Alumni Spotlight: Alexandria Fontanez


Check out this trailer for Human capital and the benefits, Explained, Alex’s (THF ’13, ’14) most recent project, which was produced at Vox in partnership with the Gates Foundation.

Q. What made you decide to pursue a career in production?

I knew I wanted to work in production at a very young age. I was always asking to play with my dad’s video camera to help make home movies and the real light bulb moment for production happened when I was 10 years old.

While watching a behind the scenes interview with the executive producer of the first Harry Potter movie, I saw all the gear on set behind the producer. He talked about the many pieces needed to bring the movie to life and remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know what all that stuff is on set, but I want to be there and do that!” I haven’t looked back since.

Q. What are some highlights from your THF internship experience?

I completed three internships through the foundation – two at A+E Networks in their Digital Media and Distribution departments, and one at MTV2 with their Post-Production team. My first highlight ever as an intern was during my first summer at A+E. After a diversity lunch hosted by Distribution Executive Mark Garner, he invited me to be his intern for the following summer.

That moment was the first time I’d ever felt the significance of “having a seat at the table.” In my second summer as an A+E Intern, I was fortunate to be paired with a wonderful mentor who is still very much a career guru for me today. In my third internship at MTV2, I actually edited episodes of Boy Meets World (it was only to edit in an additional ad break – but I’m still counting it as an awesome highlight)!

Overall, these internship experiences are where I learned to stop thinking like a student and start carrying myself like a professional. That shift in mentality and the confidence that follows is priceless.

Q. How has your involvement with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?

There is no doubt in my mind that this amazing foundation has expedited my career growth. As an intern, I received thorough and competitive career development advice that shaped the way I viewed the entire trajectory of my career. I’ve made industry connections that would have been very difficult to make on my own.

As an entry-level employee, I had an advantage while pursuing job opportunities because of my network of program alumni, and thanks to the ongoing support from the foundation. Even after my internship days when I had a full-time job as an Executive Assistant, the foundation continued to help me grow in a production capacity.

I was keen to keep my production skills sharp and volunteered to produce video content for the foundation. The project helped me learn a lot about producing and diversified my resume that much more. Everything about being involved with this foundation can and will only impact your career for the better.

Q. What advice would you give to THF interns and alumni as they begin their careers in the media industry, more specifically production?

When it comes to working in production, I always share three pieces of advice with young professionals, regardless of their experience level coming out of college.

  1. Be prepared to pay your dues, and to do so humbly. And always research what that means for your specific production interests through review of various job descriptions, review of individual’s career paths and via in-person informationals.
  2. Refine your professional brand ASAP, regardless of what your long-term career goals are. Even if your dream is to be a video editor and stay in a dark edit bay all day long, your professional brand matters. It’s how you’re going to get your foot in the door
  3. Be prepared to go above and beyond in your job search. Yes, it is a full-time job to land a full-time job, and submitting your resume online is never enough. The production bubble is a competitive one. Therefore, if you’ve developed your SEO and your professional brand is strong, if you qualify for your dream job, then don’t just stop at applying online. Find a mutual network connection who can forward your information along.

Reach out to a professional at your target company to have an informational meet-up. Follow said company on social media and engage with the content they share. The theme here is taking action and not just assuming that you are automatically owed an interview simply because you qualify.