Interview: Yosef Herzog, Stage Manager at NBC’s TODAY Show

Yosef Herzog is a Stage Manager for the TODAY Show at NBC Universal in New York City.

Let’s start from the beginning. Tell me a little about what you studied in college and what brought you to this point.
I studied finance in college and landed a job after graduation at the Bank of New York Mellon as a structured finance analyst. I know, you’ve already fallen asleep just reading the title of the job. You’re probably wondering why I took that path in the first place, and all I can say is that it made sense at the time. After two years, I realized finance wasn’t the right fit for me and decided to follow my dream of working in television. I’ve wanted to work in television ever since my mother got rid of my TV when I was five years old, and once I heard about the NBC Page Program, I realized I could actually turn my hobby into my career and applied. With no television experience and only drive and ambition, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a program that typically accepts around 50 of 8,000 applicants each year.

Once I was a Page, I had the opportunity to work at CNBC, NBC’s TODAY Show, Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. After my year in the program, I was offered a job at TODAY as a production associate. One year after that, I was offered the opportunity to become a stage manager with the show.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=money&ex=1#ai:MP900305770|mt:2|Was it difficult for you to switch career paths and how did you deal with the transition?
Making such a drastic career change came with a few drawbacks, but it was worth it. The salary difference was extreme, but I saw it as an investment in the career path that I wanted.

As a stage manager, what does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 4:15am and arrive at the studio at 4:45am. Before the show begins, the lead stage manager camera blocks for each segment and tease shot. I then go through and read the notes about the different segments we have on that day and have a meeting between the stage managers determining who will be responsible for each segment and tease shot during the show. Additionally, if there is a concert that day, we will rehearse that as well before the show. Once the clock hits 7:00am, I’m on my feet for the next 4 hours until we finish at 11:00am and then my day is over.

During the show it’s my job to help make sure the guests are accounted for and in the proper locations at the right times, to let the anchors know when they are on and off the air, to give time cues to the anchors during each segment and to help ensure the show flows smoothly from the studio floor. We are essentially an extension of our director who is in the control room during the show, acting as his eyes and ears.

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