Alumni Spotlight: Shawn Wu

MUSIC/TELEVISION – This spotlight series features T. Howard Foundation (THF) alumni working Music or Television.

Shawn Wu (THF ‘16) (THF ‘17)

Please describe your role.
As a Development Coordinator at Nickelodeon, my role is to work with creators, writers, and artists to take their projects from the initial pitch to Greenlight. I work in the Preschool and Bridge age groups, and I coordinate all the pitches that come in and then also work on specific projects and give creative notes on Development materials.

What do you enjoy most about your company?
What I love most about my company is the tight-knit family atmosphere that we have on our teams.

In what way did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
Work in Development excited me because I wanted to be as close to the content as possible. I wanted to be in the rooms where the decisions were made on what shows we create. I got my start in Development as an Executive Assistant in our New York offices and then moved out to Los Angeles to work as the Development Coordinator.

How has your affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?
I was struggling to get my foot in the door of the Entertainment Industry, and the T. Howard Foundation helped me to secure my first internship at a major media company (Viacom). That was the first domino that led me to future internships, my job in the NBC Page Program, and then finally my work at Nickelodeon.

What personal attributes have been essential to your career success?
I think my eagerness to take on new responsibilities has been essential in my career so far. In my positions I am always striving to work on more projects and get involved with more than what my job description might entail.

If you were entering this career today, how would you prepare to facilitate entry?
If I were looking to enter this career today, I would reach out to so many more people. I’ve always been told the importance of networking, but now that I’m on the other side and I see hiring decisions being made, I’m realizing that it is so extremely important to be on people’s radars so that you can stand out from the group.

Do you perform your work in a cubicle, office or open workspace? Please describe what’s on your desk at this moment.
I’m currently working from home, but I miss my desk in the Burbank Animation Studio so much. In our office we have desks with medium walls, and the environment is very open, so I can easily lean over and bother my coworkers all day long. Because I work in children’s TV, I have a bunch of toys on my desk, including a 4 ft tall lifesize Dora doll.

Do you have any of the following at work? a mentor, mentee, sponsor, work BF or work spouse? If so, which one(s)? What are the advantages of having these relationships?
I have close connections with everyone on my team and they’ve begun to feel like family. Instead of a work spouse, I’d say I have favorite older siblings. Instead of a work mentor, I’d say I have supportive work parents. These close relationships have allowed me to feel open and to truly connect with the people on my team.