer, I support the development & execution of creative content assets for Kids & Family Animated films & series at Netflix.
What do you enjoy most about your company?
I really enjoy being challenged every day to tell meaningful stories in support of the great content Netflix is putting out. I also really appreciate the freedom & responsibility culture. I’m constantly collaborating internally & externally, and I’ve had the opportunity to push myself like never before.
In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
Like many in our industry, I’ve always loved film & television. It introduced me to the concept of viewing life from many perspectives. I’ve always known I’ve wanted to be a part of that storytelling one way or another. I started in theater, performing in my school’s productions. In college I produced news packages and original programming with my friends for the campus’ TV channel. That’s where I realized I loved being a part of the making of as much as I did consuming content. After T. Howard, my first big break was getting accepted to the East Coast Page Program at NBCUniversal where I was exposed to various departments and landed my first full-time job as a Branded Content PA at USA Network.
How has your affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?
As a first-generation college student, I didn’t really have the institutional knowledge of how to navigate this space or the connections/means to network. Thanks to T. Howard I was able to secure my first major internship with BET, working on 106 & Park. It was inspiring to see and work with people who looked like me – that was encouraging and made my dreams of having a permanent place in the industry seem more accessible. I’ll also never forget when I connected with a T. Howard alumni about the Page Program at NBCUniversal. He really helped me prepare for the interview process that was to come and I’m forever grateful. To this day I continue to have relationships with fellow T. Howard alumni.
If you were entering this career today, how would you prepare to facilitate entry?
I would network with as many people as possible and pursue a lot more creative side projects with my friends while I had the time.
Are you extroverted or introverted? How does this show up in your professional life?
I definitely see myself as an ambivert and adapt to what’s suitable to any given scenario. I’m conversational when I need to be but the introverted side of me allows me to be a great listener and observer. When being briefed on a project, I like to hear folks out, take notes, and then be very thoughtful in my execution. I love group brainstorming but I equally love having the time to sit with something solo and really marinate on strategy when ideating. This allows me to be balanced in my approach when working cross functionally.
How do you re-charge at work?
These days, I recharge by taking my dog for a walk. Sometimes stepping away from the computer for a moment is the best way to reflect on anything on my mind and change my mood for the better. I also find that having 1:1s with colleagues can often recharge me to get back into the zone.